LSU women upset No. 9 Georgia

Bill Martin
LSU's Theresa Plaisance goes in for a lay-in. Photo by LSUsports.net.

Facing its third top-15 ranked team in seven days, LSU found itself in a familiar situation with the game on the line. The Lady Tigers, after suffering a heartbreaking defeat to No. 12 Tennessee in the final seconds on Thursday, would not be denied in the final minutes on Sunday.

Southeastern Conference Player of the Year candidate Theresa Plaisance led a trio of double-figures with 13 points, and the LSU women's basketball team converted 9-of-12 free throws in the final two minutes to knock off No. 9 Georgia 62-54 in the "Pink Game" to benefit breast cancer awareness on Sunday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

"I'm very proud of this team, especially after the loss on Thursday," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "We could have wallowed in the fact that we let that one go. But they came back today with a lot of courage and a lot of character. Their work ethic on the defensive end was impeccable. I thought we did a very good job of disrupting a very good offensive team in Georgia. They pretty much executed and tried to do anything we asked of them."

The win concluded a grueling week for LSU (14-10, 5-6 SEC), which had to host three ranked SEC teams in a row for the first time in school history. The Lady Tigers were masterful at the free throw line, burying 17-of-23 for the game for 73.9 percent, including a career-high 6-of-8 from Jeanne Kenney.

Georgia (20-4, 8-3) saw a four-game winning streak come to an end and dropped its seventh consecutive game in Baton Rouge. During all seven of those defeats, the Lady Bulldogs have been ranked in the top 25. Their last victory in the Maravich Center was 12 years ago on Jan. 14, 2001.

LSU used one of its most balanced scoring performances of the season. Kenney added 11 points and five assists, while Adrienne Webb fired in 12 points and nailed two threes. Webb moved into a tie for fifth place with Katrina Hibbert in LSU's all-time made threes with 153.

The Lady Tigers also got dynamic contributions from their bench. Shanece McKinney scored six points and grabbed eight points, while freshman Derreyal Youngblood had seven points. Freshman Danielle Ballard, though she struggled from the floor, managed to collect a career-best 15 rebounds, representing the highest total by an LSU player in an SEC contest this season.

Unlike the Texas A&M and Tennessee games, the Lady Tigers stole the momentum early and took a 31-25 lead into halftime. Georgia's Jasmine Hassell tied the game at 38 all with 13:53 to go, and Jasmine James' lay-up in transition gave the Lady Bulldogs the lead.

Plaisance then went to work, hitting a baseline jumper on an inbounds pass from Kenney. Ballard provided a nifty scoop and score, and Plaisance made two free throws to increase LSU's advantage to 44-40 with 10:42 to play. Hassell, who finished with a game-high 18 points, drew Georgia within one on a second-chance lay-up with 3:23 on the clock.

That's when LSU did what it does best - getting to the free throw line. Webb confidently made two free throws, and Kenney found Plaisance for another jumper. Defensively, the Lady Tigers shut down Georgia, which allowed a 7-0 run. Kenney drained 5-of-7 free throws in the final 1:04, and the Lady Bulldogs managed only one field goal in the final 1:45.

"We got better, and that's the process and just remembering it's not a sprint but a marathon," said Kenney. "Right now, we finished the marathon, and I thought we did a great job of capitalizing on the good that we did against Tennessee even though we came out with the loss. We are getting there."

LSU held Georgia to 30.1 percent shooting, its second-lowest output of the season, while collecting nine steals. The Lady Tigers also dominated the boards in the second half, finishing 53-45 for the game and 30-16 in the final 20 minutes.

At halftime, LSU paid tribute to breast cancer survivors at midcourt. They received a standing ovation from the Maravich Center faithful. The Lady Tigers improved to 6-0 all-time in the Maravich Center when wearing the infamous pink uniforms. Three of those victories have now come against Georgia.

LSU will now recuperate and prepare for its next opponent at Mississippi State at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net Southwest.