Lady Tigers: One more to move on

LSU collides with Penn State at the PMAC with a Sweet 16 berth on the line

One more at home and one more for the next big step.

That's where the LSU women are as the second round of the NCAA Tournament reaches its zenith.

The fifth-seeded Lady Tigers (23-10) square off with No. 4 seed Penn State (25-6) at 8:40 p.m. Tuesday the Pete Maravich Assembly Center with a berth to the NCAA Sweet 16 will be on the line.

The game will be televised live by ESPN2 and ESPN3.com. The LSU Sports Radio Network will carry it on 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge and to members of the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net.

The winner of Tuesday's contest advances to face No. 1 seed Connecticut in the Regional semifinal on Sunday in Kingston, R.I.. The Huskies routed Kansas State 72-26 on Monday.

A raucous crowd witnessed LSU rally from a seven-point deficit with a 12-0 run to beat No. 12 seed San Diego State, 64-56, in the first round on Sunday, the Lady Tigers' 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament first round victory.

"This is a great atmosphere and there were a lot of people who came out the other night to support us," LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said. "We are going to challenge our fans to come out. I know it's a late tip off at 8:40 p.m. but we would like to have a lot of our fans out here supporting and seeing these seniors. It will be their last home game. We need to get our student body out here as well."

LSU is seeking its 13th Sweet 16 appearance and first since 2008. To achieve it, the Lady Tigers will have to play for 40 minutes against the Big Ten conference regular-season champion, who feature first-team All-Big Ten guards Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas, who are averaging 19.3 points and 14.4 points per game, respectively.

The Lady Lions boast four starters who post double-figure scoring averages to bolster a 75.8 ppg team average. That helped Penn State surge past UTEP in the second half of a 85-77 first-round win.

LaSondra Barrett: 17 points and 10 rebounds in NCAA Tournament opener

"Penn State does a great job of running the basketball with their guards," said Caldwell. "We are going to have to be aware of where they are at all times. We did a much better job of taking care of the basketball which didn't lead to too many turnovers in our game (Sunday) night. I do see transition defense being key for us."

Five LSU seniors will take the floor at the PMAC for the final time: LaSondra Barrett, Taylor Turnbow, Swayze Black, Courtney Jones and Destini Hughes. Hughes will watch from the bench where she has served as an inspirational leader since her season-ending injury at Tennessee on Jan. 19.

Barrett was spectacular once again on Sunday night. Despite foul trouble, the All-SEC star registered her seventh double-double of the year with 17 points and 10 rebounds. She fired in 13 made free throws, including 12 in the second half.

She stands just six made free throws away from tying Sylvia Fowles' LSU career record of 494. With her 10 rebounds against SDSU, Barrett became the 10th player in school history to pull down 800 rebounds.

LSU and Penn State are meeting for the sixth time and the first since the Lady Lions dealt the Lady Tigers an 83-46 loss in State College, Pa., on Nov. 21, 2003. LSU won the only meeting between the two in Baton Rouge, 80-63 on Jan. 4, 2003.

Tickets are on sale now at www.LSUtix.net and on game day, the LSU Athletic Ticket Office opens at 7:30 p.m. on the upper ramps of the Maravich Center. The box offices at both Tiger Park and Alex Box Stadium will be selling NCAA Tournament tickets during the LSU baseball and softball games on Tuesday.

LSU student admission is free of charge thanks to the generous donations of Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva and head coaches Trent Johnson, Paul Mainieri and Les Miles. LSU students can enter through the upper Northeast portal with a valid LSU ID.

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