LSU women shock No. 5 Tennessee

Matt Dunaway
LSU's Danielle Ballard. Photo by LSUsports.net.

Danielle Ballard poured in 25 points to equal a career-high and was one of four players to secure double figures as the No. 16 LSU women's basketball team opened SEC action with a thrilling 80-77 victory over No. 5 Tennessee Monday in-front of 14,437 fans at Thompson-Boling Arena.

LSU (11-2, 1-0 SEC) snapped a seven-game losing skid to the Lady Vols (11-2, 0-1 SEC), which dated back to the 2008-09 season. It was the Lady Tigers' third win in 22 attempts in Knoxville and the program's first road win over a Top 5 opponent since a 78-62 victory over then-No. 1 Tennessee on Feb. 14, 2008. LSU also handed the Lady Vols their first defeat in a SEC opener since the 1996-97 campaign, which ended a run of 16 consecutive wins.

The 80 points amassed by the Lady Tigers was a season-high for a Tennessee opponent. The last time LSU reached the 80-point mark versus the Lady Vols was an 81-80 win during the 2002 SEC Tournament semifinals in Nashville, Tenn.

Ballard ripped off 17 of her 25 points during the first half. She was effective and efficient driving the lane as eight of her career-high 11 field goals came off layups. The 25 points tied a career-high for the Memphis, Tenn. native, which she set last season at West Virginia. She also provided eight rebounds, four assists and four steals over her 34 minutes of action.

DaShawn Harden tacked on 17 points off the bench highlighted by a quartet of three-pointers. It was Harden's highest scoring output since the opening weekend of the season. She compiled all 17 of LSU's bench points.

Theresa Plaisance registered nine of her 15 points in the second half before she fouled out with just over two minutes left in the game, while Jeanne Kenney turned in 14 points aided by a flawless 7-for-7 effort at the foul line and dished out five assists.

Shanece McKinney put together a strong all-around effort with six points, five rebounds and tied a season's best with three blocks.

Playing with foul trouble for a majority of the contest, Raigyne Moncrief was bottled up for a season-low three points. However, the freshman guard buried two clutch free throws, which included the front end of a 1-and-1 with 12 seconds on the clock to give LSU its winning three-point margin.

Tennessee was led by Isabelle Harrison's 26 points and 10 rebounds. Meighan Simmons, the SEC Preseason Player of the Year, was shutout in the second half after she garnered 15 points during the opening 20 minutes. Ariel Massengale came away with 10 points and 12 assists for the Lady Vols.