LSU women hold off Ole Miss

OXFORD, Miss. — Theresa Plaisance scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her second straight double-double as the No. 15 LSU women’s basketball team held Ole Miss without a point in the final 31/2 minutes to secure a 66-56 win Sunday.

Diara Moore’s two free throws with 3:44 left to play cut LSU’s lead to 57-56, but the Rebels missed their final six shots, including three from 3-point range. LSU converted 5 of 6 attempts from the free throw line in the final minute.

Plaisance’s layup with 2:02 left gave the Tigers some breathing room at 59-56, and Shanece McKinney followed with another layup with 1:13 left to make it 61-56. Danielle Ballard added 12 points, and McKinney contributed 10 for LSU (16-4, 5-2 Southeastern Conference).

Moore led Ole Miss (10-11, 1-6) with 17 points. Tia Faleru added 12.

Plaisance was 10-of-18 from the floor and made two 3-pointers. The New Orleans native has reached double figures in 10 consecutive games, her longest streak since a 31-game run last season. Plaisance also had three assists in a season-high 38 minutes.

“Theresa did a nice job of showing the toughness that it takes to play in the SEC,” coach Nikki Caldwell said. “We rode her and (Ballard). We talked about those two players doing a nice job for our team by establishing an inside attack. We obviously need Theresa to perform every game, but I think her 10 rebounds and her board play were keys for us.”

Ballard had eight of her 12 points in the second half. She also had seven rebounds and five assists.

It was Ballard’s third straight Sunday game in the SEC with 10-plus points.

Ole Miss’ Valencia McFarland was limited to 10 points and five assists after she reached the 20-point mark in her previous three games.

The Faleru-McFarland tandem misfired on 12 of their 13 field goal attempts in the second half after they combined to go 7-of-8 during the opening 20 minutes.

“When you come on the road, especially in the SEC, we understand that you have to bring your defense and your board play,” Caldwell said. “Ole Miss did a nice job in the first half of exploiting us in their transition game, and they were running it to perfection. ... In the second half, we talked about how we needed to establish an inside attack and did just that. That was the difference in the game.”

LSU continues a stretch of three consecutive Thursday home games by welcoming Mississippi State to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Tip time is 7 p.m., and the game will be carried live on CST.