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LSU strong-arms Michigan State in 72-52 victory

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.