LSU women's basketball prepares for trip to Spain

Bill Martin
LSU's Danielle Ballard. Photo by

The LSU women's basketball team, coming off its first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance since 2008, is going through the first of eight practices as they prepare for a collegiate exhibition tour of Spain later this month.

NCAA guidelines allow teams to take foreign trips once every four years and go through no more than 10 practices prior to that trip. LSU will depart for Barcelona on Sunday, Aug. 11 and spend 11 days in Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante and Madrid. The Lady Tigers will play four exhibition games during the tour, including two against Spanish collegiate teams and two against the Netherlands National Team.

"This is a great opportunity for our team to get experience before the season starts," said third-year LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "It's also a chance for us to bond as a team and evaluate personnel. We want to build on what we accomplished last year. I think this team is hungry to prove it will. We are excited about the opportunity to go overseas as a team and represent LSU."

Caldwell welcomes back four starters from last year's squad that went 22-12 and eliminated No. 8 Penn State to advance to the Sweet 16. Headlining the list is senior forward Theresa Plaisance, who enters her final year as a National Player of the Year and All-America candidate. Plaisance led the Southeastern Conference in scoring last season with 17.0 points per game.

LSU's assist leader returns in senior guard Jeanne Kenney as does senior center Shanece McKinney and last year's freshman All-American guard Danielle Ballard. Ballard led the SEC and shattered the school record in steals with 100 in 2012-13.

Three freshmen will be making the trip to Spain, including Rina Hill, Jasmine Rhodes and Raigyne Moncrief. The three will go through their first collegiate practice on Friday. Hill, a native of Japan, comes to LSU by way of IMG Academy in Florida. Rhodes, a 5-foot-10 guard, led Faith Academy to an Alabama Class 5A state championship in the spring. Moncrief arrives at LSU as one of the top guard prospects in the country and ranked the No. 18 overall player in the nation for the Class of 2013 by