Making it look very easy

Paced by Mississippi native LaSondra Barrett, the LSU women steamroll Ole Miss in SEC opener, 83-44.

OXFORD, Miss. – LSU coach Nikki Caldwell made her return to the SEC a success one Sunday, as senior forward LaSondra Barrett continued her dominance of Ole Miss with her 13th career double-double in an 83-44 blowout at Tad Smith Coliseum.

Caldwell and the LSU Lady Tigers rang in 2012 with their seventh straight victory, using a 24-2 run to close the first half and cruise past the Lady Rebels.

Barrett scored 13 points and pulled down 13 rebounds – 11 in the first half and one shy of a career-high – to go along with a career-best 3 blocks. In six career games against the Rebels, the Jackson, Miss., native finished with 112 points and 47 rebounds.

Every Lady Tiger player scored and LSU (10-3, 1-0 SEC) finished with an efficient 37 made field goals on 26 assists. Sophomore guard Jeanne Kenney added 10 points and dished out a career-high-tying 7 assists. Senior guard Destini Hughes scored a season-high 13 points with 4 assists and 3 steals. Freshman Krystal Forthan chipped in with 9 points and had two acrobatic blocks.

"I liked that we played more off the dribble drive (Sunday)," Caldwell said. "Destini Hughes really set the tone for us in being aggressive off the dribble. Obviously, LaSondra Barrett gets 13 boards and was really that presence for us on the offensive end."

Ole Miss (10-4, 0-1 SEC) saw a four-game winning streak come to an end and lost for the third straight time to LSU. Nikki Byrd led Ole Miss with 14 points.

With LSU trailing 18-16 at the 11:23 mark of the first half, the Lady Tigers put together a back-breaking 17-0 run that took control of the game. In its most efficient offensive display of the season, LSU got contributions from every player. Hughes tied the game with a jumper and 3 minutes later Courtney Jones' 3 from the top of the key gave LSU a 27-18.

Adrienne Webb tossed a bucket in the lane and Jones converted a turnaround jumper that culminated the 17-0 run at the 3:44 mark. LSU led 33-18 before Kenyotta Jenkins ended the scoring dry spell with a free throw. The Rebels went the final 11:22 of the first half without a field goal, thanks to the Lady Tigers' suffocating. Barrett grabbed 10 rebounds during the 11-minute span.

"This game is about runs and we have to generate that through our defense and board play because we have to control the tempo of the game," Caldwell said. "Once we did that, I thought we played a lot better in establishing our inside play. We are going to continue to look to push tempo because we have a lot of people that we can play. Our bench gave us some quality minutes today."

LSU built on its 40-20 halftime advantage right out of the locker room. Hughes and Kenney converted old-fashioned three-point plays. Forthan nailed a 3 from the right wing that pushed the advantage to 64-34 with 9:08 remaining.

Shanece McKinney and Sheila Boykin got into the scoring act in the final 5 minutes. Barrett put the finishing touches on her monster day with a 3 at the 1:35 mark.

LSU finished the game at 55.2% hooting from the floor and holding the Rebels to 24.6%. The Lady Tigers out-rebounded their eighth straight opponent and the 83 total points were the most by LSU in an SEC (non-overtime game) since putting up 83 against Arkansas on Feb. 28, 2008.

The seven-game win streak is the longest by the Lady Tigers since winning the first nine games of 2009. Sunday's 39-point margin of victory was LSU's largest in SEC play since defeating Florida 70-30, on Feb. 11, 2010.

LSU concludes a three-game road trip at Mississippi State at 7 p.m. Thursday at Humphrey Coliseum.


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