Tigers No Match For No. 3 LSU

Auburn, Ala.--In the SEC opener for both teams, Auburn never seriously challenged unbeaten LSU as the visitors cruised to a 65-38 women's basketball victory on Wednesday night at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

LSU's two All-American candidates, guard Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles, combined two score six more points than the entire Auburn team.

Fowles, a 6-6 sophomore center, led all scorers with 23 points and added nine rebounds. She added five steals and hit 9-12 field goals.

Augustus, a 6-1 guard who was the national player of the year as a junior, scored 21 points and added five steals and three rebounds.

Auburn was led by senior guard Nitasha Brown, who scored 14 points. No other Tiger got into double figures.

"We had lots of turnovers," said Brown, who noted that she didn't think her team was intimidated by the talented LSU squad that improved to 12-0 overall and 2-0 in the SEC. "I think the turnovers were the main key to the game."

Auburn turned it over 23 times, 13 more than the visitors who shot 47.5 percent from the field while Auburn made just 35.6 percent of their shots.

Neither team did much damage from long range. Auburn hit 2-10 treys while LSU made 3-12. AU was 4-5 on free throws, LSU 6-10.

LSU is ranked number three nationally behind Tennessee and a Duke team that Auburn has already played and lost to 69-37 in Durham, N.C., on Nov. 27th. Auburn coach Nell Fortner's team says she believes LSU is just as talented a team as the ones ranked above them. "I consider them the No. 1 team in this country every bit as much as Tennessee and Duke."

Fortner, the former U.S. Olympic coach and a WNBA coach, said that sophomore Fowles is the most talented women's basketball player she has ever see, college or pro.

Fortner said with the exception of allowing too many transition baskets late in the game, the Tigers played good defense, but offense was a problem.

"They are a heck of a good defensive team, too," she says of LSU. "Offensively, we took a lot of quick shots, which is not what we needed to do."

Fortner said LSU appeared to rattle her young team at times, but freshman guard Whitey Boddie said she wasn't intimidated. "LSU's a good team," she said. "We have to learn from this game and move on and try to get better."

LSU jumped to a 40-23 lead by shooting a sizzling 62.1 percent in the first half. The Bayou Bengals shot just 33.3 percent in the second half, but it didn't matter because AU made only 26.1 percent of its second half shots and scored just 15 points in the final 20 minutes.

LSU coach Pokey Chatman, a former LSU player, said she liked what she saw. "For as far back as I can remember, we have had trouble in this building. We came in and played two halves of basketball. We shot 60 percent in the first half, and when you do that, things are going good for you."

Auburn, which fell to 9-5 overall, is 0-1 in SEC play heading into a Sunday game at Alabama.

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