From LSU Sports
BATON ROUGE – Two days into the month of October, a new-look LSU women's basketball team took the floor on Tuesday as second-year head coach Nikki Caldwell put the Lady Tigers through their first official practice of the season in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The two-hour practice featured up-tempo drills and was the first college practice for three true freshmen – Danielle Ballard, Kuaneshia "Coco" Baker and Derreyal Youngblood. NCAA legislation adopted in 2010 allows schools to begin women's basketball practice 40 days prior to the start of the regular season.
Caldwell was pleased with the leadership and intensity she saw on the first day.
"All in all, I was very pleased with the first day of practice," said Caldwell. "It was exciting being back out there again. We definitely have a lot of work in front of us. We are going to keep going at it and be ready for that first game."
Caldwell and her staff began the day with practice planning. A behind the scenes exclusive video of the meeting, pre-practice routines and a look at the practice can be viewed on www.LSUsports.net.
The Lady Tigers had two true freshmen running the point guard position, including Baker and Ballard. That gives junior guard Jeanne Kenney a chance to play at shooting guard.
"I do feel we can get a lot from Jeanne Kenney this year as we move her off the basketball," said Caldwell. "Coco (Kuaneshia) Baker and Danielle Ballard have done a good job stepping into the point position. We are asking our first-year players to really step up and help lead this team. "At the end of practice, there was a little adversity there and you saw Jeanne step her game up. I feel like she will able to pull an Adrienne Webb and help her step her game up. She's someone who can show the way for our two rookie newcomers at the guard spot."
LSU lost five seniors from its 2012 NCAA Tournament team, including All-SEC forward LaSondra Barrett, but Caldwell expects to get considerable contributions from Theresa Plaisance and Sheila Boykin.
"We lost our go-to player in LaSondra Barrett, but we are asking Theresa Plaisance to pick her up," said Caldwell. "We are asking Shanece McKinney to be that scoring threat on the low block for us. Sheila Boykin is going to be that player that is always in the right place at the right time. She really came on for us in the later part of the season and she helped us get as far as we did."
The Lady Tigers officially open the season on Nov. 11 against Wichita State at 2 p.m. in the Maravich Center. Season tickets for the 2012-13 season go on sale Wednesday, Oct. 10 on www.LSUtix.net.
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