Women's Hoops Looks for Perfect Week vs. Alabama

by Matt Dunaway
Women's Hoops Looks for Perfect Week vs. Alabama

BATON ROUGE – The LSU women’s basketball team will look for its third win over a seven-day span and its fourth straight victory overall as the Lady Tigers play host to Alabama for a Sunday matinee at the Maravich Center.

Tipoff is slated for 4:05 p.m., and the game will be televised by the SEC Network. The SEC Network telecast also will be available on www.WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app. Sam Gore and Steffi Sorensen will serve as the announcing team.

The LSU Sports Radio Network will carry the game on its flagship station Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. The radio broadcast featuring Patrick Wright, the voice of the Lady Tigers, also will be available for Geaux Zone subscribers at www.LSUsports.net/live.

Tickets for Sunday’s game are on-sale at www.LSUtix.net starting as low as $2 for general admission for groups of 10 or more. The Maravich Center Box Office opens at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. The first 1,000 fans will receive mini-basketballs. It’s also Local Heroes Day where the public will have the opportunity to meet local servicemen and women in the Baton Rouge community starting at 2:30 p.m. at the Maravich Center Pad area.

LSU (13-9, 7-3 SEC), winners of five of its last six games, sit in a third place with Mississippi State entering Sunday’s action in the SEC standings. The Lady Tigers are coming off a 60-49 victory at Auburn and are holding their opponents to 51.7 points per game over their three-game winning streak.

Alabama (12-12, 1-8 SEC) returns to action after its midweek bye. The Crimson Tide has dropped three consecutive games, most recently a 53-42 decision against Arkansas. Ashley Williams has posted a team-leading 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Hannah Cook serves as Alabama’s three-point specialist with 38 of her 73 field goals coming from three-point territory. She has registered 9.2 points per game.

LSU has won 17 of the last 18 meetings against the Crimson Tide dating back to the 2002-03 season en route to a 36-17 series advantage. The Lady Tigers knocked out Alabama from last year’s SEC Tournament four days later after the Crimson Tide won the regular season meeting in Tuscaloosa.

“I see an Alabama team that has an opportunity to really be explosive in the open court,” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “They have really strong guard play. They have an ability to run the basketball at you. They do a nice job of running the drag screen and their transition game is really tough to defend. We are going to have to work our transition defense because they are explosive in that aspect. I also see a team that can get after you on the glass. They do a nice job with several different players getting on the offensive glass for them. Rebounding is going to be a key to tomorrow’s game as well.”

Danielle Ballard has come away with 14.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 3.3 assists per game. Her 14.1 points and 3.3 assists are sixth, while her 3.4 steals hold the top spot in the SEC rankings. Ballard has pieced together double figures in six consecutive games where she has upped her average to 17.5 points per game. 

Raigyne Moncrief has turned in 11.4 points coupled with a team-leading 6.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while starting 21 of LSU’s 22 games. She has boosted her scoring mark to 14.2 points per game over her last six appearances. The Ballard-Moncrief combo has scored all 24 points for the Lady Tigers over the last four minutes of LSU’s last two wins.

DaShawn Harden has posted 10.7 points and 2.2 steals per game. Her 2.2 steals are fourth on the SEC leaderboard, and she has buried 1.4 triples per game which is 13th in the SEC rankings. Rina Hill has held the starting point guard duties during LSU’s last 11 games. She has averaged 6.5 points per game over her last four games. 

LSU’s post play has been fueled by Sheila Boykin and Anne Pedersen. Boykin has secured 7.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. She tallied eight points and nine rebounds at Auburn last time out. Pedersen has notched 7.8 points per game on 11-of-28 from the floor over her last four appearances. She reached double digits for the fifth time with an 11-point effort during the Auburn game.

Jenna Deemer has added 6.6 points per game and knocked down 21 of her 37 field goals during her last 13 games from three-point territory. Akilah Bethel has picked up 5.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. She has come off the bench during LSU’s last nine games.

“A lot of our wins have come because we’ve started believing in one another,” Caldwell said. “We started to play together like a team. We’ve done a nice job of setting the tone through our defensive effort, and we want to continue to do that. We want to make sure that we are disrupting our opponents whether it’s through our full court pressure or our halfcourt defense. I like the fact that we have been able to switch up what we want to do defensively whether we are running a zone, a man or a full court man to try to turn you over or delay and disrupt you. The play of (Danielle) Ballard and (Raigyne) Moncrief has been key for us down the stretch in the last set of games. They’ve done a really nice job of just really being that tandem that we can go to when we need baskets.”

For all of the latest news and information on the Lady Tiger basketball, visit www.LSUsports.net/womensbasketball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/LSUwbkb, @LSUwbkb and @NikkiCaldwell on Twitter, @LSUwbkb and @LSUNikki Caldwell on Instagram.