8:00 PM ET, February 23, 2006
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles needed plenty of help from their LSU teammates to clinch a share of the Southeastern Conference title Thursday night.After all, somebody had to pass the high-scoring duo the ball.Augustus scored 32 points and Fowles had 28 points and 13 rebounds to lead the third-ranked Tigers to an 86-61 victory over Alabama on Thursday night.The duo of Augustus and Fowles took turns dominating the game for LSU (24-2, 12-1), which led by only six at halftime. Augustus scored 20 points in the first half and Fowles had 22 after that to help LSU pull away.With the win, LSU secured the No. 1 seed for the SEC tournament entering the regular-season finale against Mississippi State."It's just another opportunity to win a championship, something that doesn't come easy," Augustus said.The points sure did seem to come easy for she and Fowles, who made all but seven of LSU's field goals. They weren't ballhogs either, since the Tigers had 23 assists on 34 baskets."That's a product of good offense," LSU coach Pokey Chatman said. "You know Seimone's not coming down one-on-one getting those shots. She's getting those shots in the flow of the offense."The Crimson Tide (9-17, 3-10) endured its second straight loss to a top-five team, having fallen to No. 5 Tennessee on Sunday.Augustus ended the game with 2,486 career points, just two behind Julie Ross for No. 2 on the school's career list. She and Fowles both sat out the final 5 minutes with the game well in hand.Lauren Hill led Alabama with 17 points, while Navonda Moore had 13 and Harriet Barnes 10.The Tigers forced 30 turnovers while only committing 12. They shot 51.5 percent.LSU led only 37-31 at halftime, largely because Augustus was the only player whose shots were falling. With a combination of jumpers and inside moves, her eight first-half field goals were only one fewer than Alabama managed.With her team unable to take control, Chatman summed up her mood at halftime as "frustrated" and "disappointed"."Those are two pretty good words for it, mainly because it was easy to decipher the role Alabama played and also the role we played in it," she said.Chatman was decidedly happier in the second half, when the Tigers shot 59 percent and scored almost at will around the basket. Both Augustus -- who made both her 3-point attempts in the first half -- and Fowles went inside for most of their points after the half.LSU pulled away with a 14-5 run to start the second half and Alabama could never come closer than 13 after that."I wanted us to have a little more sense of urgency because we had an opportunity to play for a share of a championship," Chatman said. "It's nice to see us understand that, process that and come out in the second half and establish some things that have been good for us all year."Alabama had no answer for Fowles and Augustus, who were a combined 27-for-41 from the floor. The rest of the Tigers were 7-for-25, but Augustus and three of her teammates each had at least four assists."It was disappointing for us to be as lethargic as we were and just emotionless even when we were down six points," Alabama coach Stephany Smith said. "We never showed a sense of urgency and never really found a rhythm."Obviously LSU had a lot to do with that."LSU took control of the game early in the second half, repeatedly going inside to Augustus and Fowles for the first 16 points."Fowles just had a heyday within an inch of the rim the entire last 20 minutes of the basketball game," Smith said.
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