Lady Tigers grab 2nd seed, upend Arkansas 70-57

Sweet revenge. <br><br> The LSU Lady Tigers settled the score with Arkansas' Lady Razorbacks avenging an 82-72 loss in Fayetteville in mid January. <br><br> Although it was senior night, freshman Seimone Augustus stole the show. The Baton Rouge native scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as LSU (24-2, 11-2 in SEC) fought off Arkansas 70-57.

"I thought a difference in this game from the game in Fayetteville was that we put a lot of pressure on them," LSU head coach Sue Gunter said. "I thought the pressure was good. It definitely made a difference in the game."

 

Augustus was one of three Lady Tigers in double figures with Ke-Ke Tardy scoring 15 points and Temeka Johnson adding 10. Augustus improved greatly from a lackadaisical performance in the loss at Fayetteville. She scored just 12 points on the road before leaving the game with an ankle injury.

 

"(Seimone) Augustus was a different player tonight than when she played at our place," Arkansas head coach Gary Blair said. "She attacked instead of settling for the jumpshot. That is the difference."

 

Wednesday's win assured the Lady Tigers a No. 2 seed in next week's SEC Women's Tournament in Little Rock.

 

"I am not going to sit here and say it wasn't sweet because it was very sweet," Tardy said. "But I think the biggest thing was that it was an SEC win and it was a home win and you have to win at home to be a great team in this league. It is just on step further to a great seed in postseason play in the SEC and NCAA Tournament."

 

LSU's 11 conference wins are the most in school history. The Lady Tigers 14-1 home record was the best since a 17-1 mark in 1999-2000. Overall, LSU's 24 wins are the most since 1977-78.

 

Arkansas (19-9, 6-7 in SEC) is now struggling for their NCAA lives having now lost seven of its last 10 games.

 

LSU broke open a one-point, halftime contest with a 17-0 run early in the second half. The Lady Tigers led 31-30 at the break and fell behind 32-31 when Ruby Vaden pumped in a layup opening up the second half of play. Doneeka Hodges answered with a quick bucket and Temeka Johnson knocked down a short jump shot putting LSU on top 35-32.

 

"We felt like the first play of the second half was key for us," Blair said. "We ran an overload and got my freshman who has struggled to score an easy basket. I thought we were on our way. Then we go back in our zone defense on the other end and we have one of our seniors on the wrong side of the court, so it is wide open and they get an easy basket. Those are the things we cannot do."

 

Although the Lady Razorbacks kept it close after falling behind once again, things did not get out of hand until the 15:45 mark of the second half. Arkansas' India Lewis drilled an open jump shot closing the gap to 40-37 with 16:10 left to play. LSU then took control.

 

"I thought specifically in the second half we played very well," Gunter said. "I thought we came out with a lot of energy in the second half."

 

Turning up the defensive pressure, LSU held Arkansas scoreless for the next 6:56. In the meantime, the Lady Tigers put together a 17-0 run, fueled by nine consecutive points by Augustus. By the time Arkansas logged another point, LSU led 57-39.

 

The Lady Tigers held as much as a 23-point lead at one point, 64-41 at the 6:23 mark. LSU had a 21-point advantage leading 70-49 with 2:13 to go before Lewis nailed a couple of threes and tallied eight points in the last two minutes of play.

 

The game bounced back and forth for the first 10-plus minutes with LSU leading the entire time. Arkansas' Lakishia Harper dropped in a bucket with 9:40 left to play in the first half cutting the Lady Tigers' advantage to a single point, 16-15.

 

LSU countered with a 9-0 run with Augustus scoring the first five points and Tardy pouring on the latter four. At the 5:06 mark, the Lady Tigers led 27-15.

 

The Lady Razorbacks retaliated by taking advantage of five LSU turnovers posting a 15-point run over the last 3:47. Five straight points by Cara Wright got Arkansas going before India Lewis drained a pair of long-range three-pointers giving the Lady Razorbacks a brief 30-29 lead.

 

Aiysha Smith made sure the Lady Tigers were on top 31-30 at the half hitting a short jumper just before time expired.

 

"We had a pretty good run during the first 15 minutes of the first half," Gunter said. "But all of a sudden we seemed to let up a little bit and let them back in the game and we can't do that. We have to be more consistent than that."

 

Arkansas' Lewis and Shameka Christon came into the game as the Lady Razorbacks leading scorers, averaging 14 points each. Christon was held to just five points on 2-of-12 shooting. Although Lewis did knock down 18, 12 of those came from behind the arch. She also did not score her first point of the game until the first of a pair of three-pointers at the end of the first half.

 

"I think that defensively we did an excellent job tonight," Gunter said. "I looked at the stats and noticed what India Lewis ended up with. But I tell you what, Doneeka Hodges did a terrific job on her when she was in the game. In fact, I don't know if she (Lewis) got a bucket on Doneeka. I know she didn't get a three-pointer when Doneeka was on her."

 

Dana Cherry was the only other Arkansas player to finish in double figures scoring 12 points.

 

"I think the one thing that we did was that we put very good pressure on the ball defensively and everything was outstanding on that end," Gunter added.


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