Lady Tigers cruise past Louisiana Tech

It may have been the best start to a game ever for the LSU Lady Tigers against Louisiana Tech.

LSU, which never trailed, used its size advantage inside to construct a 21-4 lead midway through the first half and coast to their eighth straight win over the Lady Techsters by a 77-55 count before 2,718 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

LSU’s second straight dominant win — the Lady Tigers were coming off a 76-42 rout of East Tennessee State on Thursday — pushed their record to 6-3.

Rebounding was the major difference between the two
rivals.

Outboarded in four of their first eight games, the Lady
Tigers had their most dominant rebounding effort this season, outrebounding Tech 53-36.

“All season long coach has been hounding us on getting on the boards,” said forward Theresa Plaisance, who had 12 points and seven rebounds. “I think we finally made her happy today.”

At the other end of the table, Nikki Caldwell couldn’t contain a smile.

“I feel like they executed the game plan 100 percent,” LSU’s coach said.

There has been little to smile about for Tech coach and former Lady Techster great
Teresa Weatherspoon.

This was the fourth loss this season by 20 or more points for once-proud Louisiana Tech (4-6), following an 82-58 loss to South Carolina, a 77-26 rout by Texas A&M and a 73-46 loss to Rutgers.

“There’s a lot of pride in this uniform that we wear at Louisiana Tech University, and we expect our kids to go out with that pride and sense of passion every game,” Weatherspoon said. “It was not there, and it was a very difficult game for even our fans to watch. There are some things we will have to go back to the drawing board for and get ourselves ready for conference.”

Trailing the entire game after an early 2-2 tie, Tech did pull within 32-26 with 1:28 left in the first half on a basket by leading scorer Lulu Perry (18 points) and was well within contention down 34-26 at the half.

But after subbing liberally in the second half, Caldwell went back to her starters and back up went the LSU lead. A basket by Plaisance off an assist by Jeanne Kenney gave LSU a 52-32 advantage with 14:02 to go and essentially ended Tech’s hopes.

LSU had five players in double figures, led by Bianca Lutley off the bench with 14. Center Shanece McKinney had 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while Plaisance, Adrienne Webb and freshman forward Derreyal Youngblood had 12 each.

The Tech game marked LSU’s first outing this season with its entire 10-player roster available.

Webb was held out against ETSU after suffering a concussion last Sunday against Tulane. Freshman guard Coco Baker of Helen Cox saw her first action of the season after being previously suspended for violating team rules, scoring four points with three rebounds and three steals in 15 minutes of action.

A moment of silence was held before tip-off Sunday, LSU’s first on-campus sporting event since Friday’s Newtown, Conn., school massacre.

Both coaches addressed the incident in their postgame remarks.

“This is an opportunity for everyone on this team, our staff our players and Louisiana Tech University to say our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Newtown, Conn., at this difficult time,” Weatherspoon said. “That’s really where prayers are needed, and it puts basketball into total perspective.”

“When you reflect back from where we started just two days ago, we’re sitting here talking about playing hard and getting after people, and then something happens as dramatic and horrific as happened in Newtown, Conn., you have a tendency to put things in perspective really quickly,” Caldwell said.

“I am a mom, and I feel like I’ve always been a mom to these young ladies, and your heart just hurts for those families.”

LSU returns to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Grambling.

Tech is off until it opens Western Athletic Conference play Dec. 29 at Denver.