NASHVILLE, Tenn. – LSU coach Nikki Caldwell takes the LSU women back on the road as they seek to snap a three-game SEC losing skid and score their first victory at Vanderbilt since 2005 when two of the league's top defensive teams meet at 2 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Gymnasium.
The Lady Tigers (14-6, 4-3 SEC) rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit on Tuesday to defeat East Tennessee State, 71-68 in overtime. Swayze Black's putback at the forced overtime and LaSondra Barrett's four game-winning free throws capped a 20-point, 10-rebound night for the senior.
"I know we have been wounded emotionally and physically, but we have to come out with toughness and get back to our basics," Caldwell said. "Things happen, adversity hits and it's how you handle it. We are going to bring everything we can on Sunday against Vanderbilt. They are a well-coached team and we have to bring mental toughness to this game."
Sunday will be the Lady Tigers' third trip to the state of Tennessee in 10 days as LSU tries to take down a Vanderbilt team that has protected its home court throughout the season with a 13-1 record. The Commodores (15-5, 3-4) ran away from 15th-ranked Georgia 68-48 on Thursday night in Nashville to snap a three-game losing streak.
Sophomore guard Jeanne Kenney, who missed the Arkansas and ETSU games, is questionable for Sunday's game after recovering from a concussion sustained at Tennessee on Jan. 19.
"Injuries are unexpected but they are part of the game," Caldwell said. "It's our job to move forward and I feel this group has collectively decided to do so. We need to take on ownership of breaking the press. Defensively, we obviously are bigger and not quite as quick on the perimeter, but that is still to our advantage as long as we are closing out properly and rebounding the basketball.
"As long as this group continues to play together and get more minutes together, we will improve tremendously. Destini has meant a lot to this program and we wish her a speedy recovery."
Barrett has provided three double-doubles this season and is among the league leaders in several statistical categories. She leads the team with 12.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Through seven SEC games, Barrett ranks fourth in the league in rebounding with 8.3 boards per contest.
With her 10 rebounds on Tuesday, Barrett eclipsed the 700-rebound mark for her career. She is now one of only four players in school history to tally 1,300 points, 700 rebounds, 200 assists and 100 steals in a career at LSU. The company she sits with is an elite class: Seimone Augustus, Barbara Henderson and Cornelia Gayden.
Sunday's game matches two of the premier shooting teams in the nation. Overall, Vanderbilt leads the SEC and ranks eighth in the nation in field goal percentage at 46.8%. LSU comes in second at 43.7% and the Lady Tigers are tops in the conference in field goal percentage defense at 32.2%.
Lady Tigers set to take on Vanderbilt
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