Sylvia Fowles Becomes Sixth Women's Player to Dunk
BATON ROUGE — With 9:29 to play in the first half against Louisiana-Lafayette, LSU All-American center Sylvia Fowles stole the ball at the top of the key, drove the length of the court and threw down a one-handed dunk to the delight of the Maravich Center crowd.
Leading 18-4, Fowles did what only six players in women’s college basketball history.
“When I saw that I had the steal, I saw someone coming up behind me and I knew I had to get my feet right then. I stutter stepped went up and it just happened,” Fowles said about her historic moment. “It felt good to hear the crowd go wild, but it felt especially good to hear my teammates. I know (my teammates) have been waiting for this for a long time. I saw Seimone (Augustus) and Temeka (Johnson) earlier in the stands and it’s also something I owed them. I promised them that. Just to please them and my teammates makes me happy.”
Georganne Wells of West Virginia was the first woman to dunk in an NCAA game in December 1984, North Carolina’s Charlotte Smith, Houston’s Sancho Lyttle, and Tennessee’s Michelle Snow and Candace Parker have also dunked in a women’s NCAA game.
“All I’ve ever been asked is when will Big Syl dunk,” LSU head coach Van Chancellor said. “Tonight, I quit having to answer that question. What I liked about it was that it was not a cheap dunk. It was not everyone clear out the way. She stole the ball and next she dunked it.”
No. 6 LSU (4-1) used a 17-0 first-half run to break a 4-4 tie and bust the game open shortly after the dunk, rebounding from their first loss of the season to take a 72-37 victory.
“This was a great win for us tonight,” Chancellor said. “We needed this after not playing so well the game before. I thought tonight before Thanksgiving it would be a let down, but one reason we did not have a let down is because of the crowd. Our crowd was here and there was no way that our players could not play well.”
The Lady Tigers shot only 41.3 percent (26 of 63) from the field, but scored 33 points off turnovers in the easy win.
UL-Lafayette fell to 1-3 on the season after shooting 28.3 percent from the field (13 of 46) and committing 26 turnovers.
Fowles, a 6-6 senior from Miami, finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds. After the history moment on a fast break, she rushed back down the court to play defense. On a dead ball shortly after, she ran back to celebrate with her teammates and briefly came out of the game to receive a standing ovation.
She added three blocked shots and three steals to her memorable stat sheet.
Though the Lady Tigers struggled from the perimeter again — making only 3-of-18 three pointers — they were able to make up for it with 34 points in the paint.
ULL guard Whitney Dunlap led her team with 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting, but committed a game-high seven turnovers. Forward Sonora Edwards added 10 points on 4-of-11 from the field.
Behind a 17-0 run, LSU led the Ragin’ Cajuns 35-16 at the half.
The final margin was the largest lead of the game.
The Lady Tigers hit the road for a seven-game swing that begins Sunday at No. 7 Rutgers. LSU will tip off against the Scarlet Knights at 1:30 p.m. CST on ESPN2.
Sylvia Fowles became the first woman in LSU history to dunk the ball in a game when she put it down one-handed from the right side of the lane with 9:29 left in the first half. With her dunk, Fowles became the six women’s player in NCAA history to dunk in a game. Georganne Wells of West Virginia was the first woman to dunk in an NCAA game in December 1984, North Carolina’s Charlotte Smith, Houston’s Sancho Lyttle and Tennessee’s Michelle Snow and Candace Parker have also dunked in a women’s NCAA game.
Fowles recorded her 65th double double of her career with 21 points and 12 rebounds tonight. Her 65th double double ties her with Florida’s Murriel Page for fourth-place on the SEC’s career double double’s list.
Fowles scored in double figures for the 95th time in her career and grabbed double digit rebounds for the 69th time. Her 21 points tonight also marks her 30th 20-plus point game.
Erica White reached double figures in scoring for the 19th time in her career with her 11 points tonight.
Allison Hightower reached double figures in points with 10 tonight, marking her eighth double figure scoring game of her career.
VAN CHANCELLOR QUOTES
“This was a great win for us tonight. We needed this after not playing so well the game before. I have spoken all over the state, since I’ve been here. I’ve spoken to 10 alumni groups all over this city. All I’ve ever been asked is when will Big Syl dunk. Tonight, I quit having to answer that question. Come to the next game and you will see it. What I liked about it was that it was not a cheap dunk. It was not everyone clear out the way. She stole the ball and next she dunked it. Everyone else played really well tonight. I thought by far this was Erica’s (White) best game of the year. She did so many great things. Stealing the ball and carrying it to the basket. I thought Katherine Graham, Mesha Williams and Allison Hightower played extremely well.”
On the dunk…
“What I think Fowles will have to do for us to win is want to be more competitive. We need to find another rebounder. We need to be more consistent on outside shooting and we need Fowles to be more competitive and dominate a game. I said it before; I thought she (Fowles) is too sweet of a person. We have been talking to her about dunking the ball that it would be good for her and the crowd. When she caught the ball I thought Dunlap was going to foul her. I don’t think she ( Dunlap) thought Fowles was going to dunk it. I hope it changes her mentality. It seemed to change her persona tonight.”
“I would not worry about stats tonight. Overall, we need to have more rebounders. I think one thing we do is allow Fowles to get too many rebounds. Someone else needs to decide to get the rebounds too. I think out wing players are running outside and getting back too fast. I think we will have to do a better job against Rutgers.”
On the team coming off a lost…
“I think it’s really nice to be between two really big games. I thought tonight before Thanksgiving it would be a let down. I think one reason we did not have a let down is because of the crowd. I thought we would not have enough people. Our crowd was here and there was no way that our players could not play well.”
On the importance of getting Fowles over the rim…
“Make her aggressive. Stop letting her be “miss nice guy”. Quit being so nice and laying back. I started to get her (Fowles) to post-up enough and start begging for the ball.”
LSU PLAYER QUOTES
Center Sylvia Fowles
On when she made up her mind to dunk…
“When I saw that I had the steal, I saw someone coming up behind me and I knew I had to get my feet right then. I stutter stepped went up and it just happened.”
On the reaction to her dunk…
“It felt good to hear the crowd go wild, but it felt especially good to hear my teammates. I know (my teammates) have been waiting for this for a long time. I saw Seimone (Augustus) and Temeka (Johnson) earlier in the stands and it’s also something I owed them. I promised them that. Just to please them and my teammates makes me happy.”
On being the fifth woman in collegiate basketball to dunk…
“It feels great. I’m pretty sure it will happen more often now that I’ve gotten one.”
Guard Erica White
On their performance tonight…
“I am definitely excited about the way we played. The important thing was to come out tonight with a lot of energy, enthusiasm and to execute to the best of our abilities. We did get a little sloppy, we could’ve done without some of the turnovers we had. Overall we played well and attacked the basket well.”
LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE COACH ERROL ROGERS QUOTES
“First of all, we hit a very good team today. We did what we wanted to do in the first half, which was make them shoot from the outside, but Coach Chancellor did a great job making some adjustments in the second half. They’re the No. 5 team in the country. You’re going to run into problems.”
On attacking the basket in the second half…
“When you’re playing a big kid like Sylvia Fowles, sometimes you get nervous and don’t attack the rim like you should. They caused some mistakes.”
On a tough night offensively…
“They do a good job defensively in man-to-man, especially when you run a motion offense like they do and practice against it everyday. When you play somebody else, you can get a decent look. They did a great job. Right now, we don’t have confidence. I’m trying to change a lot of things with the team. I’m trying to get them to do certain things, but right now, they’re just not understanding. You can’t have 26 turnovers. The only positive is we outrebounded them by two.”
On Fowles’ dunk…
“I think it’s great for women’s college basketball. I’m glad for LSU. I’m sorry to be a part of it, but hey, that’s life.”