8:15 PM ET, November 14, 2006
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- LSU coach Pokey Chatman has implored her players to make defense their top priority this season.Through the Lady Tigers' first three games, all victories of 30 points or more, Chatman senses her message got through.No. 10 LSU held Virginia Tech to 33.3 percent shooting and turned 23 turnovers into 27 points en route to a 70-40 victory in the final game of the Basketball Travelers Classic Tuesday night."You can tell that they're enjoying playing defense and applying pressure," Chatman said. "A lot of times the offensive end is glamorous and that's what gets written about, but so many players can participate in the defensive effort of the team and I'm glad that's an area where we're trying to hang our hat."Sylvia Fowles led the Lady Tigers (3-0) with 14 points and eight rebounds in only 23 minutes, one night after she notched 18 points and 14 rebounds in a victory over Howard. Fowles sat with 10:11 remaining in the game and LSU leading 62-28.She was named the top player in the three-day round robin, not that she let it go to her head."Personally, I felt I got off to a slow start," Fowles said. "My team did a great job getting to the paint and where we need to be on the floor."LSU dominated the inside, where it outscored Tech (2-2) 40-18 and outrebounded the Hokies 38-31.Quianna Chaney scored 12 points and had three steals for LSU while Porsha Phillips added 10 points.Kirby Copeland led Virginia Tech with 14 points and was the only player on her team to reach double figures."Defensively, they are one of the best teams we will face all year with tremendous pressure," Virginia Tech coach Beth Dunkenberger said. "It got us rattled a little bit especially earlier in the game. ... You've got Sylvia Fowles inside. She is such a great defender. ... Then you have ball pressure from the guards."Erica White had four steals to go with seven points and six assists for LSU, which shot 45.5 percent.LSU hasn't been challenged in any of its first three games this season. The Lady Tigers defeated West Virginia by 39 points on Sunday and Howard by 44 on Monday night."I'm extremely pleased with the carryover from game-to-game and the areas we're able to be successful in," Chatman said. "You can tell it's not a fluke."The Lady Tigers pulled away with an early 19-4 run capped by Erica Hightower's jumper that made it 21-6 midway through the first half.Later in the half, Phillips hit a pair of jumpers to spark a 10-0 run that put LSU ahead 33-10.Virginia Tech scored the last five points of the half on a 3-pointer by Lindsay Biggs and a layup by Britney Anderson to close to 37-19 at halftime.But the Lady Tigers opened the second half with an 11-2 run highlighted by Fowles' two inside baskets and RaShonta LeBlanc's 3-pointer and kept the lead above 20 points the rest of the way.
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