BATON ROUGE – The 20th-ranked LSU women's basketball team held Georgetown to 24.2 percent shooting and senior forward LaSondra Barrett scored 11 points as the Lady Tigers out-muscled the Hoyas in the home opener, 51-40, in front of 4,599 fans on Wednesday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU improved to 2-0 under Nikki Caldwell, who was coaching in her first home game as head coach of the Lady Tigers. Georgetown (1-2) dropped its second straight contest and fell to 0-2 all-time against LSU. The two were meeting for the first time since 1983, which was Sue Gunter's second season as head coach.
"This definitely isn't a game where I would say come watch for the offense," said Caldwell. "Both teams played extremely hard. Georgetown is traditionally a defensive minded team, so we knew they were going to get at us and try to disrupt us. I'm proud of our group for coming back in the second half, maintaining their composure and finishing this game out the way they needed to."
The victory was the highest non-conference home win for LSU since the Lady Tigers knocked off No. 5 Ohio State, 75-51, on Dec. 10, 2006.
Senior point guard Destini Hughes chipped in 10 points and was an efficient 2-of-2 from three-point range and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Barrett added eight boards and four steals. Senior forward Courtney Jones scored eight points, grabbed eight rebounds and swatted two shots.
For the second straight game, LSU overcame turnovers with toughness and poise down the stretch. The Lady Tigers committed 23 turnovers for the game and shot 2-of-12 from three-point land, but LSU's defense suffocated the Hoyas, who were just 3-of-23 from beyond the arc.
"Even though the turnovers aren't an indicator of it, we played better tonight collectively as a group than we played Monday night," said Caldwell. "This team has a lot of room for growth which is great. I'm glad that we are tested early so they can see where we stack up and we can also see where we can improve."
Georgetown All-America candidate Sugar Rodgers managed a 4-of-20 effort from the floor and finished with 10 points.
With the score tied at 18 apiece in the first half, LSU finished the stanza with the final four points. Destini Hughes sank two free throws with six seconds left. Jeanne Kenney then picked off a pass and Barrett converted a lay-up as the horn sounded to give the Lady Tigers a 26-21 advantage into the locker room.
LSU increased the lead to 32-26 five minutes into the second half when Hughes nailed a three from the top of the key. Despite the momentum, Georgetown mounted a quick 6-0 run and tied the game on Tia Magee's lay-up with 13:58 remaining in the game. It would be the final field goal for the Hoyas for the next 10 minutes.
Kenney fired a brilliant pass in transition to Taylor Turnbow for a lay-up and LSU led by as many as six points until the Hoyas finally broke the dry spell on Rodgers jump shot with 3:29 left in the game. LSU still led 41-37.
The Lady Tigers iced the game at the free throw line, draining eight free throws in the final 3:17. Barrett accounted for the final margin with two made shots from the line with 38 seconds left.
Georgetown shot just 7-of-28 for 25 percent in the second half. The Hoyas out-rebounded LSU 49-42, but the Lady Tigers netted 13 second-chance points.
LSU travels to face in-state rival Tulane at 7 p.m. Saturday in New Orleans. The game will be carried on the LSU Sports Radio Network on 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge and to members of the Geaux Zone on www.LSUsports.net/live.