LSU DEFEATS EAST TENNESSEE STATE, 76-42
BATON ROUGE -- The LSU women’s basketball team built a double-digit lead four minutes in and surrendered a season-low 42 points as Nikki Caldwell won her 100th game as a head coach in a 76-42 Lady Tiger blowout of East Tennessee State on Thursday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Caldwell, who won 72 games at UCLA and now 28 games early in her second season at LSU, stressed all week to the team about not coming out flat on both ends of the floor following a tough loss to Tulane last Sunday. The Lady Tigers (5-3) showed no signs of that defeat lingering as every player who saw action scored and contributed in some fashion.
“I’m very thankful for one, my coaching staff, who has been with me the entire way, then all the great players that I’ve been able to coach that have helped those wins,” said Caldwell. “I just really hope that there more milestones that we reach here at LSU. Winning a national championship is the ultimate goal, and it’s something that you strive for. It’s great to have that 100th win, but there are also a lot more victories out there to be had.”
Theresa Plaisance led the way with a game-high 16 points, seven rebounds, six blocks and two steals. Plaisance, who blocked eight shots against the Green Wave, now has a combined 14 blocks in the last two games.
Caldwell started a new lineup on Thursday without the services of senior guard Adrienne Webb, who was recovering from a head injury she sustained in the Tulane game. Anne Pedersen made her first career start and delivered seven points in 29 minutes. Shanece McKinney started for the first time this season and scored eight points to go along with a career-best nine rebounds.
Freshman Derreyal “Tank” Youngblood made her biggest contribution of the season, coming off the bench for 13 points and five rebounds. Fellow freshman Danielle Ballard reached double-figures for the fifth consecutive game with 11 points.
Ballard set the tone for LSU offensively, dishing out a season-best six assists. Senior Bianca Lutley contributed a career-high eight assists as the Lady Tigers racked up 34 field goals on a season-high 24 assists.
LSU shot a blistering 53.1 percent from the floor and clamped down on the Lady Bucs defensively, holding them to 26.6 percent shooting, including a stretch of eight minutes without a field goal.
Pedersen gave the Lady Tigers their first double-digit lead of the night with a three at the 15:48 mark in the first half that made it 15-6. LSU finished the first stanza on a 7-0 run and took a comfortable 40-19 advantage into the locker room.
“I think for the most part we came out with an agenda,” said Caldwell. “We wanted to play a certain way. We established that early on in the game. Our defensive effort was a lot better. I thought we did a much better job once we settled in in our closeouts.”
The spurt continued with eight unanswered points to start the second half. ETSU finally ended the drought on a mid-range jumper with 16:23 left in the game. Youngblood got in on the scoring barrage with five straight points late in the game.
LSU out-rebounded the Lady Bucs, 44-39, and dominated points in the paint, 40-20.
ETSU played without its leading scorer Destiny Mitchell. Mitchell suffered a concussion in practice earlier this week. She made the trip but did not dress.
Shawn Randall led the Lady Bucs with 13 points.