LSU women roll past NC State 81-73

Bill Martin
LSU women's head basketball coach Nikki Caldwell and the team celebrate the program's 800th victory. Photo by

Junior forward Theresa Plaisance poured in a career-high 28 points - the most by an LSU player in nearly three years - and the Lady Tigers used an impressive offensive display to run past NC State 81-73 yesterday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

LSU (4-2) won its third straight game and shot 49.2 percent from the floor in doing so. The Lady Tigers converted 25 turnovers into 30 points in what was an up-tempo game from start to finish.

NC State (5-4) dropped its third consecutive game in the first meeting between the two teams. The Wolfpack was led in scoring by Marissa Kastanek, who finished with 15 points.

Plaisance put on a clinic, accounting for 11-of-17 makes from the floor, while grabbing seven rebounds and three steals. She had 21 points in the first half, representing the first 20-point half by an LSU player in two years.

"Theresa has accepted the responsibility of being a go-to player for us," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "Offensively, she's about as skilled as they come. I like Theresa being aggressive for us right out the gate because it does allow our guards to have a little bit more leeway because now she brings double teams. Anytime she is on the floor, you've got to guard her."

Plaisance's 28-point output was the highest by an LSU player since Allison Hightower scored 29 at Auburn on Feb. 14, 2010. It was the third 20-point game of the season for Plaisance, who has combined for 48 points in the last two contests.

Freshman Danielle Ballard, the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week, contributed 16 points and drained two threes. Senior guard Adrienne Webb notched double-figures for the fourth consecutive game with 15 points.

The Lady Tigers took a 47-38 lead into halftime in a dramatic final 11 seconds. Bianca Lutley converted a layup. Ballard then collected a steal at the NCSU free throw, drove the length of the floor and fired in a three from the top of the key as the horn sounded.

"I'm thankful that she made that shot, but more so I felt like it gave us some momentum going into the second half," said Caldwell. "She did a great job of getting herself in position to score the basketball."

LSU continued the pace out of the locker room, going on a 9-0 run highlighted by seven points from Webb, including a three at the 17:09 mark. The Lady Tigers held their largest advantage following a Ballard layup that made it 61-42 with 15:22 to go.

NC State stayed alive with the three-point shot, burying nine for the game and outshooting the Lady Tigers with a 52 percent effort. Krystal Barrett's three with five seconds left accounted for the final margin 81-73.

Prior to the game, Caldwell recognized all LSU fans and former players, coaches and support staff for playing part in a significant milestone in the program's history. Last week, the Lady Tigers became just the fourth SEC team in history to win 800 all-time games.

LSU players will take final exams this week before hosting Tulane at 2 p.m. on Sunday in the Maravich Center.