LSU's Hot Start Too Much for Fortner's Tigers

Auburn, Ala.--No.9 LSU began the game with a barrage of made shots and never backed down, cruising to a 79-59 SEC women's basketball victory over No.25 Auburn on Thursday at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Auburn never lead in the game as LSU opened up a 42-21 first half lead. LSU would lead by as many as 28 in the game and never looked threatened, rolling to its 15th win of the year. Auburn's loss was its sixth of the season and third in the SEC.

"They came out and set the tone of the game," Auburn guard Sherell Hobbs said. "Our game plan was to come out and set the tone of the game, but obviously they did. I think that hurt us, but we just have to bounce back from this loss and get ready for Alabama."

The Tigers will travel to Tuscaloosa for a 2 p.m. tipoff on Sunday.

LSU hit 60.7 percent of its first half shots to take command of the game. LSU hitting five of six first half threes put the home team in a big hole.

"It's going to be hard for us to win when we don't get production from all five players on the floor," Auburn coach Nell Fortner said. "I thought that LSU's defense was outstanding. They are extremely quick and their lateral movement is as good as we have seen all year long, and then you add in (Sylvia) Fowles back there, she is an unbelievable player."

LSU forced Auburn into bad shots and turnovers, showing why it has the conference's best defense. Coming into the game LSU was allowing only 48.4 points per game. Auburn battled that LSU defense as well as the shot-clock the entire game, turning the ball over 10 times in the first half and 16 times overall.

LSU capitalized off of Auburn's turnovers, turning them into 22 points. Fowles made her presence felt as she finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds along with four blocks and two assists. She now has 71 double-doubles, eight away from the all-time SEC record.

"We just try to start out with a lot of momentum and we got things going," Fowles said. "We didn't want to get behind because we know what they are capable of so we made sure that we came out and stay focused and we got it done."

Auburn's DeWanna Bonner could not find her touch early, not scoring her first field goal until 18:28 left in the game. LSU's defensive strategy against Bonner was a good one and she finished with only five points--she did, however, haul in 10 rebounds.

"We pressured her (Bonner) and stayed on top of her," LSU head coach Van Chancellor said. "We thought that if she got started, it would pump them up."

Bonner, who came into the game averaging 17 points, said, "I think I was playing a little tentatively. I wasn't aggressive enough. I think I did well on defense, but I need to score more points."

LSU's Quianna Chaney scored early and often, coming through with 12 points in the first half and finishing with 21 points. She connected on her first four three-point shots and helped build the LSU lead throughout the game, going 6-8 from behind the arc.

The Bayou Bengals also owned Auburn in the paint, outscoring the Lady Tigers 42-18. The LSU starting guards were outstanding in the contest as they accounted for 42 points and 13 assists. LSU was stingy with the basketball, only turning the ball over 12 times in the game. Erica White got into the scoring game as well, putting up 15 points and five assists.

"Erica was the difference maker in the game," Chancellor said. "I thought she (Fowles) was pretty good tonight. I thought we played as well as we are going to play tonight."

Auburn outscored LSU 38-37 in the second half, but it was not enough after the 20-point half-time lead LSU had taken.

"Coach told us at half-time that we were going to have to attack the basket," Hobbs said. "We only drew one foul in the first half so we had to attack the basket in the second half and go to the free-throw line, and that's what we tried to do.""

Hobbs was one of the few bright spots in the game for Auburn, scoring 20 points and grabbing six rebounds in her 38 minutes of play. Trevesha Jackson was injured in the first half and did not return to action.

Alli Smalley scored 13 points and Jordan Greenleaf also played well, adding 12 points to Auburn's cause. Greenleaf was one of the players assigned to defend Fowles, who was double-teamed any time she had the ball.

"There is no good matchup for her (Fowles) even with two people on her," Fortner said.

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