Tigers' Fowles notches 8th double-double

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Auburn coach Nell Fortner had a simple request.

"Can I borrow one of your post players?" Fortner asked LSU coach Pokey Chatman.

Ideally, she would like freshman Sylvia Fowles.

Fowles had her eighth double-double Sunday, finishing with 13 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in LSU's 57-52 win over Auburn.

"We did some things well enough in the second half to win the game," Fortner said. "But we could not deal with Sylvia Fowles."

Fowles spent the game battling under the boards with Auburn center Marita Payne in a matchup of two of the top defensive teams in the Southeastern Conference.

"She is a horse," Payne said. "She is really strong. I was trying to box her out. I'm going to have to work on my boxing out tomorrow."

The Lady Tigers (No. 1 ESPN/USA Today, No. 2 AP) outscored Auburn 26-8 in the paint and held a 44-39 rebounding edge.

With the victory, LSU (19-1, 6-0), the only Division I team in the nation with just one loss, moved a half-game ahead of Tennessee (14-3, 5-0) in the SEC.

LSU owns the top defense in the SEC and ranks sixth in the nation. The Lady Tigers allow an average of just 51.4 points and are holding opponents to just 34.6 percent shooting.

Auburn (10-9, 1-5) made a late run at LSU, cutting a nine-point deficit to three with one second left when Natasha Brackett's 3-pointer dropped to make it 55-52. Temeka Johnson hit two free throws to give LSU its final margin.

Seimone Augustus scored 24 points for LSU and Johnson added 10.

"Their defense was very aggressive," Augustus said. "But I think we executed pretty well. We got a lot of nice looks and just didn't knock it down."

Brackett led Auburn with 23 points.

"It was great defense all night," Brackett said. "I didn't have an open look all night and my teammates didn't either."

Payne, the NCAA's top shot blocker, had 11 rebounds and eight blocks, raising her season total to 93.

"For me it was a challenge going up against a big person like her," Fowles said. "Knowing she was 6-6 and can block shots, and I'm 6-6 and I block some shots."

LSU used an 11-1 run to finish the first half and take a 27-17 lead. It was LSU's second-lowest half of the season.

"I didn't think we were emotionally ready," Chatman said. "To me, we lacked energy in our execution. I say that because we had our best week of practice and it did not translate into the type of play it should. But I understand the role Auburn played in that."

In the second half, the Lady Tigers didn't score until Fowles hit a jumper almost four minutes in.

It was the lowest-scoring victory of the season for LSU, which shot 20-of-60 while Auburn went 19-of-57.

"I felt like if we could keep them in the 50s we could win," Fortner said.