Lady Tigers face upset-minded DePaul

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Coming off a pair of NCAA Tournament wins in Nashville that required great defensive efforts, the No. 1-seeded LSU women's basketball looks to slow down fourth-seeded DePaul in the Sweet 16 which starts Saturday at 11 a.m. CT at the AT&T Center.

LSU (29-3), which beat No. 16 seed Florida Atlantic (72-48) and No. 9 seed Washington (72-49) in the first two rounds, ranks fourth in the nation in scoring defense.

After struggling on the offensive end of the court in the first half of both games, the Lady Tigers clamped down defensively. The Owls and Huskies combined to shoot 30.6 percent from the field (37 of 121).

Seimone Augustus, a senior guard who leads the Lady Tigers and the nation in scoring, averages 23.0 points per game including 24.0 in the first two NCAA games.

She's trying to lead LSU to its third-straight Women's Final Four appearance in her final "Big Dance."

Augustus will be joined in the starting lineup by guards Erica White (5.2 ppg., 2.5 rpg., 5.6 apg.) and Scholanda Hoston (8.7 ppg., 2.5 rpg., 2.3 apg.), forward Ashley Thomas (4.3 ppg., 4.8 rpg., 1.1 spg.) and All-Southeastern Conference center Sylvia Fowles (16.4 ppg., 11.2 rpg., 61.3 FG%).

Fowles, who sat with two fouls for more than 18 minutes of Monday's first-half game against Washington, sparked a second-half rally by the Lady Tigers that allowed LSU to advance to the Sweet 16 for the ninth time in school history.

Since taking over the LSU program from legendary coach Sue Gunter, head coach Pokey Chatman has posted a 62-6 overall record including 6-1 in tournament plan.

DePaul (27-6) scored the last 10 points of a 71-67 second-round victory over No. 12-seeded Tulsa on Monday to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history.

The Blue Demons have been led by 6-2 senior Khara Smith, who averages a double double with 17.9 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.

They defeated No. 13-seeded Liberty in the first round of the tournament, avenging a 2005 second-round tournament loss, to advance to the second round for the third-straight season. The Blue Demons had lost their past two second-round games.

LSU and DePaul have never met in women's basketball. Ironically, the last time that LSU and DePaul met on the basketball court was when the LSU men's team defeated the Blue Demons in the 1987 Sweet 16, 63-58.

This season, the LSU men's team advanced to the Regional Final for the first time since that game. LSU beat Duke, 62-54, on Thursday.

Should the Lady Tigers defeat DePaul on Saturday, they will face the winner of No. 2-seeded Oklahoma and No. 3-seeded Stanford (1:30 p.m. CT on Saturday). Times for this regional final will be determined on Saturday evening.

Friday Press Conference Quotes - LSU

Head Coach Pokey Chatman

Opening Comments
"What I want to take from the first two rounds of the tournament is that we have played relatively good defense and have held our first two opponents under 50 points. DePaul is separated by their outlet offense. Once they get in their half court transition, all of our defense will be tested."

On if there is any difference in the team in the last two years
"Our seniors are trying to help our freshmen along and help them understand that at this stage, every opponent is tough and requires 40 minutes of execution."

On the similarities between the two teams
"I wish our transition offense was similar.  They have the players to do that and that's how they get their shots.  We just want to put ourselves in a position to win the game."

On if the women's team has gained any inspiration from the men's team knocking off No. 1 seed Duke in this year's NCAA tournament
"The way they have won games this year and the youth of their team is enjoyable to watch.  There is no elite player.  Every player on that team has contributed their part.  What I did remind the team was that Duke was a No. 1 seed and LSU was a No. 4 seed."

On playing in San Antonio
"Our fan support has been an instrumental part of our success and gives us momentum going into our match-ups.  We are happy with our seeding.  It was also nice to get a chance to go home a couple of days and get a chance to play basketball."

On the recruiting pipeline in Miami and if it started with Marie Ferdinand
"There are so many good players from the state of Floridaand it did start with Marie Ferdinand.  For kids to want to play at LSU and follow in her footsteps is great."

On the terms of better play from the team
"Our scrimmage guys have been locked into our competition and have done a good job at preparing our team for the tournament.  We have played a tough schedule and that has carried over to our practices."

On the importance of Sylvia Fowles right now
"For Sylvia, November was now.  There is a young girl in there and she knows that the stakes are a lot higher and that she has to up her level of competition."

On DePaul's No. 4 seeding
"We try not to focus on seeding and national rankings.  We primarily focus on the competition and try to set the seeding off to the side."

On changes from Seimone Augustus in her last year at LSU
"The game will dictate when it's over.  I know she realizes it's the last run.  She knows what is needed and she has spoken volumes on the basketball court this year.  She didn't have to do that much last year."

On the game plan against Khara Smith
"It's never about one player. We have to respect her ability and a player who produces a double double each game.  It's difficult at this point to focus on one player. We have to focus on the whole team."

On the hype about Tennessee freshman Candace Parker dunking and how that brings attention to women's basketball
"Sometimes negative attention is ok.  It will make a few more people watch the game and put more fans in the seats.  That will give them a chance to see how hard the kids play."

Seimone Augustus, Sr., Guard

On how much it has helped the team going home a couple of days in comparison to last year's NCAA tournament team
"We were on spring break last year when we didn't have a break in between sites.  This time we got to go home a day or so and have a recovery period.  It's still the same though.  We'll have to remained focused and not let it affect us."

On dealing with being a No. 1 seed three of the last four years
"It's about focus and motivation for us.  Teams are going to try and knock you off.  They will be bringing their A game, but you have to match their intensity and play your best basketball and try to win a national championship."

On the doubling that Khara Smith will bring down low
"She is a great player and doesn't let the defense dictate her shots.  It will be a total team effort.  We must make the pass difficult for her to receive and lock in on defense.  We'll try and contain her the best we can."

Scholanda Hoston, Sr., Guard

On watching the LSU men's team defeat Duke
"Coach Chatman said it best, we have to realize that a No. 4 seed beat a No. 1 seed.  We need to go out there and take care of business."

On Augustus, Hoston and Fowles all being from the same area and how it has created a bond
"It has created a nice environment and makes it easier as a freshman. Sylvia had two people here that she already knew and that made it more comfortable."

On how well DePaul shoots the 3 point shot
"We have to keep a mental focus and play like we're capable of playing. We just have to go out and do it."

On getting a lot of media attention from Candace Parker's dunk
"It does bring a lot of attention to the women's game.  People don't follow women's basketball as much as men's because it doesn't provide as much excitement.  This will make more people watch and motivate other players to elevate their game and try and out do her.  A woman getting to the rim is impressive and is not expected.

On if she considers Candace Parker's dunk a dunk
"What constitutes a dunk; who makes that rule?"

Sylvia Fowles, So., Center

On being conservative about fouling
"I can't worry about what the officials will call.  I'll play tough defense and try to shut the other team down."

Tiger Blitz Top Stories