Texas A&M hands Lady Tigers first SEC loss

The LSU Lady Tigers wanted to start strong in their first Southeastern Conference home game of the season against Texas A&M.

What the 12th-ranked Lady Tigers received was a roller-coaster contest in a 52-48 loss on Thursday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

“We’ve got to understand that teams are not going to just come in here and give you a win,” LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said. “Texas A&M came in here with a game plan to take a win, and they did just that.”

LSU (12-3, 1-1) started hot, as the team rode the backs of seniors Jeanne Kenney and Theresa Plaisance early in the first half.

In the first nine minutes of regulation, Kenney shined on the floor, hitting two 3-pointers and a field goal to give LSU a 10-4 lead. Kenney and Plaisance combined for six of eight field goals in the first half.

Outside of the senior duo, though, the Lady Tigers struggled to score early against the Aggies.

LSU shot 27.3 percent from the field and took only three 3-point attempts in the first half. Add in the fact that the Lady Tigers failed to take a free throw before halftime, and the Aggies had a 23-20 halftime lead.

Down 34-27 with 12:07 remaining in the second half, Plaisance made three free throws to narrow the Aggies lead to four.

With 9:29 left in the contest, Kenney stole an Aggies pass, found DaShawn Harden in the corner, and watched as her teammate nailed a 3-pointer to tie the score at 34.

Plaisance proceeded to make two more free throws to cap a 14-0 run for the Lady Tigers, who led 36-34. Plaisance finished the night 6-of-8 from the line.

But Texas A&M didn’t stay down for long.

Aggies sophomore forward Courtney Williams led the charge most of the game, finishing 6-of-12 on field goals and 5-of-8 on free throws.

Following LSU’s run, Texas A&M began to chip away at the Lady Tiger lead, tying the score at 45-45 with 1:26 remaining in the game.

Texas A&M thrived off LSU turnovers, scoring 22 points off Lady Tigers miscues.

“Nineteen turnovers is way too many against an explosive team like A&M,” Caldwell said. “They do a good job on capitalizing on all those turnovers, and they did just that tonight. (I give) a lot of credit to A&M for bringing the defensive heat and forcing that action and putting us on our heels.”

The Aggies utilized their free-throw shooting in the final minute to overtake and eventually hold off LSU.

LSU had a final chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but a steal by Aggies sophomore Courtney Walker sealed the A&M victory.

“I actually think we were being too unselfish,” Kenney said of the final possession. “We should’ve gotten the shot up. It was definitely a learning experience. We all lost.”