LSU digs deep for much-needed win

ANALYSIS: Nikki Caldwell praises her entire team after a gritty 61-51 decision against the No. 5-ranked Wildcats.

On Sunday the LSU women proved themselves by constantly fighting and battling for a 61-51 win against No. 5-ranked Kentucky.


The main issue for the Lady Tigers in their most recent defeats was their inability to hold on to the ball. Although LSU’s turnover rate did not decrease, it still maintained a head-to-head ball game.


Against Florida on Thursday, LSU coach Nikki Caldwell explained that her team would never stop trying, and that was apparent Sunday.


So, was this win a turning point for the Lady Tigers’ season? That answer remains to be seen. 


LSU may have made mistakes and maintained its overwhelming turnover rate, but the Tigers still never gave up their drive to win this game.


Even with 26 turnovers, LSU guard Jeanne Kenney looked at the stats with humor.


“There is a good turnover and there is a bad turnover,” Kenney said. “Even though I had a couple turnovers, they were good turnovers.”


There are so many different elements when you think of this LSU team. There is not just one specific person that wins the game. Yes, every now and then one player may be in the spotlight, but it was definitely a team effort.

Adrienne Webb


“We feed off each other, when you see that, it’s contagious.” LSU forward LaSondra Barrett said.


Adrienne Webb may run up the scoreboard and lead the team with the most points, but her key attribution to the team is her amazing attitude and willingness to always be a team player. When Webb was asked about her “sweet spot,” her initial statement was that her success starts with her teammates.


When said the win over Kentucky “motivates us to push harder and practice to push harder, and finish out this year strong.”


Another strong attribute LSU used to win this game was the accuracy of free throws,  as it went 25-of-31 from the free-throw line.


“We did a great job at capitalizing at the free-throw line, and I was proud of this group for shooting 80%, having not made those free throw shots the game could have easily went the other way,” Caldwell said.


Caldwell’s idea to change up the game plan also seemed to be a key factor to LSU’s success.


Courtney Jones and Barrett were not in the starting lineup for the first time all year. Caldwell explained that those players accepted their roles.


 “Everybody can start for us, but not everybody can finish a game for us,” Caldwell said of the lineup change.


“This is a great win for this group, because I know they have worked hard. The thing that they did that was different was that they seemed to have bought in more in what the game plan was, and they bought in to each other. They started feeding off of each other and they did it in a way that I had not seen in a while.


“Every player contributed in some way. This team has a fight in them, and a never give up attitude.”


The Lady Tigers showed ambition and team effort in this game, and if they continue to work together and have faith in each other, they may be able to turn this season around. 


“There is no looking back, I do not want this to be a one-hit wonder type of game,” Caldwell said, “This is how we have to play from here on out.”

Bailey Bigler is a sophomore public relations major in LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication. She was a volunteer for the LSU Sports Administration Office before beginning an internship with Tiger Sports Digest this semester. She moved to Baton Rouge from her hometown -- Baytown, Texas.

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