9:00 PM ET, February 8, 2007
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU didn't need prolific scoring from its usual leaders to register one of its highest scores of the season.They did it by complementing the typically tenacious defense with an improved fast break."It started in transition," LSU coach Pokey Chatman said after watching the No. 7 Lady Tigers force 20 turnovers and score 16 fast-break points in a 79-66 victory over Florida on Thursday night.In LSU's lone loss in its last eight games, a 53-51 setback at Georgia (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP), the Lady Tigers had only a single point in transition -- a statistic that Chatman has harped on since."Our charge to our team ever since we left Athens was: You play defense so well, that should excite you to get out in transition and create opportunities to score," Chatman said.Quianna Chaney scored 14 points, highlighted by her personal 7-0 run late in the second half, to help LSU pull away. RaShonta LeBlanc and Sylvia Fowles scored 11 apiece for LSU (22-3, 8-2 Southeastern Conference), which has won seven of its last eight games. The 6-foot-6 Fowles, recognized before tip-off for surpassing 1,000 rebounds in her career, added 11 more against the Gators and also had four blocks.And LSU guard Erica White ignited LSU's transition game with six steals and six assists to go with nine points of her own."I always come out and put a lot of pressure on the other team's point guard, and usually I get a lot of deflections," White said. "But tonight the ball just happened to hit my hand just right and they turned up steals instead. I credit that to my teammates for putting pressure on the person who was passing it so I could get into the passing lane and steal it."Depree Bowden scored 15 of her 20 points in the second half, including three 3-pointers, for Florida (6-19, 0-10), which has lost 12 straight. Marshae Dotson added 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Sha Brooks scored 14 points and Brianna Phillips had 13.Struggling to score inside against Fowles, Florida attempted 24 3-pointers, hitting 10 for nearly half of their points.On the other end, Florida double-teamed Fowles. Gators coach Carolyn Peck was pleased that her squad kept LSU's dominant inside force well below her 17.5-point-per-game average."Really, the supporting cast for LSU stepped up big," Peck said. "The thing that hurt us the most was  points off turnovers. We didn't give ourselves an opportunity to get back and play defense by turning the ball over so many times."The Gators didn't stand much of a chance coming into LSU's Pete Maravich Assembly Center, where the Lady Tigers have now won 43 in a row since February 2004. Still, Florida never packed it in, trimming LSU's lead to single digits several times in the second half.One of Bowden's 3-pointers got the Gators to 60-51 with 6 minutes remaining.That's when LSU finally slammed the door, with Chaney hitting a 3-pointer, a layup and two foul shots in succession to make it 67-51 with 3:48 remaining.Twelve players scored for LSU, resulting in its fourth-highest point total of the season.By contrast, Florida's four leading scorers combined for all but 3 of the Gators' points.Phillips kept Florida close early on, hitting four of her first six shots, two of them 3-pointers, to pull the Gators to 17-16 with 9:45 remaining in the first half.LSU widened its lead shortly after when Porsha Phillips hit the first of two jumpers during a 9-1 run capped by Chaney's three-point play on a driving layup.Later in the half, LeBlanc hit a 3 and followed up with a steal on the other end to set up Kristen Morris' close-range jumper during a 7-0 run that put the Lady Tigers up 33-22.Bowden hit a jumper with 6 seconds left in the half to cut LSU's lead to 37-29 at halftime.
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