LSU hosts A&M for SEC home opener

The No. 12 LSU women’s basketball team hosts Texas A&M in its Southeastern Conference home opener at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The Lady Tigers (12-2, 1-0) are coming off a 63-35 win victory over Tulane on Sunday and an 80-77 upset of then-No. 5 Tennessee last Thursday in LSU’s SEC opener.

“We talked about carrying that effort and focus we had in Knoxville (against Tennessee) into the Tulane game,” coach Nikki Caldwell said. “We don’t want to be that team that only wakes up for a team that has a number in front of their name. I think our team did a great job of really defensively taking the game plan and executing it.”

Theresa Plaisance is averaging 13.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Raigyne Moncrief averages 11.9 points — third among SEC freshmen — 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.4 steals. The 2.4 steals are fifth in the SEC.

Jeanne Kenney has picked up her scoring, especially from on 3-pointers. The senior guard is averaging 17.5 points and has had 16 3-pointers in over her past four games. She also has had 4.75 assists per game during that stretch. For the season, Kenney is averaging 10.2 points.

Danielle Ballard adds 9.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.1 steals.

“I hope that they take everything that they’ve been working for in the offseason and really putting into play right now because this is when it counts,” Caldwell said. “We understand the road that is ahead of us and the competitive nature of playing in the SEC.”

Texas A&M (11-4, 1-0) is on a four-game win streak after a 73-58 victory over Alabama in its SEC opener Sunday. The Aggies are led by Courtney Williams’ 12.9 points and Courtney Walker’s 12.6 points per game. Karla Gilbert adds 10.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. Jordan Jones averages 5.7 points, 6.0 assists and 2.4 steals.

Against Alabama, Williams scored 23 points — her fourth consecutive 20-point game — and Achiri Ade added 21 points on 8-for-8 shooting with 12 rebounds.

“They have different players that can score the basketball,” Caldwell said. “They’re very explosive in the open court, so taking care of the basketball is going to be key. Defensively, they can really get after you and turn you over. They like to get in the passing lanes and things like that.”