Fowles works foul line, lifts LSU over Arkansas

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Arkansas coach Susie Gardner rubbed a finger across her palm as she described how she had broken a blood vessel from smacking her hands together in anger.

That's how badly the Lady Razorbacks' plan to contain Sylvia Fowles had backfired.

Despite being swarmed with double-teams, Fowles managed 13 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. And with so much attention focused on the 6-foot-6 center, LSU's guards created offense as well and the No. 8 Lady Tigers rolled to a 70-53 victory on Thursday night.

"You take a chance when you play LSU," Gardner said. "You try to take Sylvia out of her game, not that we took her out of her game. You focus all your attention on Sylvia and then hope that other players are maybe having not their best night. We did a decent job on Fowles, but we've got to do a better job on their guards."

Quianna Chaney scored 15 and Ashley Thomas 11 for the Lady Tigers (19-2, 5-1 SEC), who have won four straight and 14 of their last 15 games.

Lauren Ervin scored 16 for Arkansas (18-4, 3-3), which lost for the first time in four games. Donica Cosby added 15.

Thomas and Chaney combined on an 8-0 run in the first 1:14 of the second half that gave LSU a 40-21 lead and left Gardner fuming. Exploiting a double team on Fowles, Thomas drove for a layup, got fouled and converted the three-point play. She scored again on LSU's next possession, and Chaney capped the run with an open 3-pointer from the corner.

"Horrible, worst-case scenario. I couldn't call time-out quickly enough," Gardner said. "That was very, very, very disheartening and disappointing. I was very upset."

It was all smiles on the other bench.

"We just laugh because we think it's great. They just don't know what their getting into," Chaney said. "They figure they take away Sylvia and they won the game, but they just don't know what we're capable of doing."

With LSU leading 32-21 at halftime, Lady Tigers coach Pokey Chatman had urged her backcourt players to be aggressive and look to score if Fowles was double-teamed.

"I thought it was a statement start (to the second half) and that's what I told the team," Chatman said. "Any time you force the other team to call time-out in the first 2 minutes of the half, you're doing something well."

Arkansas never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way.

"We knew going into halftime we had chances to kind of blow it up, and if we started the second half good it would kind of deflate them a little bit," Thomas said.

LSU also hustled back on defense to disrupt Arkansas' transition game. The Lady Tigers forced 19 turnovers, converting them into 17 points.

Fowles powered LSU to an early double-digit lead with a putback and an offensive rebound that led to a pair of free throws during a 14-4 LSU run to open the game. She finished with five offensive rebounds in 29 minutes.

Although Fowles was only 3-for-9 from the field, she gave LSU second chances with her offensive rebounding and drew fouls, going 7-for-8 from the foul line.

"She's added several aspects to her game that's going to help us -- making better passes and getting assists to teammates and also getting to the free throw line and knocking them down," Chatman said. "She understands how important it is."

Arkansas pulled to 22-16 after Ervin's 3-pointer from the top of the key before the Lady Tigers pulled away again on a surge from Chaney, who hit four runners in the last 5 minutes of the half.

Chaney credited Fowles and Thomas for her team-high scoring.

"Ashley came out and knocked down the first two shots so they started, you know, 'We have to guard her,' then Sylvia being the big beast she is in the post, so they have to double her," Chaney said. "That leaves me open for the drive and on the outside."