8:00 PM ET, January 12, 2006
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- LSU started the impressive defensive effort in the first half and really turned it up in the second. The third-ranked Lady Tigers held South Carolina to two field goals over a 15-minute stretch in a 79-46 victory Thursday night.Trailing 24-20, South Carolina got field goals from Shannel Harris and Stacy Booker in the final 8 minutes of the first half. LSU (14-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) scored 14 points in that span to take a 38-24 lead.The Gamecocks (9-6, 0-3) didn't score in the second half until Booker made a field goal just over 7 minutes in. The Lady Tigers scored 12 points during that time and coasted to their 24th consecutive win at home."Overall it comes down to our defensive effort," LSU coach Pokey Chatman said. "We had 47 deflections, and that's always something good because that means you're able to pressure the basketball and not let them feel comfortable in their sets."Seimone Augustus had 22 points for the Lady Tigers, who have won 17 straight conference games. Sylvia Fowles had 15 points and 12 rebounds for LSU, while Quianna Chaney scored 12 points and Schloanda Hoston had 11.Booker led South Carolina with 15 points. Lauren Simms, who scored 13 points, was the only Gamecocks starter to make more than field goal. The 31-point loss was the largest of the season for the Gamecocks, whose previous worst defeat was a 66-51 setback to No. 1 Tennessee."This LSU team is loaded with All-Americans and top recruits," South Carolina coach Susan Walvius said. "I'm really impressed with their team, their system, their discipline. We need to just let this one roll."LSU made its first five shots in the second half in a 12-0 run that gave the Lady Tigers a 50-24 lead with 16:58 remaining in the game.South Carolina would not score its first points of the second half until Booker made a shot just over 7 minutes in. Following their quick start, the Lady Tigers went scoreless for nearly 5 minutes. Hoston broke that dry spell with a field goal at the 12:13 mark.During the final 12 minutes, LSU maintained at least a 23-point lead. The Lady Tigers held the Gamecocks to their lowest offensive output of the season and South Carolina committed a season-high 29 turnovers, which led to 34 LSU points."Staying focused was hard," Hoston said. "Our mentality coming out of halftime was to jump on them early."Consecutive 3-pointers by Booker brought the Gamecocks within 24-20 with 8:07 left in the half. Augustus and Fowles then led Lady Tigers on a 14-2 run that gave them a 38-22 lead. Augustus hit a 3-pointer and a basket in the run, while Fowles made two field goals.The Gamecocks shot 53 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, but committed 13 turnovers."LSU really does a nice job guarding the perimeter and pressuring the basketball," Walvius said. "The one thing LSU does different from other teams is they have extremely active hands on the ball. They get a lot of deflections and play the passing lanes. Teams tend to throw [ball] away because it looks like the passing lanes are open."