LSU women lose to Tulane in overtime

Bill Martin
LSU's Theresa Plaisance. Photo by LSUsports.net.

Whitney Bibbins scored 13 points, including two game-clinching free throws with 10 seconds left, as Tulane rallied from a seven-point deficit in regulation and stunned LSU in overtime by a score of 66-64 yesterday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The Lady Tigers (4-3) dropped their third consecutive game to Tulane, who improved to 7-1 on the year with its only loss coming to Auburn. In what has become a highly-contested rivalry, the two teams have played overtime in three out of the last four meetings. Like last season, Tulane recovered from a deficit - twice on Sunday - and stopped LSU's December win streak at 14 games.

"We talked about it being a battle on the boards and having the effort and mentality to finish off plays, and I felt like Tulane did a much, much better job trying to finish off their plays on the offensive end by getting second and third opportunities," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell.

Theresa Plaisance led LSU with 24 points, 11 rebounds and a career-best eight blocks. The eight blocks registered as the second-most in school history - one shy of the school record - and the most by an LSU player since Dee Dee Franklin swatted eight shots against Purdue on March 19, 1989.

Plaisance finished with her second double-double of the season, and she reached the 20-point mark for the third straight game becoming the first to do that since Allison Hightower. She missed the final 1:38 of the overtime period after fouling out, and it proved to be costly.

"Theresa has been a solid player for us down the stretch," said Caldwell. "Not having her in the game could obviously have a different outcome. But I like that Theresa is playing more aggressive and trying to challenge shots and getting eight blocks in one game."

Plaisance gave the Lady Tigers a 60-55 advantage after burying two free throws with 3:14 remaining in overtime. The teams traded baskets, but Janique Kautsky answered with an uncontested lay-up. Plaisance then picked up her fifth foul, and Jamie Kaplan knotted the game at 62 apiece with a three from the top of the key.

Jeanne Kenney missed a jumper on the other end, while Tiffany Dale capitalized and gave the Green Wave the lead on a lay-up on an offensive rebound - one of 23 by Tulane on the day - with 0:47 left to go. Bibbins, a Baton Rouge native, culminated a 9-0 Green Wave run in the final 2:36 with the two made free throws.

With Tulane leading 66-62, Adrienne Webb's three bounced off the rim, and Bianca Lutley's desperation layup was too late. It was the second comeback of the day for Tulane, who trailed 49-42 with 6:19 remaining in regulation. The Green Wave, however, crashed the offensive boards and made some clutch shots.

Kautsky's three at the 2:15 mark sliced the deficit to 50-47, and Dale cut it to 52-51 on a lay-in with 1:06 to go. Brittany McDonald tied the game at 53 apiece with one of two free throws with 0:18 left.

LSU got two chances to win it in the final seconds in regulation. Lutley's jumper was blocked out of bounds, and then she missed a shot from the free throw line on an inbounds play as time expired.

LSU was dominated on the boards by Tulane 53-46 while committing 27 turnovers that led to 14 points. Both teams shot below 40 percent.

Freshman Danielle Ballard finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. Lutley added 13 points and six boards.

The Lady Tigers continue their homestand against East Tennessee State at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Maravich Center.