Big first half buoys Lady Tigers to win

LSU women roll past McNeese State 64-43 behind Krystal Forthan and LaSondra Barrett.

LAKE CHARLES – The LSU women built a 20-point halftime lead with an 18-0 run and never looked back to roll to their third consecutive win, 64-43, over McNeese State at Burton Coliseum on Friday. 

The victory snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Cowgirls (8-2) and a 17-game home court winning streak dating back to last season.

LSU (6-3), playing in Lake Charles for the first time since 1991, continued its recent shooting surge connecting for 59.5% (25-of-42) from the floor, including a blistering 63.6% in the first half. The Lady Tigers have produced three consecutive games of 49 percent shooting or better.

Krystal Forthan

“We had really good offensive execution and we were patient,” LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said. “We also did a good job of running the basketball and getting some good looks in transition. We had a lot of players step for us. Because we shared the basketball that allowed us to get open looks at the basket. I like seeing unselfish play.”

Freshman Krystal Forthan led the Lady Tigers with 15 points – all in the first half – on 6-of-9 shooting to go along with 6 rebounds. Senior forward LaSondra Barrett notched 12 points and moved into 19th place in LSU career scoring with 1,226 points. Senior forward Courtney Jones grabbed a game-high 8 rebounds and added 8 points.

“(Forthan) gives us a spark off the bench and she does a great job on the boards,” Caldwell said. “When you have her, Courtney Jones and LaSondra Barrett running together that’s a great force.”

LSU scored 11 unanswered points early, culminating with five straight from Barrett, including a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Barrett provided the Lady Tigers with their first double-digit advantage with another 3 from the right wing as LSU led 26-15 with 7:38 remaining in the first half.

Forthan then put on a show over the next 3 minutes. She scored seven straight points as part of an impressive 18-0 run that put LSU firmly in control. The freshman converted an old-fashioned three-point play at the 5:08 mark and added a 3-pointer from the top of the key that increased the lead to 38-15 with 3:16 to go before halftime.

LaSondra Barrett

It was the exclamation point on LSU’s most impressive half of the year. The Lady Tigers held McNeese to 21.4% shooting in the first half as the Cowgirls went scoreless from the floor for 7 minutes. 

LSU led by as many as 28 points midway through the second half when Bianca Lutley nailed a 3, one of Lady Tigers’ seven 3, their second most in a game this season. LSU outscored McNeese 26-25 in the second half, but the game was decided in the first 20 minutes.

For the third consecutive game, LSU held an opponent to under 45 points. It’s the sixth time in nine games this season that a Lady Tiger opponent has failed to reach at least 45 points. McNeese shot a season-low 22% for the game and was outscored 35-3 by LSU’s bench.

LSU faces its second straight Southland Conference opponent at 2 p.m. Sunday when it plays host to Lamar at the Peter Maravich Assembly Center. 

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