From LSU Sports
BATON ROUGE -- The LSU women's basketball team overcame an 11-point deficit midway through the second-half with a 14-2 run as the Lady Tigers claimed their fourth consecutive victory with an 82-75 come-from-behind win over McNeese State on Friday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU (8-3) tied a school record with 34 made free throws, equaling the mark that the Lady Tigers made in an upset of top-seeded Kentucky in last year's Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinal on March 3. LSU attempted 47 free throws for the game, representing the second-most attempts in school history and the most since a school-record 50 on Feb. 5, 1996.
The Cowgirls (4-5) dropped their third consecutive contest, but nearly escaped with a victory on Friday after building a 56-45 advantage with 10:41 remaining in regulation. McNeese buried six threes and out-rebounded LSU, 49-44, including 28 boards on the offensive end.
"I thought in the second half we did a much better job at establishing paint points," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "Our guards did a much better job of trying to penetrate and get lay-ups. Besides making free throws, the next thing you need to make are lay-ups. When we started doing that, our offense started clicking."
LSU's Theresa Plaisance, the SEC's leading scorer, was held to five points in the first half before erupting for 16 in the second stanza while using her size to get to the free throw line. Plaisance buried a career-best 13-of-19 from the free throw line to finish with 21 points, while grabbing 14 rebounds for her third double-double of the season.
Plaisance's 13 makes tied for third-most in LSU history, while her 19 attempts also tied for third-most in school single-game annals. She added four blocks on the day.
"Theresa Plaisance rushed a little bit in the first half," said Caldwell. "Her teammates did a much better job of getting her the basketball on the reversal. She also nailed her free throws. She has been big for us on the boards. She has also been a solid and consistent player."
Freshman Danielle Ballard notched 21 points for the second consecutive game, while making 9-of-10 from the free throw line to go along with four steals. Adrienne Webb scored 16 points, while Bianca Lutley had some clutch baskets late in an 11-point game.
LSU trailed 39-32 at halftime to the defending Southland Conference champions from Lake Charles. McNeese's perimeter presence forced LSU to run five guards in man-to-man defense during the second half. The Lady Tigers eventually used their quickness and size to get back into the game.
Facing its largest deficit of the contest, Webb fired in a short jumper, while Ballard picked off a pass and found Coco Baker for a lay-up to cut the deficit to 56-51 with 9:43 remaining. Plaisance made her way back into the game and was much more aggressive on the offensive end.
She contributed six unanswered points as LSU turned a three-point deficit into a 65-62 lead with 4:26 to play. Jeanne Kenney found Plaisance for a lay-up that made it a one-point game and she followed with four consecutive free throws as the Lady Tigers continued to work inside.
McNeese's duo of Ashlyn and Caitlyn Baggett refused to go away. Caitlyn's two free throws with 2:49 remaining sliced the LSU lead to four. It became a one-possession game with 0:47 left following Ashlyn's long-range three.
However, Ballard and Plaisance sealed the game at the line for LSU with their physical play. The two combined for six makes at the line in the final 44 seconds as the Lady Tigers survived.
Ashlyn Baggett and Alaina Verdin finished with 15 points apiece to lead the Cowgirls.
LSU closed a six-game homestand and will break for the Christmas holiday. The Lady Tigers return to practice on the evening of Dec. 26 before traveling to Fort Myers, Fla., on Dec. 27 in preparation for a Dec. 28 contest at Florida Gulf Coast. Tipoff is 6 p.m. CT and it will be carried on the LSU Sports Radio Network.