Hightower Scores Career High in Win at Tech
RUSTON, La. — LSU preseason All-American guard Allison Hightower poured in a career-high 32 points ? 25 in the first half ? and the seventh-ranked LSU women’s basketball team held off a last-second shot attempt from Louisiana Tech to remain unbeaten by a score of 77-74 on Wednesday night in front of 4,244 fans at Thomas Assembly Center.
LSU improved to 6-0 for the first time since winning the first 14 games of the 2005-06 season. The Lady Tigers also defeated a Louisiana opponent for the 31st straight time. LSU has not lost to an in-state opponent since 1999.
“This was a tremendous team win for this basketball team,” LSU head coach Van Chancellor said. “They scored 46 points on us in the second half and nobody has done that in quite awhile against us. (Shanavia) Dowdell had 26 points for them, and she was outstanding. Allison Hightower played like an All-American today. That first half was as good as I’ve seen her.”
Louisiana Tech (3-1) suffered its first loss of the season and its fifth straight to LSU. The Lady Techsters last win against the Lady Tigers was in the 1999 NCAA Tournament.
Hightower finished 10-of-23 from the field and added 9-of-14 from the free throw line in 40 minutes of action. She eclipsed her previous career high of 26 points in last year’s NCAA Tournament first round win over Green Bay.
Hightower’s 32 points were the most by an LSU player since Seimone Augustus dropped 35 points at Florida on Feb. 16, 2006. Her 25 points in the first half were the most by an LSU player in a half since Elaine Powell had 27 points in a half at SMU on Jan. 10, 1996.
“I just felt good shooting the ball,” Hightower said. “My teammates found me open. It was one of those nights where almost everything went in. The game was intense the whole 40 minutes.”
With LSU leading 77-74, Louisiana Tech’s Adrienne Johnson missed a potential game-tying 3-point attempt as time expired. LSU held a 61-50 lead with 8:49 to play after Hightower made a layup, but the Lady Techsters battled back over the next seven minutes to pull within one point.
For the second straight game, LSU survived a comeback from an in-state school. The Lady Tigers committed a season-high 22 turnovers, and Louisiana Tech shot a blistering 58.6 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes to stay within striking distance.
Shanavia Dowdell, who finished with 26 points, made it a 71-68 contest on a drive through the lane with 2:18 remaining. Johnson made two free throws after an LSU turnover with 1:41 on the clock, but Katherine Graham answered for the Lady Tigers with a layup that put LSU back up by three.
Jasmine Bendolph cut the deficit again to one, 73-72, with 0:54 seconds left. Turnbow drained two free throws on the other end as the teams once again traded scores. Latear Eason had two free throws after a critical rebound from Barrett to push the lead to three again for LSU before Johnson’s jumper misfired as time expired.
LSU led 43-28 at the half after putting together a 12-2 run in the final 3:05. Hightower heaved a 32-footer as the shot clock expired with 0:48 left in the first half. Barrett culminated the run when she fired in a 3-pointer of her own on LSU’s final possession.
The Lady Tigers finished the game 50 percent (26-of-52) from the floor after shooting 57.1 percent (16-of-28) in the first half.
LSU returns to action on Dec. 13 at home against New Orleans. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST in the Maravich Center. The game will be televised live by CST.