Seniors go out winners at home

On paper, she is classified as a senior. <br><br> Lady Tiger guard Temeka Johnson, along with teammate Doneeka Hodges, was honored at halfcourt Thursday night as LSU paid tribute to its seniors on the Lady Tigers home finale against Ole Miss. While Johnson, technically a senior from New Orleans, received her senior plaque alongside Hodges, the 5-3 sparkplug could be back next year for 2004-05 season.

Due to academic ineligibility in her first season in Baton Rouge, Johnson could re-gain the year she lost after getting back on track to graduate. Johnson has been tight-lipped about her future, but


Lady Tiger fans and coach Sue Gunter can always hope.


If Johnson is not to return to LSU next season, she will have enjoyed her final regular season home game as the Lady Tigers toyed with Ole Miss before slamming the second half door in an 85-68 victory Thursday.


"We really had a total team effort," said interim LSU head coach Pokey Chatman. "Despite it being senior night and emotions were high, it seemed like we were sleepwalking through our half-court offense over the first six minutes and still managed to put up 40 points in the half. I was please with the way we finished the first half and the game."


Seimone Augustus scored 23 points and Johnson added 22 more as the Lady Tigers (22-5, 10-3 SEC) converted a 40-29 halftime lead into a 17-point victory. LSU led by 11 points twice in the first half before heading into the locker room up by the same margin.


In the second half, the Lady Tigers built a 15-point advantage with a Hodges' three-pointer for a 48-33 lead at the 17:11 mark, but the Lady Rebels (15-12, 6-7) would not go quietly.


Ole Miss closed the gap to a mere six points on a Carletta Brown jumper with 12:35 left to play. LSU led the Lady Rebs 54-48, but that would be as close as Ole Miss could get. The visiting Rebels received a steady dose of Johnson and Augustus the rest of the way as LSU re-gained the momentum and never looked back.


Augustus scored her 1,000 career point on a free throw with 9:43 left in the game and became the 23rd player in school history to reach the milestone and the eighth player to do so in two seasons or less.


"I didn't even know how many points I had, I just came out and played," she said. "It just seemed like a long time before I made a shot. I'm happy to be on the record books for my 1,000th point."


Scholanda Hoston added 12 points off the bench for the Lady Tigers, while Hodges had 10 points and a season-high nine rebounds. Johnson added seven assists to her point total and connected on 12 of 15 shots from the free throw line.


LSU out rebounded Ole Miss 46-37 and held the Lady Rebels to 33.8 percent shooting in the game, including 29.7 in the second half. The Lady Tigers connected on 44.3 percent from the floor.


On the coaching front, it was revealed last week LSU head coach Sue Gunter would not return to the bench this season due to continuing health problems. Rumors continue to circulate about the NCAA's third-most winningest coach and her future at LSU. Senior women's sports administrator Judy Southard said there is no little doubt in her mind about Gunter's return to the bench.


"Coach Gunter has two years remaining on her contract and I fully expect her to be on the bench at the start of next season," Southard said. "Contacting potential replacements is not even approached my radar screen."

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