No. 9 LSU uses 26-0 second-half run to put away Tulsa

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- RaShonta LeBlanc and her LSU teammates responded to coach Pokey Chatman's halftime challenge.

"She told us to go out there and do what we needed to do to open up the score," LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc had a game-high 15 points, including two of the four 3-pointers that started LSU's big run right after halftime, and the No. 9 Tigers beat Tulsa 61-37 in the UT-San Antonio Thanksgiving Classic on Friday.

"I challenged their character and they came back out and got it done," Chatman said.

The Lady Tigers (6-1), the SEC champions who have been to the NCAA Final Four the last two seasons, were coming off a 64-60 loss Tuesday night at No. 15 Baylor. With leading scorer Sylvia Fowles in foul trouble against Tulsa (2-2), LeBlanc took over, making five of her six shots.

"We've struggled as a team to put the ball in the basket from the perimeter. It was nice to have a starter knock those shots down," Chatman said. "She was like an energy pill. ... It wasn't defense dictating what shots she took. She took shots that she wanted to get, and that's a good sign."

With the score tied 8-8 midway through the first half, LeBlanc put LSU ahead to stay with two free throws that started a 9-0 run. LeBlanc then had a steal that she turned into a 3-pointer for the Lady Tigers, who led 23-14 at halftime.

LeBlanc's other 3-pointers came in the 26-0 spurt to open the second half that put LSU up 49-14.

"I don't think it was the best [win], but it's good enough right now," LeBlanc said.

Fowles, a 6-foot-6 junior center, played only 12 minutes and finished with five points, all after halftime. She had three rebounds, nearly seven below her season average.

Tulsa converted a three-point play in the game's final minute to reach 37 points, only one more than the team's record low of 36. The Golden Hurricane averaged 64 points their first three games.

"With their ball pressure, they did a very good job of putting us in a position where at times we couldn't even get in the flow of our offense," Tulsa coach Charlene Thomas-Swinson said. "That's a credit to Pokey and what she's done with their team and getting them to play pressure man-to-man defense."

Jamie Dreiling had seven points to lead Tulsa, the defending Conference USA champ that had a school-record 26 victories last season. Jillian Robbins had four points, 21 below her season average.