Lady Tigers topple Tech

Freshman forward LaSondra Barrett scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, but it was LSU's stifling defense that gave the Lady Tiger basketball team a 51-41 victory over rival Louisiana Tech on Monday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

LSU (3-3) evened its record and won its second straight game after returning to the court for the first time in 14 days for final exams. The Lady Techsters (5-5) saw their three-game winning streak come to an end and lost for the fourth consecutive time to LSU.

For the first time since 1990, LSU and Louisiana Tech met in Baton Rouge, and what resulted was a contest where points were hard to come by. LSU held the Lady Techsters to 22.2 percent shooting in the first half and 27.1 percent for the game while forcing 18 turnovers and blocking nine shots.

"From an offensive point of view, a young team is going to struggle a little bit and we struggled a little bit,” LSU head coach Van Chancellor said. “But this is a great win for the team. They really needed this and this will be good for them.

“Louisiana Tech has really hurt a lot of people on the offensive boards and we didn't give that up tonight – only seven points for them there. That was really big for us. That was one of our goals: not to give up a lot of offensive rebounds."

Tech forward Shanavia Dowdell did manage 12 points and 10 rebounds. But the Lady Tigers shutdown guard Whitney Jones, who finished with five points, nine points below her season average without making a 3-pointer in the contest.

"I thought (associate head) coach Bob Starkey had a great defensive plan today,” Chancellor said. “He's the one that designed what we were going to do against Louisiana Tech. I thought we played well; we held them to 20-something percent shooting, they didn't make many three-pointers and the few shots they made in the second half was part of our plan – we wanted to give those up in the first place.”

Meanwhile, LSU got an inspiring effort from junior guard Allison Hightower after she finished with 13 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Hightower, who was battling cramps in her left leg in the second half, still managed to score in double-figures for the fourth time this season.

Sophomore guard Katherine Graham added nine rebounds, and freshman forward Courtney Jones contributed nine points and four boards in 28 minutes of action. LSU outrebounded Tech, 44-36.

LSU held its biggest margin of the game, 42-18, with 12:24 to go before Louisiana Tech mounted a comeback. The Lady Techsters trimmed the lead to under double-digits with a 13-0 run midway through the second half.

Dowdell and Adrienne Johnson made consecutive shots from beyond the arc, and Tech came within nine points at the 1:17 mark on another three from Tiawana Pringle. However, the early deficit and sluggish start to the second half proved to be too much to overcome.

LSU opened the half with an 11-1 run of its own and held the Lady Techsters scoreless from the field for nearly eight minutes until the 11:54 mark in the second half. Sophomore guard Latear Eason gave LSU a 44-20 lead on a 3-pointer from the left wing with 10:22 to play.

Tech managed only six field goals in the first half while the Lady Tigers shot 41.7 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes. Barrett scored all 11 of her points in the first half en route to her first career double-double.

After Tech’s Tiawana Pringle drained a 3-pointer for the game’s first score, LSU rattled off 11 unanswered points to claim an 11-3 lead. Barrett had a jumper from the top of the key, and Hightower buried her second 3-pointer of the season from the base line.

LSU tacked on an 8-0 spurt later in the period and Hightower’s left-handed runner prior to the horn sounding lifted the Lady Tigers to a comfortable 28-13 halftime lead.

LSU seeks its third straight win at 7 p.m. Thursday against Southeastern Louisiana in the Maravich Center. 

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