Old rivals collide

With a five-game winning streak and perfect December on the line, the LSU women hit the road to take on La. Tech in Ruston before the start of SEC play.

The LSU women begin a three-game road trip and put their five-game winning streak on the line at 7 p.m. Thursday against in-state rival Louisiana Tech at the Thomas Assembly Center.

The Lady Tigers (8-3) are returning to the floor since defeating Grambling 62-47 on Dec. 22 in Baton Rouge. LSU hasn't lost in the month of December and the Lady Tigers are seeking to complete a perfect December for the second straight year.

The Lady Techsters (7-7) have won two in a row and five of its last six, including a 63-62 win over Mississippi State on Dec. 11. Jasmine Bendolph, a 5-foot-7 guard, has produced 11 double-digit scoring games this season and is averaging 11.9 points and 5 assists per game. Forward Whitney Frazier, the WAC Freshman of the Week, is coming off a career-high 20 points in an 82-64 win over Tennessee Tech prior to Christmas.

"I remember how difficult it is to play and win here at Louisiana Tech," LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said. "It definitely won't be an easy game for us to waltz into. We have to be mentally prepared to face this challenge and hostile crowd. When you are facing an in-state school, there is definitely a lot more on the line.

"You want to do the best to represent your university and obviously, we are going to do the best to represent LSU. This is a great rivalry for both teams and we want to continue it in the future."

Louisiana Tech leads the all-time series with LSU 12-11, but the Lady Tigers have won the last six meetings overall and the last seven regular-season meetings. LSU has won three in a row in Ruston, most recently a 77-74 victory in 2009. The Lady Tigers won decisively last season in Baton Rouge by a score of 68-53.

Defense has been the key for LSU, which leads the SEC in field-goal defense (31%) and is fourth nationally. LSU is also holding opponents to 46.5 points a contest, second in the SEC and third nationally.

Offensively, the Lady Tigers have risen to second in the conference in field-goal percentage (44.9%) and assists (16.5 apg). Senior forward LaSondra Barrett continues to pace LSU with 12 points per game. Junior guard Adrienne Webb is second on the squad with 8.5 points per contest.

"This group is definitely getting better and they have shown improvement in not only their practices but their play in games," Caldwell said.

After Thursday's game, LSU will head to Oxford, Miss., Friday morning to prepare for its SEC opener at Ole Miss on New Year's Day at 2 p.m.


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