LSU Breaks Lady'Backs' Will

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU women's basketball coach Pokey Chatman said before Thursday's Arkansas-Lady Tigers game that the contest would be a battle of wills.

If that was the case, then LSU had much more willpower.

By the first media timeout, four of the five Lady Tigers starters had scored and LSU led 10-6, as only Danielle Allen had scored for Arkansas.

LSU's lead soon increased to 26-8. The Lady Razorbacks made a modest comeback within 31-18, before LSU dropped the hammer with its fast break to run into halftime with a 52-26 advantage.

That margin increased to 77-41 by the seven-minute mark, by which time LSU was using five reserves.

The No. 2 Lady Tigers entered the game leading the Southeastern Conference in defense with an average yield of 50.8 points per game, and ranked fourth nationally with that defensive figure.

LSU improved that with its 91-45 win.

The reason Chatman talked about a battle of wills was that Arkansas also had a reputation for good defense. The Lady Razorbacks led the nation with 15.1 steals per game, going into Thursday's tussle.

But LSU's high-octane attack, triggered by fifth-year point guard Temeka Johnson's seven first-half assists, was too much for the Lady'Backs.

Seimone Augustus, Johnson's All-America sidekick, already had 14 points and 4 assists by halftime. Sylvia Fowles, a 6-foot-5 LSU freshman center from Miami, Fla., had nine points, four rebounds and three blocked shots at the break, in just 11 minutes played.

Arkansas' lone first-half bright spot was Danielle Allen, who matched her uniform number with 14 points in the first 20 minutes. Sarah Pfeifer was the second-leading UA scorer at halftime with just four points.

Johnson, who earned her undergraduate degree in August and now attends graduate business school, added six points and two steals to her picture-perfect performance in the opening half.

Chatman had made the Lady Tigers run twice after Tuesday's practice in which they had ball-handling problems. The lesson apparently took, because LSU had just five first-half turnovers to Arkansas' 13.

Now the Lady Tigers (17-1) are 4-0 in the SEC for the second year in a row.

Augustus, the 6-foot-1 junior from Baton Rouge, passed Madeline Doucet for ninth place on the LSU career scoring list during Thursday's first half. Doucet scored 1,533 points from 1981-85. Augustus passed her with her seventh point of the first half and has now scored in double figures in a school-record 43 straight games.

Arkansas defeated LSU five of the first six times the two women's teams played, but now LSU has won 10 of the last 12 for a 16-9 series edge. The :Lady Tigers have beaten Arkansas five straight times and will try to make it six in Fayetteville on Feb. 24.

Like the LSU men's basketball team, which features four players from Baton Rouge, the Lady Tigers also have a heavy home flavor. Both Augustus and 5-foot-11 freshman guard Quianna Chaney hail from Baton Rouge.

With LSU men's forward Glen Davis of Baton Rouge looking on from the stands in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Chaney made her presence known early by draining two 3-point shots in the first half.

Announcers from Cox Sports, which televised both the Arkansas-LSU men's and women's games this week for same-night tape delay in Baton Rouge, said before Thursday's game (off the air) that they thought Michael Jones' field goal for Arkansas against LSU late in regulation on Wednesday night came from slightly behind the 3-point arc, but that he also traveled before the shot.

Dennis Shaver, LSU's track coach for men and women, has big shoes to fill. He succeeds Pat Henry, who led LSU to 27 combined men's and women's national titles before moving to Texas A&M as coach this season.

Shaver's athletes are scheduled to compete in the Razorback Invitational indoor meet today and Saturday at the Randal Tyson Track Center.

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