Big challenge for Lady Tigers

No. 5-ranked Kentucky comes to town with LSU looking to get back on track.

A tough test awaits the LSU women at 2 p.m. Sunday when the No. 5-ranked Kentucky Wildcats visit the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in the annual "Gold Game" as part of "Fan Appreciation Weekend."

LSU (14-8, 4-5 SEC) seeks to end a five-game SEC losing streak and return to the league win column for the first time since Jan. 12. The Lady Tigers fell behind early against Florida on Thursday and dropped a 73-64 contest at home despite a game-high 19 points from Adrienne Webb.

"We have to see better guard play in our post play because our numbers in our guards are very low," LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said. "Our post play has got to become more comfortable in breaking the pressure and giving our guards a target when we are trying to make post feeds."

First-place Kentucky (21-2, 10-0 SEC) carries a 13-game SEC winning streak into Sunday, which dates back to last season. The Wildcats hold a two-game lead on Tennessee for first place in the league standings. Their only two losses came in non-conference play to Notre Dame and Middle Tennessee.

Matthew Mitchell's team is known for full-court defensive play as they force 29.3 turnovers a game and 24.8 turnovers in SEC contests.

"We understand that Kentucky is one of the best teams in the country at forcing turnovers and converting on them," Caldwell said. "We have worked extremely hard on ball discipline the past two days. There are a lot of times where we feel like we have to make a home run pass or thread the needle, and we really need to be more of a patient team and a little bit more poised to eliminate those turnovers."

LSU is posting 64.4 points per game in SEC play and the Lady Tigers have four players averaging double-figures in those contests. LaSondra Barrett leads the way with 11.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, which ranks third in the SEC. Barrett surpassed Seimone Augustus for fifth place in LSU career free throws made against Florida on Thursday.

UK's A'dia Mathies enters the contest as a front-runner for SEC Player of the Year, leading the Wildcats in nearly every category. She is posting 15.2 points per contest, while SEC Freshman of the Year candidate Bria Goss has put up double-digits in three of the last five contests.

"They play extremely hard," Caldwell said. "Their guard play is strong. When you have great guard play you typically have great leadership, which then filters to your post game. They do a terrific job in disrupting you and make you have to speed up."

Kentucky swept LSU last season with both contests being decided by two points. Brittany Henderson converted a lay-up on a feed from Mathies with 1.1 seconds left that gave UK a 49-47 in Lexington. Mathies then converted a three-point play with 38.8 seconds left as UK ended LSU's season in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals.

Sunday's game will be televised by Cox Sports Television (CST) on cable channel 37 in Baton Rouge. All fans are urged to wear gold to the PMAC and gold rally towels will be on seats throughout the arena. "Quick Change" will perform at halftime.

Tickets for the "Gold Game" start at only $1 and are available at LSUtix.net. On game day, the Maravich Center ticket office opens on the upper ramps at 12:30 p.m.


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