WICHITA, Kan. – Senior forward LaSondra Barrett scored 16 points and converted a clutch three-point play in the final minute as the 21st-ranked LSU women opened up the Nikki Caldwell era with a 64-56 win over Wichita State Monday.
The Lady Tigers (1-0) committed 22 turnovers and attempted 26 fewer shots than Shockers, who benefited from an 11-of-37 effort from 3-point range. The 37 attempts were the most ever by an opponent against LSU.
"Give Wichita State a lot of credit," Caldwell said. "They exploited us on some of our missed rotations defensively and they continued to fight until the end. We broke down defensively, adjusted and went more to our man-to-man (defense).
"I am proud of our team hanging tough at the end and coming out with a win. I was pleased with us hitting big shots when we needed to. It's the first game on the road, but if you limit those turnovers we have more chances to score the basketball. We have to be better in that area. You have to make every possession count, especially on the road."
Sophomore Jeanne Kenney added 16 points and dished out a career-best 5 assists. Kenney had 12 in the second half in the first start of her career and was 4-of-5 from 3-point range, including two late in the second half that rallied LSU from a five-point deficit.
Wichita State was led in scoring by Jessica Diamond, who finished with 16 points and was 4-of-8 from beyond the arc.
LSU saw a four-point halftime lead evaporate 7 minutes into the second half when Diamond drained back-to-back treys that gave the Shockers a 44-39 lead.
Kenney then scored five of LSU's next seven points, including a 3 from the left corner that tied the score 46-46 with 11:07 to go.
Despite the turnovers, the Lady Tigers were efficient offensively, shooting 61.5 percent from the floor.
LSU returns to Baton Rouge for its home opener against No. 14 Georgetown at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Peter Maravich Assembly Center.
The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Nikki Caldwell signed mini-basketball. At halftime, two tickets to the LSU-Arkansas football game will be given away.