Lady Tigers cruise to exhibition win

LSU proved there is strength in numbers in its 113-60 win Friday night over the Basketball Travelers.<br><br>After finishing last season with seven players, the third-ranked Lady Tigers used a dozen players against their opponents from the Czech Republic and six scored in double figures before a crowd of 1,381 at the Maravich Assembly Center.

"We haven't forgotten how to substitute," LSU head coach Sue Gunter said after the game.


The Lady Tigers enjoyed a large advantage in nearly every statistical category against the Travelers, a team that was playing its third game in as many nights. LSU won the rebounding battle, 40-22, and committed just two of its 14 turnovers in the second half. The visitors had 37 turnovers and seven steals, while the Lady Tigers recorded 22 steals.


Freshman Seimone Augustus led the way for LSU with 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting. She was pulled from the game early after committing two fouls but saw plenty of action in the second half when she scored 12 of her points.


"It's exciting," Augustus said when asked about playing in her first game at LSU. "I was kind of nervous at first, but you have to get over that and play the game. It was fun."


Joining Augustus in double figures were Aiysha Smith with 15 points, Doneeka Hodges 14, Ke-Ke Tardy 13, Wendlyn Jones 12, and Roneeka Hodges 10.


Seniors Kisha James and DeTrina White saw their first action in two seasons. White, who redshirted last year due to a stress fracture in her foot, added 7 points and matched Smith's game-high 7 rebounds. James, who suffered her second ACL tear in an exhibition game last year, added four points.


"When I saw Kisha James…and Train (White) come into the dressing room with their uniforms on, I can't tell you how that felt for me," said Gunter. "I know how it must have felt for them. To see those kids who have been through so much come back, it was special."


The Lady Tigers quickly built a double-digit lead with a 14-2 run to start the game. Utilizing a full-court press, LSU forced the Travelers to commit most of their 19 first-half turnovers in the backcourt.


"I think that had to do with our run-and-jump and our 2-2-1 press," said Tardy. "We just got in the passing lanes, put on a lot of ball pressure and made them have to make decisions." 


A lay-up from Doneeka Hodges at the 10:13 mark gave LSU a 28-8 advantage. The Czechs drew within 15, 30-15, on Petra Mlenjnikova's transition layup with 9:03 to go, but the Lady Tigers responded with ten unanswered points.


Mlenjnikova was the leading scorer for the Travelers with 16 points.


James' layup with 12 seconds in the period gave LSU its largest first half lead, a 55-27 edge the Lady Tigers took into the locker room.


Despite facing Czech post players who measured 6-foot-5 and 6-6, LSU scored most its points from close range in the first half.


"Our post players are not ordinary post players," said James. "We've got speed and we can beat everybody down the court. That's another advantage for us."


The Travelers matched LSU's scoring, 13-13, for the first 7:35 of the second half. Monika Prausova's three-pointer made the score 68-40, but the Czechs could not get any closer the rest of the game.


The Lady Tigers eclipsed the century mark on a free throw from Roneeka Hodges with 3:51 remaining. It came during a span of nearly six minutes when LSU outscored the visitors 24-2.


LSU shot 55.4 percent from the field (41-74), including 2-of-6 on three pointers, and knocked down 29 of 35 free throw attempts. The Travelers shot 52.3 percent (23-44) and made 10 of 17 free throws.


The Lady Tigers were very efficient on the boards, recording 20 offensive and 20 defensive rebounds. Many of the offensive boards came on put-back attempts when LSU was able to establish position on the Czechs.

"One of the things we scream at these kids constantly is the boards, particularly the offensive boards," said Gunter. "We're 20 and 20. That's pretty impressive."

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