Painful finale for Theresa Plaisance and Shanece McKinney

Only two of LSU’s three seniors made it to their team’s final game.

Jeanne Kenney had the pain of being sidelined by a concussion Tuesday against West Virginia.

Theresa Plaisance and Shanece McKinney’s ache was more conventional. They played what turned out to be their final game Sunday, a not-so-sweet 73-47 Sweet 16 NCAA tournament loss to Louisville.

It’s the pain seniors from 63 of the 64 teams in the NCAA tournament will know. Comes with the territory.

But as Plaisance could tell anyone who asked, it doesn’t make it hurt any less.

“For me it’s a pretty sad moment,” she said. “I really take pride in wearing LSU across my chest, and knowing that I won’t get the opportunity to do that again is pretty heartbreaking to me.”

Plaisance came out to a curtain call when coach Nikki Caldwell called timeout to replace her with freshman guard Rina Hill with 3.6 seconds left.

She finished with a game-high 12 rebounds but just seven points on 1-of-13 shooting. It was Plaisance’s second straight single-digit game (she had eight points against West Virginia) after scoring in double figures in 19 straight previous contests.

McKinney fouled out with 2:26 remaining, having grabbed 10 rebounds but scoring only one point.

“They definitely were making it difficult for our guards to get the ball into us,” McKinney said. “They were doubling me and Theresa. They wanted to make sure we didn’t excel in the paint like we’ve done the last two games.”

McKinney and Plaisance combined for 21 points, 16 rebounds and six blocked shots against West Virginia; 35 points, 17 rebounds and six blocks in LSU’s first-round win over Georgia Tech.

Plaisance’s next stop could be the WNBA and likely a chance to play overseas. McKinney said she also hopes to at least play overseas, taking some of the knowledge she acquired at LSU with her.

“Coach Nikki and her staff came in (her sophomore year) and took us under their wing,” McKinney said. “They did an excellent job, taught us different things. They didn’t want us to be one-dimensional. They helped improve my face up game, my jump shot, driving the ball.”

Plaisance went from a bench player with zero starts her first two seasons to a two-time All-Southeastern Conference performer, including leading the SEC in scoring as a junior.

She leaves as just one of 13 Lady Tigers to earn two or more All-SEC honors and is the 18th player in program history with more than 1,000 points (1,293) and 500 rebounds (637).

Plaisance finished 20th in LSU history in scoring and 14th in career rebounds.

“It’s a sad moment for me,” she said. “I’m really going to miss this place.”