Lady Lions NCAA Tournament Preview: LSU
The Penn State women’s basketball team will continue their NCAA Tournament run with a second round match-up against LSU tonight. The No. 4 seed Lady Lions and the No. 5 seed Lady Tigers will meet at 9:40 p.m., with the game airing on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.
The Lady Lions (25-6) advanced to the second round with an 85-77 win over No. 13 UTEP. Penn State has won 14 of its last 16 games, but it will face a tough test against LSU. While the Lady Lions will technically be the home team as the higher seed, the game is being played in Baton Rouge, La., which is the home of LSU.
LSU earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after a 22-10 regular season, as the Lady Tigers advanced to the SEC Tournament final where they lost to Tennessee. After squeaking out a 64-56 opening round win over No. 12 San Diego State, LSU will hope to use their home crowd advantage to knock off the higher seeded Penn State. LSU went 12-3 at home this season.
The Lady Tigers are led by forward LaSondra Barrett, who returned from a concussion to post a double-double against San Diego State. Barrett averaged 12.5 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game this season. Against the Aztecs, Barrett shot 18 free throws, so Penn State’s Nikki Greene and Mia Nickson both need to play smart games in order to stay out of foul trouble.
As is the case in most of the Lady Lions’ games, they will want to play at a high tempo. Penn State averages about 14 more points per game than LSU, but LSU’s stingy defense allows just 53 points per game. If Alex Bentley makes the right decisions and Maggie Lucas is able to get good looks, the Lady Lions should be able to score at too high a pace for the Lady Tigers to keep up with.
If this game was on a neutral court, Penn State would easily be favored against LSU. However, with the Lady Tigers playing in front of a home crowd, the playing field is evened. The Lady Lions will have to perform at their best in order to advance to the Sweet 16. If they can do that, they will advance to face top-seeded Connecticut next weekend.