All posts by Scott Rabalais

Scott Rabalais is a sports columnist and sports writer for The Advocate. A Baton Rouge native, he began working at the paper in 1991 and has covered LSU athletics since 1992.

LSU’s Raigyne Moncrief being evaluated for Tuesday; Youngblood suspended indefinitely

LSU guard Raigyne Moncrief will undergo a medical evaluation Monday afternoon to determine whether she will be available to play for the Lady Tigers in Tuesday’s second-round NCAA Tournament game against West Virginia.

Moncrief injured her left knee Sunday with 15:45 left in LSU’s 98-78 first-round win over Georgia Tech as she attempted to drive to the basket. She had to be helped to the locker room.

Moncrief injured her right knee in February and was making her first start since Feb. 20.

Junior Danielle Harden, who started five straight games in Moncrief’s absence, will likely start against West Virginia (8:30 p.m., ESPN2). The winner advances to the regional semifinals Sunday in Louisville, Ky.

Harden scored 17 points off the bench and made all three of her 3-point attempts.

LSU coach Nikki Caldwell expressed optimism that Moncrief will be cleared to play. The freshman from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is averaging 10.1 points per game, third on the team.

Meanwhile, Caldwell announced sophomore center Derreyal Youngblood is suspended for the NCAA Tournament. Caldwell said the suspension was for a violation of team rules but did not elaborate.

Youngblood did not play against Georgia Tech and wasn’t seen on the team bench.

The Harvey native has been suspended previously this season and hasn’t played since LSU’s regular-season finale March 2 at Alabama. She is averaging 1.2 points and 1.4 rebounds in 21 games.

LSU Lady Tigers snap 6-game losing streak with 78-65 SEC tourney win over Alabama

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.

LSU Lady Tigers No. 10 seed in SEC tourney, to face Bama in rematch

LSU will be the No. 10 seed in this week’s SEC women’s basketball tournament and will turn around and play No. 7-seeded Alabama.

Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. CT at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. The winner plays Tennessee in Friday’s quarterfinals, also at 5 p.m. CT.

LSU (18-11, 7-9 SEC) fell 78-60 at Alabama on Sunday to end the regular season with six straight losses and their seventh defeat in their last eight games. Alabama is 14-15 and 7-9.

LSU and Alabama wound up in a five-way tie for sixth place with Vanderbilt, Georgia and Auburn in the final SEC standings. LSU dropped to the 10th seed because it was only 1-3 against the other teams it was tied with having only beaten Auburn.

Here are the final SEC standings and seedings:

1. South Carolina (26-3, 14-2) – Friday in quarterfinals vs.

2. Tennessee (24-5, 13-3) – Friday in quarterfinals vs.

3. Texas A&M (23-7, 13-3) – Friday in quarterfinals vs.

4. Kentucky (22-7, 10-6) – Friday in quarterfinals vs.

5. Florida (18-11, 8-8) – Thursday in second round vs.

6. Auburn (16-13, 7-9) – Thursday in second round vs.

7. Alabama (14-15, 7-9) – Thursday in second round vs. LSU, 5 p.m. CT

8. Vanderbilt (18-11, 7-9) – Thursday in second round vs. Georgia

9. Georgia (19-10, 7-9) – Thursday in second round vs. Vanderbilt

10. LSU (18-11, 7-9) – Thursday in second round vs. Alabama, 5 p.m. CT

11. Arkansas (19-10, 6-10) – Wednesday in first round vs. Ole Miss

12. Missouri (17-12, 6-10) – Wednesday in first round vs. Miss. State

13. Miss. State (18-12, 5-11) – Wednesday in first round vs. Missouri

14. Ole Miss (11-19, 2-14) – Wednesday in first round vs. Arkansas

LSU Lady Tigers’ massive rally comes up short vs. Tennessee, 72-67

A massive second-half comeback by the LSU Lady Tigers came up short against archrival Tennessee on Thursday night, as LSU fell by a score of 72-67.

LSU trailed by 21 points, 42-21, at halftime, but rallied to force a tie at 59-59 with 3:28 left.

But No. 10-ranked Tennessee answered led by 31 points from Meighan Simmons, who hit a huge 3-pointer to put her team up 68-63 with 56 seconds left.

The loss was LSU’s fifth straight and sixth in their last seven games, the program’s longest losing streak since dropping six in a row during the 1994-95 season. LSU is now 18-10 overall and 7-8 in the SEC.

Tennessee improved to 23-5 and 12-3.

Seniors Jeanne Kenney and Theresa Plaisance, playing their final regular-season home games, led LSU with 21 and 20 points, respectively. Fellow senior Shanece McKinney had four points.

LSU wraps up the regular season Sunday at Alabama then heads to Duluth, Ga., next week for the SEC tournament. Despite its recent losing streak, the Lady Tigers will likely play in the NCAA tournament at home when they host first- and second-round games March 23 and 25.


Despite losses, ESPN’s Creme says LSU Lady Tigers will play in NCAA

The LSU Lady Tigers would still be in the NCAA tournament even if they lose their remaining SEC games and in the first round of next week’s SEC tournament, ESPN women’s bracketologist Charlie Crème said Thursday.

“If they go 0-3 they’d still be in the tournament, but they would possibly play themselves into an ugly looking seed,” Crème said.

LSU, 18-9 overall and 7-7 in SEC play entering Thursday night’s game with Tennessee, has lost four straight and five of six, the program’s worst skid in 19 years.

Despite the recent losses, LSU’s RPI remains high at No. 9 because of its No. 1-ranked strength of schedule. That and LSU’s recent record are things the NCAA selection committee may have to reconcile, Crème said.

“LSU is a very intriguing case,” he said. “I’m shocked their RPI is still that high, but numerically their schedule is the best. But the losses are starting to pile up and that’s tough to swallow.”

In his most recent bracket projection released Monday, Crème has LSU as a No. 7 seed in the Louisville regional. The Lady Tigers would get to play their first two NCAA rounds at home, assuming they win their NCAA opener, but he has LSU going against No. 2-seeded Louisville in the second round.

If LSU continues to lose, Crème said the Lady Tigers could drop to a No. 8 or 9 seed. But that would force the NCAA selection committee into the unpleasant position of sending a No. 1 regional seed, likely Notre Dame or possibly Stanford, for a potential second-round game with LSU on its home floor.

“For a No. 1 seed to go play at LSU, that’s tough,” Crème said.

If LSU could turn its fortunes around and finish the regular season with wins over Tennessee and Sunday at Alabama, then win at least one game in next week’s SEC tournament, Crème said the Lady Tigers could rebound to a No. 5 seed.

“This four-game losing streak isn’t going to look as awful if they turn around and win a bunch of games in a row,” he said.

Tip off between LSU and Tennessee is set for 8 p.m. at the PeteMaravichAssemblyCenter. The game will be televised on CSS and, and can be heard on WBRP-FM 107.3 and in the Geaux Zone at

Shanece McKinney represents LSU on SEC Community Service Team

Senior Shanece McKinney, right, is LSU's SEC Community Service Team representative.

Senior Shanece McKinney, right, is LSU’s SEC Community Service Team representative.

LSU center Shanece McKinney was named Wednesday to the 16th annual Southeastern Conference Community Service Team for women’s basketball.

McKinney, a senior sports administration major from Mobile, Ala., has participated in numerous community service projects including close to 200 hours alone for the current school year. She also serves as women’s basketball representative on LSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

McKinney’s community service projects include the United Way Day Action, Juneteenth, basketball clinics, Special Olympics and the Halloween BOOzar at LSU.

McKinney played a major role in the team’s participation in Thanksgiving with the Tigers. During the event each LSU athletic team adopts an underprivileged child for the holidays and welcomes the child along with his or her family to campus for a Thanksgiving-style meal served by the student-athletes and games, activities, and gift exchanges.

McKinney has participated in a semester long commitment to the Big Buddy program where she volunteered at a local elementary school’s PE classes to mentor with youth.

LSU wraps up its regular season home schedule at 8 p.m. Thursday against No. 10-ranked Tennessee. The game will be televised on CSS and, and can be heard on WBRP-FM 107.3 and in the Geaux Zone at

2013-14 SEC Women’s Basketball Community Service Team

Shanece McKinney, LSU

Joey Bailey, Arkansas

Jaterra Bonds, Florida

Cierra Burdick, Tennessee

Marjorie Butler, Georgia

Lianna Doty, Missouri

Kastine Evans, Kentucky

Candance Foster, Mississippi State

Gracie Frizzell, Ole Miss

Nikki Hegstetter, Alabama

Elem Ibiam, South Carolina

Jordan Jones, Texas A&M

Jasmine Lister, Vanderbilt

Tyrese Tanner, Auburn

SEC tourney app now available














The Southeastern Conference has released a mobile app that features information on both the men’s and women’s conference tournaments.

The app is available for free for iPhone and Android through the Apple App Store and Google Play. Search “SEC Basketball Tournaments” to find the download.

The app includes sections on SEC Fanfare activities and other events surrounding the tournaments, a social media section and even trivia games.

The SEC women’s tournament will be March 5-9 in suburban Atlanta at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. The men’s tournament will be March 12-16 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

LSU Lady Tigers turn back Missouri, 75-58

Theresa Plaisance had 20 points and Jeanne Kenney 19 as the No. 16-ranked LSU Lady Tigers defeated Missouri 75-58 Thursday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

LSU improved to 18-5 overall and 7-3 in Southeastern Conference play. The Lady Tigers took over sole possession of fourth place in the conference, a half-game in front of idle Vanderbilt.

After a turnover-plagued 63-56 loss Sunday at Kentucky, LSU made a point of emphasis in practice to cut down on turnovers and come out with a fast start against Missouri (14-9, 3-7 SEC).

LSU led from the early going, pulling out to a 19-9 lead at the 10:26 mark of the first half with a 7-0 run capped by a pair of free throws from DaShawn Harden.

LSU led by as many as 13 in the first half and was up 38-31 at the break, its first halftime lead since being up 42-40 six games earlier at Missouri. And LSU had just two turnovers on its stat sheet, far off the pace for a team averaging 17.5 turnovers per game.

LSU finished with 10 turnovers in all.

A big reason for the LSU lead was senior guard Jeanne Kenney.

LSU’s only trouble in the first half was in the foul department, as Theresa Plaisance, Shanece McKinney and Raigyne Moncrief sat long stretches with two fouls apiece.

Kenney, who poured in a career-high 30 points Jan. 16 in LSU’s 87-68 win at Missouri, finished the half with 11 points on 3 of 5 3-point shooting.

LSU used a 14-0 run midway through the second half to take a 60-40 lead with 10:09 left on a three-point play by Moncrief. Missouri answered with a 12-0 run to make it 60-52 on a banked in jumper by Jordan Frericks with 6:36 remaining.

But LSU broke the Mizzou run with a basket by Plaisance on a feed from Kenney and led by double digits after that. The Lady Tigers finished the game 19 of 20 from the free-throw line while Mizzou was 11 of 18.

Plaisance finished with 20 points while Moncrief had 15 before fouling out with a 1:25 remaining. Missouri’s Bri Kulas led all scorers with 23 points.

The game was Missouri’s first at LSU since joining the SEC and first overall in Baton Rouge since 1988.

LSU returns to action Sunday at Texas A&M, a 52-48 winner over the Lady Tigers at the PMAC on Jan. 9.

Latest on LSU Lady Tigers in rankings, projections

LSU guard Raigyne Moncrief had 19 points in Sunday's 63-56 loss at Kentucky.

LSU guard Raigyne Moncrief had 19 points in Sunday’s 63-56 loss at Kentucky.

















A 1-1 week in the rugged Southeastern Conference did little to impact the LSU Lady Tigers’ standing with the various polls and projections around women’s basketball.

LSU is now 17-5 overall, 6-3 in SEC play after a 65-56 home win Thursday over Mississippi State and a 63-56 road loss Sunday at Kentucky. The Lady Tigers are now tied for fourth in the SEC, two games back of South Carolina (20-2, 8-1) which plays Feb. 16 at LSU.

The Lady Tigers slipped two spots to No. 16 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25, but remained No. 5 in the latest RPI rankings from the NCAA and the website, still the highest of any SEC team. also continues to rank LSU’s schedule as the nation’s toughest.

In his latest Bracketology projections, ESPN women’s basketball analyst Charlie Creme bumped the Lady Tigers up one spot to a No. 4 seed in the Lincoln Regional despite the loss at Kentucky. Last week, Creme had LSU as a No. 5 seed in the Stanford Regional.

LSU will once again host NCAA tournament first- and second-round games at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, March 23 and 25. Unlike in the men’s tournament, if a women’s team is selected for NCAA play and has been designated as a host site that team will get to play on its home floor.

LSU returns home this week to play at 7 p.m. Thursday against Missouri.

LSU beat Mizzou 87-68 in Columbia, Mo., on Jan. 16. Missouri (14-8, 3-6) has lost three of four since then and five of six overall, including a 78-62 loss Sunday at South Carolina. It’s a win the Lady Tigers can and should secure if they are to maintain hopes of contending for the SEC regular-season championship.

LSU Lady Tigers playing nation’s toughest schedule, per website

Tell the LSU Lady Tigers something they don’t already know.

Friday, the website ranked LSU’s schedule as the nation’s toughest. It was ranked No. 2 earlier this week before the Lady Tigers rallied from five points down at halftime to beat Mississippi State 65-56 on Thursday night.

LSU, ranked No. 14 in the major polls but No. 5 in RPI according to and, is 17-4 overall and 6-2 in Southeastern Conference play at the midway point.

The second half of LSU’s schedule promises to be even more daunting.

Here is LSU’s remaining SEC schedule:

  • Sunday, 11 a.m.: at No. 13 Kentucky (16-5, 4-4 SEC)
  • Thursday: Missouri (14-7, 3-5)
  • Feb. 9: at No. 17 Texas A&M (17-5, 7-1)
  • Feb. 16: No. 7 South Carolina (19-2, 7-1)
  • Feb. 20: at Georgia (15-6, 3-5)
  • Feb. 23: Arkansas (15-6, 2-6)
  • Feb. 27: No. 10 Tennessee (17-4, 6-2)
  • March 2: at Alabama (10-11, 3-5)

To date, LSU has played three ranked teams: the Lady Tigers lost 88-67 at No. 5 Louisville on Nov. 14, they won 80-77 at No. 5 Tennessee on Jan. 2 and they lost 79-70 at No. 24 Vanderbilt on Jan. 19.

Vandy is now ranked No. 16 while North Carolina State, which beat LSU 89-79 in Raleigh on Dec. 20, is No. 18.

The rugged strength of schedule bodes well for LSU’s chances to make a third straight NCAA tournament appearance in three seasons under coach Nikki Caldwell and earn a high seed (LSU will again host NCAA first- and second-round games at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in March).

But the Lady Tigers are also in prime contention for the SEC regular-season championship, tied for third with Tennessee a game back of A&M and South Carolina.

For LSU to stay in contention, and earn one of the coveted top four seeds that bring with them double byes in the SEC tournament (March 5-9 in Duluth, Ga.), the Lady Tigers need to keep winning against arguably their toughest competition.