DULUTH, Ga. – Shanece McKinney and Danielle Ballard each scored 18 points and Theresa Plaisance recorded a double-double as the LSU Lady Tigers snapped out of a nightmarish six-game losing streak Thursday with a 78-65 victory over Alabama in second round of the SEC Tournament.
No. 10-seeded LSU, winning for the first time in exactly one month, improved to 19-11. The Lady Tigers advanced to face No. 2-seeded Tennessee at 5 p.m. CST Friday in the SEC quarterfinals.
No. 7 Alabama, which beat LSU 78-60 in Tuscaloosa on Sunday to close out the regular season, finished 14-16 in its first season under Louisiana native and former Louisiana Tech assistant Kristy Curry.
Running and sinking shots at a pace rarely seen in their recent outings, the Lady Tigers built a 25-point lead midway through the second half after leading 34-27 at halftime.
Alabama cut the deficit to 10 at one point but LSU pulled away at the free throw line.
McKinney also had a career-high 10 rebounds to go with her 18 points on 8 of 9 shooting and recorded four of LSU’s eight blocks.
Jeanne Kenney had 16 points while Plaisance, LSU’s All-SEC forward, had 12 points and 12 rebounds for her 16th career double-double.
LSU split with Tennessee in the regular season. The Lady Tigers won 80-77 on Jan. 2 in Knoxville and lost 72-67 to the Lady Volunteers at home. LSU rallied in that game from a 21-point halftime deficit to tie the score 59-59 with 3½ minutes left before Tennessee hit a couple of clutch baskets for the win.
The victory over Alabama likely erased any doubts of LSU’s NCAA tournament hopes. The Lady Tigers still possess the nation’s No. 12 RPI and No. 1-ranked strength of schedule.
LSU will host first- and second-round NCAA Tournament games March 23 and 25 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.