Johnson, Augustus prove too potent for Stetson

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- LSU finally won on Rocky Top.

After going 0-16 against Tennessee and 0-2 in Southeastern Conference tournament games, the Lady Tigers began justifying their top seed overall in the NCAA Tournament here with a 70-36 victory over 16th-seeded Stetson.

Temeka Johnson scored 15 points and Seimone Augustus added 14 for LSU.

"I don't feel like I'm in Knoxville, I feel like I'm in the NCAA Tournament," LSU coach Pokey Chapman said. "I'll take the win."

LSU (30-2) grabbed the top seed despite losing to Tennessee 67-65 in the Southeastern Conference championship game two weeks ago in Greenville, S.C. The Lady Tigers play No. 9 Arizona in the second round of the Chattanooga regional on Tuesday.

LSU, which has now won eight consecutive first-round tournament games and has 30 wins for the second consecutive season, used its speed, height and athleticism to stifle the Atlantic Sun Conference champions, who were making their first appearance in the tournament.

"We had specific goals we wanted to attain as it related to Stetson, but more importantly, as it related to us," Chapman said, pointing to the Lady Tigers' "ability to wreck havoc on the defensive end."

Stetson scored a program-low 36 points, shooting just 24.1 percent from the field and going 2-of-20 from 3-point range. The Hatters also committed 17 turnovers.

"We didn't want them to get comfortable in their offense," Augustus said. "Our defense set the tone today."

Still, it wasn't pretty for LSU. The Lady Tigers made just 38.1 percent of their shots and were 2-of-12 from 3-point range.

"I think we did a good job of executing, but there's always room for improvement," Johnson said. "For the most part, most of the shots we took were pretty good."

Augustus personified LSU's problems. She went just 3-of-11 from the field but hit 8-of-10 free throws before leaving early in the second half.

"It wasn't that bad," she said. "A couple of shots I usually hit, I didn't."

Chapman wasn't concerned.

"I'm always OK with good looks at the basket if it's in the confines of our offense," she said.

Stetson coach Dee Romine said her Hatters would have to be at the top of their game and LSU would have to struggle for them to have a chance, while Hatters players pointed to a tough schedule that included Florida, Georgia and Wake Forest that they said helped prepare them for the Lady Tigers.

Unfortunately, Stetson (17-14) lost those three games by a total of 107 points, and LSU wasn't fazed.

"The kids knew what was at stake," she said. "It's every kid's dream to play against the best."

Stetson's Kristy Brown set the tone early, hitting a 3-pointer to give the Hatters an 8-6 lead.

But the Lady Tigers answered with an 18-4 run capped by a basket by Johnson to make it 24-12.

"That was the point we knew it was going to be a long ballgame for us," Romine said.

LSU's strong perimeter defense allowed the Lady Tigers to double-team Brown and shut down the Hatters' only legitimate threat.

Brown led Stetson with 17 points but finished just 6-of-19 from the field. Nefertiti Walker added 13 for the Hatters.

LSU led 41-19 at halftime. A 16-0 run by LSU in the second half extended the lead to 61-25 and the Lady Tigers led by as many as 37 in the game.

Augustus said her teammates kept working long after the game was decided.

"Nobody really knew the score at halftime," Augustus said. "It's about goals and our ultimate goal is to try and win a national title."