Lady Tigers finish strong, down La. Tech

Courtney Jones paces Lady Tigers with 20 points in 6th consecutive victory.

RUSTON, La. – Senior forward Courtney Jones poured in a season-high 20 points – 16 in the second-half – as the LSU women rallied past in-state rival Louisiana Tech in the final 20 minutes to complete a perfect December with a 66-55 victory Thursday in front of 4,930 fans A.T. Thomas Assembly Center.

LSU (9-3) erased a 12-point first-half deficit and outscored the Lady Techsters 42-26 in the second half to win its sixth straight game.

Jones' dominant second half carried the Lady Tigers to their seventh consecutive win over Louisiana Tech.

"Louisiana Tech is always a tough team and a tough place to play," LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said. "I can remember playing back here in the early 1990s, and I told the team when you look at this program traditionally, they are one of the better programs in the country. I want to give our kids credit for not folding in the first half and being able to generate offensive looks in the second half with our defensive play."

Jones finished 7-of-12 from the floor and grabbed 6 rebounds. Junior guard Adrienne Webb added 12 points, and senior forward LaSondra Barrett contributed 7 points and 7 rebounds.

"We did a good job of finding Courtney Jones, but she did a lot of that by working before the ball got to her," Caldwell said. "When you have two starters in foul trouble in LaSondra Barrett and Destini Hughes, you definitely look for somebody to step up. I thought Courtney Jones did a great job of that for us (Thursday)."

LSU fell behind as many as 12 points in the first half when Kiara Young's layup gave Louisiana Tech a 26-14 lead with 4:43 to go. The Lady Tigers sliced the deficit to 29-24 at the half when Jeanne Kenney, inbounding the ball with 0.5 seconds left, found Theresa Plaisance for a tip-in at the buzzer.

The teams traded 3s with 15:36 in the second half. Louisiana Tech claimed a 36-34 lead and then LSU made its move with an inspiring 11-0 run that proved to be the difference in the game. Jones was the catalyst with a layup that tied it and Kenney fired in a jumper from the right wing with the shot clock winding down.

Barrett then nailed a 3 from the top of the key and found Jones for a breakaway layup on the ensuing possession that made it 43-36 LSU with 12:56 left in the game. Webb finished off the run with a layup in transition following a Kenney steal.

The Lady Techsters pulled to within five with 7:07 on the clock, but LSU converted its free throws down the stretch while Louisiana Tech was just 8-of-18 from the line in the second half. Jones was 4-of-5 from the stripe in the final stanza. She put the Lady Tigers comfortably ahead with two shots following a flagrant foul on Kiara Young.

The Lady Tigers shot 48.1% in the second half and finished at 39.7% for the game. LSU out-rebounded Tech 24-17 in the second half and dominated points in the paint, 22-12

. The Lady Techsters had three players in double-figures led by Angie Felton, who finished with 15 points.

LSU will travel to Oxford, Miss., Friday in preparation for its SEC opener at Ole Miss on New Year's Day. Tipoff from Tad Smith Coliseum is 2 p.m.

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