Lady Tigers knocking on Final Four door

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- The top-seeded LSU women's basketball team used a 26-4 in the first 10 minutes of the second half to storm past DePaul and into the NCAA Regional Final on Saturday, 66-56, in the AT&T Center.

LSU (30-3) will face No. 3-seeded Stanford, the winner of Saturday's other regional semifinal in San Antonio, 88-74, over No. 2-seeded Oklahoma. The Elite 8 game will be held on Monday at 8 p.m. CT.

Seimone Augustus led all five Lady Tigers' starters in double figures scoring with 19, while center Sylvia Fowles had 13 points and 19 rebounds, a school record in tournament play. The sophomore center finished 6-of-11 shooting with four blocked shots and four steals.

LSU overcame 16 turnovers by forcing 18 by DePaul, while hitting 24-of-56 shots for 42.9 percent.

Forward Ashley Thomas again came up big for LSU with 11 points, five rebounds and three steals. Point guard Erica White was only 2-of-3 shooting but made 8-of-10 free throws to finish with 12 points in 33 minutes.

DePaul, making its first trip to the regional semifinal in school history, saw its season end at 27-7 overall. After making 5-of-10 three pointers in the first half, the Blue Demons made only 3-of-16 in the second half. DePaul was 23 of 72 from the floor for 31.9 percent.

Khara Smith led DePaul with 13 points and 20 rebounds in 34 minutes of play, while Jenna Rubino had five three pointers and finished with 15 points. Caprice Smith was the only other Blue Demon in double figures scoring with 11.

LSU outscored DePaul in the paint, 38-22, and allowed only two free throw attempts by the Blue Demons -- a school record low.

The Lady Tigers advanced to the regional final for the third-straight season and the fifth time in school history. LSU was in the Women's Final Four for the past three seasons.

LSU led by as many as seven in the first half before the team entered the lockerroom tied, 31-31.

The Blue Demons relied on the three pointer in the first half to take an early lead and keep pace the rest of the half. DePaul made 5-of-10 from behind the arc despite 38-percent shooting (13 of 34).

A three-point play by Augustus with 14:36 left in the half gave the Lady Tigers a 13-11 lead that that they held until the final three minutes of the half.

LSU was unfortunate when Khara Smith grabbed an offensive rebound after the Lady Tigers a blocked shot. She made an uncontested layup to give the Blue Demons a 31-29 lead with two minutes to play.

Erica White made two free throws in the final minute to tie the game at 31-31. The Lady Tigers shot 43.3 percent in the half (13 of 30), but committed nine turnovers.

DePaul scored the first basket of the second half, but the Lady Tigers quickly responded with a 12-0 over a span of 5:47 that was capped by a pair of free throws by Hoston.

LSU led 45-33.

The Lady Tigers' run didn't stop there. After DePaul hit scored twice in the paint, Augustus scored five of LSU's next nine points to extend the advantage to 57-37 with 9:16 to play.

Thomas, who often finds herself unguarded as the Blue Demons doubled Augustus and Fowles, drove to the goal from the top of the key and converted a three-point play to put LSU up by 20.

After a jumper by Rachael Carney with 8:38 to play closed the gap to 57-42, LSU held DePaul scoreless for 5:14 before the Blue Demons rattled off five straight to get within 10, 60-50.

DePaul would get no closer.

The Lady Tigers notched their 30th win for the third time in four seasons.

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