LSU Lady Tigers
| MESSAGE BOARD
RECORD: 27 - 8
REGION: West SEED: 4
COACH: Pokey Chatman CONFERENCE: SEC
Road to the Final Four ...................................................................................
In the preseason, we knew LSU's inside game was suspect after graduating some key posts. Five months later, the question mark still exists, and lacking a true post presence was the one thing that hurt LSU in the SEC. Nobody really stepped up and assumed that dominant role in the paint. Fortunately, LSU counters with some of the best guards in the country. Doneeka Hodges is a fiery 3-point threat and Seimone Augustus is the nation's next great player. For as successful as Hodges and Augustus are, however, you have to credit point guard Temeka Johnson, a wonderful leader. Johnson's dribble penetration gets her teammates a lot of open looks.
|PLAYER TO WATCH|
Already touted as the heir apparent to Diana Taurasi and Alana Beard, Augustus is one of the best underclassmen in the nation and was recently honored as USA Basketball's Female Athlete of the Year. The silky smooth 6-foot-1 sophomore guard led LSU in scoring in 18 games this season, and averaged 18.4 points and 6.1 rebounds while shooting 51.4 percent from the field in the regular season. Augustus -- who already has topped the 1,000-point plateau at LSU -- was even better in SEC action, ranking third in scoring (20.4 points), 11th in rebounding, sixth in field-goal percentage and 10th in steals. Augustus has scored at least 17 points in 14 of the last 15 games, and she's lethal at the free-throw line, where she sank a school-record 42 consecutive foul shots earlier this season and shoots 90.6 percent.
ANALYSIS BY ESPN'S STACEY DALES-SCHUMAN
It might have taken some wind out of the Lady Tigers' sails when Hall of Fame head coach Sue Gunter was forced to take a medical leave during the month of February. Having developed acute bronchitis on top of an existing lung problem, Gunter has stepped aside while long-time Tiger and former All-American Dana "Pokey" Chatman has filled her shoes.
Though this is another team loaded with athleticism, LSU, like others, has seen some fluctuant play this season, and that might be attributed to chemistry. Any change in the lineup, whether coaches or players, can subconsciously alter the entire mind set of a club. But the Lady Tigers should rest assured because if anyone could take over the head coaching responsibilities effectively, it's Chatman, a former point guard and 12-year aid to Gunter.
LSU has explosive guards gilded by sophomore Seimone Augustus, who averages a smooth 18 points on the season. Augustus has the natural offensive skills that many young players only dream of one day acquiring through hard work and dedication.
Interestingly enough, two guards -- Augustus and senior shooter Doneeka Hodges -- each pull down six rebounds.
Temeka Johnson is a fun player to watch and certainly one of the best point guards in the country. Johnson flat out zings the ball efficiently and creatively for an average of eight assists each game -- that's good enough to rank among the top five leaders nationally.
LSU is a perimeter-oriented squad. Since losing power paint players such as Aiysha Smith to graduation and having to welcome back post players like sophomore Wendlyn Jones, who is returning from early-season injury, the team's main area of production has come from its guards, whether rebounding or scoring. With that said, LSU takes excellent care of the basketball, throwing it away just 13 times a game while handing off a generous 17 assists.
LSU shoots extremely well from the field. The Lady Tigers don't take a lot of 3-pointers, but rather prefer to up their chances by scoring near the hoop. They, in fact, led the SEC and are ranked nationally, shooting 47 percent from the field.
Having traveled to the Elite Eight last season, the Lady Tigers are another team with enough experience to challenge.