Weekend highlighted by highs and lows of overtime

Whew, what a busy weekend! <br><br> With four major sports up and running at the same time, life is very busy on the LSU front. With men and women's basketball coming down the home stretch and baseball and softball getting kick-started, it was a very hectic weekend.

One thing is for sure; Tiger fans received their money's worth this weekend getting some bonus action. Overtime played a major factor in two events on campus this weekend. As for the LSU teams the extra periods affected, there were mixed results.


First for the good stuff.


In a game dubbed ‘the game that refused to end,' the Lady Tiger basketball team won its seventh game in a row with a 94-90 triple-overtime thriller over visiting UC-Santa Barbara Saturday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.


Now for the bad.


Coach Smoke Laval's LSU Tigers tasted the agony of defeat in extra innings when Kansas scored three runs in the top of the 10th frame to break open a 6-6 tie and go on to win the first game of the weekend series 9-6. The Jayhawks went on to sweep the series taking both ends of a doubleheader on Sunday in Alex Box Stadium. More on baseball later.


If any team could have used a little more time it would have been coach John Brady's LSU Tiger basketball team, which lost on the road at Kentucky 68-57.


Brady's bunch has been playing well as of late as winners of two of their last four games. The Tigers went into Lexington needing a "Bluegrass Miracle" to upset the 3rd-ranked Wildcats. Kentucky had been on a tear the last weeks blowing out Florida, Georgia and Ole Miss and was arguably the hottest team in the country.


LSU trailed by six at the half 27-21 and looked several times in the first half as if they could make a run in the game. But the Wildcats opened up a 20-point lead midway through the second half and appeared to have put Brady's Tigers away.




LSU countered and closed the gap to a mere five points when Torris Bright drilled a late three-point basket. However, there would not be enough time left to make a run at the upset and LSU fell to 3-8 in SEC play.


While the Tigers were unlucky on the Bluegrass, Sue Gunter's Lady Tigers came out on top in one of the most exciting games in LSU women's basketball history. Heck, it may be the most exciting game in Lady Tigers basketball. If you don't believe it, just ask Gunter.


"I will remember this one for a long time," she said. "I am just glad we won."


Both teams refused to lose as LSU and UC-Santa Barbara kept trading punches with the Lady Tigers finally pulling it out in three extra periods.


"I knew it was going to be a really good game but I did not know it was going to be quite that good," Gunter said.


It looked as if LSU would win it in regulation when Gaucho point guard Jess Hansen hit a layup at the end of regulation knotting the score at 62-62.  

With the tables turned, the Lady Tigers needed a running jumper off the glass by Temeka Johnson with seven seconds left in the first overtime period to remain in the game.


Resilient, UCSB fought back from an eight-point deficit and tied the score at 80 when Hansen buried a three-pointer at the end of the second overtime session.


"Their resiliency is probably better than mine," Santa Barbara head coach Mark French said about his team.


Finally, in overtime, LSU relied on clutch free throw shooting to win the game by four points.


"It feels like Sunday already," Hansen said after the game late Saturday afternoon.


There was no doubt in the player's mind that it was the best game they had played in their careers.


"Regardless of whether or not we won or lost, it was just unbelievable to be a part of that game," Hansen said. "That was the greatest game I have ever been a part of."


Hansen's teammate, Kristen Mann, agreed.


"It was really fun out there," Mann said. "I had a great time out there. I was dead tired by the first overtime, but it was fun to compete like that. Like Jess (Hansen) said, it was the best game I have been a part of."


LSU's Temeka Johnson didn't think it was much fun, but she agreed it was a great game.


"It can be fun sometimes but sometimes it can be frustrating because you've got to think and stay on your toes," she said. "Still though, it was a great game."


French said he liked the atmosphere of the game, which was very similar to an NCAA Tournament-type setting.


"It was a great basketball game, and it had a real NCAA Tournament type feel," he said. "All in all, though, we had a great time. All girls grow up dreaming about those opportunities that we just had."


Gunter said she would try and convert this game into a learning she can apply to her team.


"Once we get into postseason play, what we have learned from this particular game will go a long, long way," Gunter said.


Speaking of things a team has learned, the Tiger baseball team learned a great deal over the weekend in losing all three games of the series to the Kansas Jayhawks.


Following Sunday's 9-7 loss in the third and final game of the series, Laval seemed disappointed, but not angry with the way his team competed throughout the weekend.


The fact is, LSU does have a great deal of talent and will perform much better than they did last weekend. Laval seems to think his young ball club tends to freak out in pressure situations and do things that do not click within the Tigers gameplan.


Laval, a master of words (anyone who has spoken to him understands this), summarized LSU's problems in a way only Smoke could.


"It is sort of like the analogy where you are a fifth degree black belt and you can kick everybody's butt," Laval began. But then you get in a bar fight, break a bottle, and you try and act like a boxer instead of trusting your stuff. That is what happens when guys get into a little panic mode, but that is part of it. That is what we are here to work on."


No one could have put it better than that.

Well said Smoke.

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