The #3 seeded Penn State Lady Lions (26-5, 14-2 B1G) continue their march through the madness tonight against the #6 LSU Lady Tigers (21-11, 10-6 SEC). This is the second consecutive year the Lady Lions have faced the Lady Tigers in the second round of the tournament, and the second time the game will be played on LSU’s home turf in Baton Rogue, LA. The game tips off at 9:45pm and can be seen regionally on ESPN2 and worldwide on ESPN3.
The Last Time Out
Penn State rode junior guard Maggie Lucas (19 points, 4 assists, 4 steals) and a strong second half (47 points) to defeat the Cal Poly Mustangs 85-55. Senior Nikki Green (11 pts, 8 rebounds) helped to slow down Cal Poly star Molly Schlember. After scoring the teams first 10 points in less than eight minutes of play, Schlember was held to 14 over the remaining 32 minutes. The Lady Lions benfitted from a balanced scoring attack to support Lucas; Mia Nickson (13 points), Alex Bentley (18), and the aforementioned Green all contributed double digits.
About the LSU Lady Tigers
In the first round, LSU faced a tough Green Bay team and escaped with a 75-71 victory. Although their strength is in the post position, the Lady Tigers hit a season best 9-14 three point attemps. They are 14-3 at home this season, and made its case for the NCAA tournament board by beating three top-15 teams: Georgia, Kentucky, and Texas. They are lead by junior forward Theresa Plaisance, the SEC’s leading scorer at 17.3 points per game. She also leads the team in blocks and rebounds, and has 31 consecutive double-doubles. Plaisance is supported by guard Adrianna Webb (14.2 ppg), forward Biance Lutley (10.2 ppg), and Danielle Ballard (12.3 ppg). Ballard was voted to the SEC All-Freshman team, and was award SEC Freshman of the Week five times on her way to lead the SEC in steals.
Coach Nikki Caldwell, a national champion with Tennessee in her playing days, has lead LSU to their second consecutive tournament appearance after missing the Big Dance the year prior to her arrival. She has her team believing in their “Eight is Enough” motto; since they were forced to go with an eight person roster, the Lady Tigers at 6-1.
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Head Coach Nikki Caldwell (@NikkiCaldwell)
Theresa Plaisance (@tplai55)
Penn State coach Coquese Washington played against coach Caldwell three times during their collegiate career, and now its the second conseuctive season they are faced against each other. Last year, Penn State won 90-80 behind 30 points from Maggie Lucas. Nikki Greene, who set the school record for consecutive starts, needs to play another big game to help limit Plaisance’s scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots. Foul trouble for either team could be a huge factor: LSU’s “Eight is Enough” roster doesn’t provide much depth, but Penn State only has six players with more than 181 minutes logged this season.
The home crowd will be a factor as coach Caldwell has increased home attendance by over 1,500 students in her second season with the Lady Tigers. Penn State is going to rely on Lucas and Bentley to provide the offensive firepower. This game has upset written all over it, but I think the Lady Lions will hold on and advance to the Sweet 16.
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