8:00 PM ET, December 28, 2005
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Despite being the focus of Michigan State's defense, Seimone Augustus still scored 20 points for LSU in a matchup of two of last year's Final Four teams.However, Augustus needed help from teammates Scholanda Hoston and Sylvia Fowles to boost the third-ranked Lady Tigers to their 72-52 victory against the Spartans (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) on Wednesday night."We did what we always do against that defense," Augustus said. "We were a little stagnant at first. Once we started moving and screening, it opened a lot of opportunities for Scholanda to get some 3's and Sylvia to get some touches."Augustus shot 8-for-14 from the field. Fowles, who equaled her career-high with 17 rebounds, was 7-of-12. Hoston scored a season-high 19 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead the Lady Tigers (9-0)."It feels good to finally have a game like this," said Hoston, who had scored more than eight points in two of LSU's first eight games. "It's been a while coming. It was good to get that out of the way."Fowles, who had her fifth double double of the season, was dominant in the second half when the Lady Tigers took control of the game. She had eight rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals during the final 20 minutes."(LSU) Coach (Pokey Chatman) challenged me in the locker room at halftime to get as many boards as possible," Fowles said. "I just picked up my energy in the second half."Victoria Lucas-Perry matched a season-high with 15 points for Michigan State (8-3). Liz Shimek had 10 points, 12 below her season average."LSU did a great job," Michigan State coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "We took care of their zone pretty easily, but then they played a lot of man and did a good job with it. I'm not pleased with our team's toughness. We really need to be strong on the court. It was a good lesson for us, but not at all the kind of basketball we play."Holding a 35-29 halftime lead, the Lady Tigers quickly padded their advantage in the first five minutes of the second half. Hoston made a basket and a pair of 3-pointers as LSU outscored Michigan State 15-4, though Augustus did not score during those first five minutes."Seimone was still a factor," Chatman said. "She was active. She continued to move and shoot the gaps. So much attention is given to her that it enables the other players to score."The Lady Tigers made all six of their field goals during that stretch, which ended on a basket by Fowles. The Spartans turned the ball over five times while falling behind by 17 points. Michigan State couldn't get closer than 11 the rest of the game.LSU's largest lead came when Quianna Chaney made a foul shot to put the Lady Tigers ahead 68-46 with slightly more than 4 minutes left.An 18-5 run in the late stages of the first half enabled LSU to take a six-point advantage into the break. Consecutive baskets by Shimek, Lindsay Bowen and Aisha Jefferson gave Michigan State a 21-17 lead with 9:48 remaining in the first half.The Lady Tigers went ahead by one point after Fowles made a free throw and a field goal and Hoston made a basket.With LSU ahead 22-21, Augustus scored nine of the Lady Tigers' next 13 points on a 3-pointer, two field goals and two foul shots. The surge gave LSU its largest lead of the first half at 35-26 with 23 seconds left.The Spartans closed the period on a 3-pointer by Perry.
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