Moncrief keys LSU

The LSU women’s basketball team set a season high in assists with 25 and blocks with eight, in addition to receiving a team-high 22 points out of freshman guard Raigyne Moncrief and 13 points out of senior center Shanece McKinney, en route to an 83-66 victory over Indiana State on Tuesday.

LSU recognized education in the community, welcoming more than 4,000 East Baton Rouge Parish school children to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for the late-morning game.

“It was great,” LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said of playing in front the students. “When you’re able to come into the (Pete Maravich Assembly Center) and have about 3,000-4,000 screaming kids, it’s such a fun atmosphere. We talked about that in our pregame talk about these young kids coming out and watching you, and how you can influence them to say they may one day want to be a Lady Tiger, or that they want to play basketball.

“I hope this game showed to our fans how hard we work and how much fun we have playing this game.”

The Lady Tigers (7-1) jumped out to a 10-2 advantage four minutes into the game, riding the hot-hand of Moncrief and a tenacious zone defense.

Additionally, No. 13 LSU created more separation from Indiana State (3-3) when the Lady Tigers went on a 12-2 run to open up a 30-13 lead with just over 6 minutes remaining in the first half.

The Lady Tigers demonstrated their dominance over the visiting Lady Sycamores in various categories after the first 20 minutes of play:

LSU possessed a 25-7 advantage in rebounds, recorded an assist on 17 of its 20 made field-goal attempts, outscored Indiana State 32-10 in the paint, and held the visitors to just 38 percent shooting.

Moncrief poured in 15 of her points in the first half on 5-of-6 shooting.

“I’m just getting comfortable with my team,” Moncrief said. “I was just making shots and making layups.”

Yet the Sycamores would not go away quietly, scoring the first five points of the second half on their way to an 11-2 run, cutting the Lady Tiger lead to 47-36.

Guard Anna Munn led the charge for Indiana State scoring a game-high 24 points, 18 coming in the second half, including a 3-pointer with 14:43 remaining in the second half to bring the Sycamores within 11 points.

But the Lady Tigers quickly ended the run and ignited one of their own, outscoring Indiana State 15-4 in the next five minutes to take a commanding 62-40 lead. The run was highlighted by a beautiful baseline drive and reverse finish from Moncrief.

LSU put the game in cruise control from that point forward.

Despite the lopsided result, Caldwell said there is still room for improvement in various areas, especially with a hefty 25 turnovers.

“We got beat on some penetration-and-kicks,” Caldwell said.

“We fouled too much in the second half. I thought with the turnovers it was our lack of focus. Us trying to hit the home runs on the first pass and didn’t have the patience.

“We’re going to take every situation that we’ve been in and be better because of it.”

LSU senior guard Jeanne Kenney finished with a career-high 11 rebounds. And sophomore guard Danielle Ballard sat out the because of a ‘violation of team rules.’

With final exams beginning next week, the Lady Tigers will have a lengthy layoff before traveling to Arkansas-Little Rock on Dec. 15 for their next game.