Lady Tigers Preview Final Week of Regular Season

by Matt Dunaway
The Nikki Caldwell Show - Week 13 +0
Lady Tigers Preview Final Week of Regular Season

BATON ROUGE – LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Caldwell along with Sheila Boykin and DaShawn Harden met with the media on Tuesday to preview the final week of the regular season as the Lady Tigers face off against Ole Miss and No. 12 Texas A&M.

LSU (15-11, 9-5 SEC) can move as high as the No. 3 seed for next week’s SEC Tournament with a pair of victories. The Lady Tigers have won five of their last seven, seven of their last 10 games and hold sole possession of fifth place in the SEC standings entering this week’s action.

Thursday’s tip time is slated for 6 p.m. from Tad Smith Coliseum. The game will be carried online only through the digital platform of SEC Network Plus courtesy of www.WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.

The LSU Sports Radio Network will carry the game on its flagship station Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge and inside the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live. Patrick Wright, the voice of the Lady Tigers, will call the action.

For all of the latest news and information on 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 @LSUNikkiCaldwell on Instagram.

LSU Women’s Basketball Media Session
February 24, 2015

HEAD COACH NIKKI CALDWELL

Opening statement …
“The season is winding down. We are looking forward to celebrating Senior Day on Sunday against Texas A&M, but this team has a bigger challenge in front of them on Thursday night versus a very excited and explosive Ole Miss team who just came off a great victory over Kentucky. Again, that tells you the competitive nature of this conference and how on any given day, teams can be upset. On any given night, players can just play unbelievable because we have some of the best players in the country in our conference. We’ve got to make sure that we go into the Ole Miss game with complete focus on executing our game plan and making sure that we don’t have another offensive night like we had against Arkansas on Sunday.”

On the challenge in playing a team a second time …
“We have to make sure that our team stays in the moment. We can’t go back and relive the game that we played last month because Ole Miss is a different basketball team and so are we. We’ve got to focus in on the things that we do well and execute our game plan both on the offensive and defensive end but also understand that there is going to be a lot of emotions being that it is Senior Night for Ole Miss. (Tia) Faleru has done an amazing job. She’s the heart of the team. We know that she is a player that is competitive, and we are going to have to match her intensity. We are going to have to be able to make and create our own energy against a team that is coming into the game fully energized, especially with the emotions of it being Senior Night and the emotions of coming off a great win against Kentucky.”

On Thursday’s game plan …
“We have to make sure that we are taking great shots and that we are putting our players in the position to score the basketball. Paint points are going to be a focus for us because we want to score there. We also have got to knock down the midrange jump shots. We did a nice job the last time we played them, because our defensive effort was very good. We have to make sure that we are taking that same type of mentality on the road that we play with here at home. We need to have a great attitude towards defending and rebounding the basketball because Ole Miss does a very good job of getting all over the defensive glass. They get out in the passing lanes, they are aggressive with their man-to-man, and they want to turn you over so taking care of the basketball also is going to be keys for us.”

On LSU’s Senior Day emotions for Sunday’s game against Texas A&M …
“They both have different roads that they have traveled to get here. DaShawn, being a transfer, knew her time with us was only going to be for two years. It’s here, and it’s towards the end of the season. Sheila Boykin, taking the chance when we first signed her to UCLA, she took a chance on me. She said ‘I’m going to come with you to LSU, coach’. To see how she’s had such an unbelievable senior year, especially with her suffering from Guillain-Barre Syndrome. I look at those two, and I just say job well done. You two have been an instrumental piece to the puzzle to moving our program back to that high level of national prominence. Those two have definitely left their impact.”

On the relationship with Sheila Boykin
“Each year, your relationship with your players gets better and better. It’s just like with any relationship, it just continues to grow. Sheila is someone that I have a tremendous amount of respect for because of her fight and who she is as a person. She’s very smart and one of my players that I can ask to do the dirty work. I can ask her to stand in there and take charges. Most nights, she’s undersized but her fight and her effort to just defend and battle with players who are three or four inches taller than her. It’s pretty amazing to watch that. Knowing that Sheila will never be 100 percent, but she gives me 100 percent of what she has. I just have the utmost respect for her.”

On the mindset for Thursday’s game …
“It is a game of who wants it more. We say that all the time in the locker room. Did you play like you wanted it more than your opponent? We know what is at stake. We know that the seeding in the SEC Tournament is at stake for us. Our body of work in the SEC, when you are already at nine wins, that is something that we are very proud of because this is such a competitive conference. Year in and year out, this conference should get eight teams in the NCAA Tournament. I’ve said this, you challenge your team to go on the road and compete at a high level, but everyone on the road is competitive. It’s no easy trip to go to Starkville. It’s not easy going to Lexington. It’s not easy going to Missouri, to Nashville to play Vanderbilt. Those are tough road games. Although, in our conference, you’ve got teams that their conference record does not reflect that. There are teams who have been in those games and have been right there. It has been two or three possessions that have turned the tide in the other teams favor. Again, that’s just another example of competitive the SEC is.”