Lady Tigers arrive in Spokane for Sweet 16

From LSU Sports:

SPOKANE, Wash. – A day after one of the most thrilling victories in school history that sent the LSU women's basketball team to its first Sweet 16 since 2008, the Lady Tigers boarded a charter flight and flew four hours to Spokane, Wash., on Thursday evening to begin preparations for their regional semifinal opponent, the No. 2 seed and sixth-ranked California Golden Bears.

After finishing off No. 3 seed Penn State, 71-66 in a game that ended close to 11 p.m. CT, head coach Nikki Caldwell gave the team a day off from practice on Wednesday. The Lady Tigers, school officials and the LSU band and cheerleaders took a charter flight from Baton Rouge and arrived in Spokane at approximately 9 p.m. Pacific time.

With their team hotel just a few miles from the arena, LSU spent Thursday morning watching a film session on Cal in what will be the first meeting between the two teams since a 65-56 Lady Tiger win on Dec. 17, 1982 in the Giusti Tournament in Portland, Ore. On Thursday afternoon, LSU was scheduled to go through a two-hour practice at McCarthy Arena on the campus of Gonzaga.

"They are a very experienced team," said Caldwell, who was 6-1 against the Golden Bears at UCLA. "They are a team that has been playing together for a long time. They have a balanced attack. When you look at their ability to score the basketball, they have inside-out play. They do a tremendous job of getting on the boards. They are out-rebounding their opponents by plus-11. That's going to be a challenge for us and we've got to make sure and answer that challenge."

Junior guard Jeanne Kenney, who missed the Penn State contest after suffering a head injury in the first round, was cleared to fly with the team and she did make the trip. She is day-to-day in her recovery.

"It's going to be day-to-day and we're going to take all the necessary precautions to make sure she recovers 100 percent," said Caldwell. "Everyone is going to wishful and hopeful that Jeanne is able to return to us."

Junior forward Theresa Plaisance said the team was not just satisfied with making the Sweet 16 and that they have bigger aspirations.

"We are going to do our best to keep this going," she said. "We have a special group of seniors. The heart of this team is bigger than anyone can measure."

LSU will take a streak of seven straight regional semifinal victories into Saturday night's contest, which tips at 10:32 p.m. CT live on ESPN2 and The Lady Tigers are back on the national stage thanks in large part to senior guard Adrienne Webb, who poured in a career-high 29 points in her final career home game.

"The program is going in the right direction," said Webb. "Our heart is as big as those teams who are ranked No. 1. It all comes down to heart and effort. Coach (Caldwell) has total confidence in us. She always gives us a game plan that is top notch. She puts us in a position to succeed."

Friday will be LSU's official NCAA practice day at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Caldwell, Plaisance and Webb will meet with members of the local and national media at 3:45 p.m. local time followed by interviews with ESPN. Dave Pasch, Debbie Antonelli and LaChina Robinson will call the game.

LSU will be the last team to take the floor in practice on Friday, doing so from 4:30-6 p.m. local time. The Lady Tigers will follow Cal and familiar Southeastern Conference opponent Georgia, who is staying a block away from LSU.