Down pair of starters, LSU goes back to work

After two tough losses on the road, the Lady Tigers come back home for a tussle with surging Arkansas at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The LSU women return to the friendly confines of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, a place where it has won six in a row, at 2 p.m. Sunday against surging Arkansas in the "We Back Pat" game live on Fox Sports Net.

The Lady Tigers will wear special "We Back Pat" shooting shirts during warm-ups and debut their new Nike "Hyper Elite" uniforms. The new jerseys and shorts are significantly lighter than the previous uniforms. LSU "We Back Pat" shirts are now on sale at LSUshop.net and all proceeds go directly to the Pat Summitt Foundation.

LSU (13-5, 4-2 SEC) is coming off a hard-fought 65-56 loss at No. 9 Tennessee on Thursday night in Knoxville. The Lady Tigers nearly overcame the loss of two starting guards – senior Destini Hughes and sophomore Jeanne Kenney – in a comeback effort against the Lady Vols. LSU heads into Sunday's play in a tie with Georgia for third place in the league standings.

Coach Nikki Caldwell said she will lean on a bigger lineup and run point guard by committee. An MRI on Friday revealed torn ligaments and a torn meniscus on Hughes' right knee and she will miss the rest of the season.

Caldwell also ruled Kenney out of Sunday's game after she suffered a concussion in the opening minute of Thursday's game against the Lady Vols. Kenney is listed as day-to-day.

Nikki Caldwell: 'We have to come in with toughness (Sunday) and make sure that we capitalize on every opportunity that we can.'

"Emotionally and with her spirit we know she will still be involved in the game," Caldwell said. "My message to the team has been it's not what position that you're called, it's about if you are going to meet the matchup and be a great competitor on the floor. At the end of the day, we run a matchup zone and everybody should know how to play every position. Offensively, it's about scoring and sharing the basketball. All of us on this team are capable of doing that.

"We will utilize our size when there is pressure and we need to take care of the basketball and make sure passes. We want to do this by committee because all five players have to be involved in bringing the basketball up the floor. Everybody has to be involved in getting open. We have already been training them in that regard."

The Lady Tigers will rely heavily on senior forwards LaSondra Barrett and Courtney Jones and junior guard Adrienne Webb. In SEC only games, Barrett ranks 10th in the league in scoring (13.2 ppg), third in rebounding (8.8 rpg) and first in 3-point field goal percentage (57.1%, 8-of-14).

Jones has been dominant on both ends of the floor, producing two straight double-figure scoring games and a combined 16 rebounds in those contests. Webb is coming off a 12-point game against the Lady Vols.

Arkansas (13-5, 2-4) has blown out two straight opponents after opening conference play 0-4. The Razorbacks crushed Auburn, 59-39, and then shocked No. 22 Vanderbilt 69-47 on Thursday in Fayetteville. Arkansas held the Commodores, the SEC's best shooting percentage team, to 32.1% from the floor and got a combined 38 points from Sarah Watkins and Ashley Daniels.

"Arkansas is playing very tough basketball on the defensive end," Caldwell said. "They have a lot of versatility on their perimeter game and they have players that can shoot the 3. They have a balanced attack as far as scoring is concerned and they are a well-coached team. We have to come in with toughness (Sunday) and make sure that we capitalize on every opportunity that we can."

LSU leads the all-time series with Arkansas, 27-11, but the Razorbacks have won two in a row after sweeping the series for the first time last season. Prior to last year's losses, LSU had won 16 consecutive games over Arkansas.

The first 1,000 fans in attendance receive a free Lady Tiger yo-yo. "Red Panda" will perform at halftime. Sunday's contest culminates a week-long initiative across the SEC of "We Back Pat." The week has recognized the Pat Summitt Foundation in its efforts to raise awareness and help find a cure for Alzheimer's disease.


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