Lady Tigers prepare for SEC tourney

The only other time the Southeastern Conference Tournament was held in Alltel Arena, the LSU women's basketball team cut the down nets as the champion in 2003.

The SEC Tournament returns to North Little Rock this year and LSU (25-2, 13-1 SEC), the No. 1 seed, will begin its 2003 title defense on Friday at noon CST against either No. 8 seed Ole Miss or ninth-seeded Arkansas.

"Last time the tournament was in Little Rock we experienced success there," LSU head coach Pokey Chatman said. "This team is a group of individuals that look at the task ahead. They understand that there is a lot of hard work that goes into that."

The Lady Tigers won a second straight conference regular season champions and earned a first-round bye in the tournament by finishing the regular season with a victory at Alabama and a win at home over Mississippi State.

"Obviously we are well pleased with securing a No. 1 seed in terms of the regular season championship," Chatman added. "But, there are areas that demand our immediate attention and will need to be corrected. If we don't, a fine Arkansas or Ole Miss team will do that for us."

Arkansas and Ole Miss open the tournament at noon on Thursday. The winner will face the Lady Tigers in the second round.

LSU experienced success against both schools during the season. The Lady Tigers swept both games with Arkansas, including a 93-59 win in Fayetteville and a 64-42 win in Baton Rouge. LSU defeated Ole Miss, 78-63, in the only meeting this season.

Seimone Augustus, the 2005-06 SEC Player of the Year, leads LSU into the tournament. The senior guard is averaging a national-best 22.4 points per game to go with a 57.7 field goal percentage.

Sylvia Fowles, a fellow first-team All-SEC member, is posting 16.7 points and a league-best 11.6 rebounds per game for the Lady Tigers, while Scholanda Hoston, a second-team all-conference selection, is scoring 8.4 points and dishing out 2.6 assists per game.

Other first-round games on Thursday include No. 10 Auburn vs. No. 7 South Carolina at 2:30 p.m., No. 12 Mississippi State vs. No. 5 Florida at 6:30 p.m., and No. 11 Alabama vs. No. 6 Vanderbilt at 8:50 p.m.

Tennessee, the No. 2 seed, third-seeded Georgia and No. 4 Kentucky joined LSU with first-round byes.

The four second round games begin at Noon CST on Friday with LSU, while the semifinals are Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CST with the championship game on Sunday at 5 p.m. CST.

First and second round games and the semifinals can be seen on Fox Sports Net (cable Ch. 38 in the Baton Rouge area). The Championship game will be on ESPN2.

All of LSU's games in the tournament can be heard on LSU Sports Radio Network (107.3 FM in Baton Rouge) and in the Geaux Zone on

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