8:00 PM ET, November 29, 2007
HOUSTON (AP) -- Van Chancellor visited his favorite clothing store, met friends for lunch and tried to calm himself before LSU played Houston on Thursday night.Then came the easy part.Sylvia Fowles had 19 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, and the Tigers (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) beat the Cougars 77-46 on Thursday night in Chancellor's return to the city where he led the WNBA's Comets for 10 seasons."I came in here yesterday, I saw the skyline and that brought back so many memories to me," Chancellor said. "It's been a very emotional time for me to come back. I was a little afraid that I was going to be too hyper tonight."Dozens of old acquaintances greeted him before the game. One of the Comets fans who walked up made an impression."She said, 'Coach, I really miss you coaching the Comets,' " Chancellor said. "That made me cry a little bit, I don't mind telling you. It's been a special day."Chancellor was afraid that he was so distracted by coming back to Houston that he hadn't prepared his team for the game.But LSU never missed a beat.Quianna Chaney and Ashley Thomas scored 11 points apiece for the Tigers (5-2), who scored 29 points off 25 turnovers and held the Cougars to 33 percent shooting (18-of-54).Fowles moved past two players and into sixth place on the Southeastern Conference's rebounding list, although she had a streak of consecutive double-doubles stopped at four. She now has 1,275 career boards, 20 behind Tennessee's Chamique Holdsclaw."If there was anything I'd wish," Chancellor said, "I'd wish the Houston Comets would find a way to get her. She's a dominant, dominant player."Chancellor, hired by LSU in April to replace Pokey Chatman, got a blowout victory in his 600th college game. He went 439-154 in 19 seasons at Mississippi between 1978-97.Chancellor took over Houston's WNBA franchise in 1997 and led the Comets to the first four league championships. He won 211 games, a league record, before taking the LSU job.Fowles said Chancellor openly told the Tigers how much this game meant to him."He stressed coming in and playing well tonight," she said, "and making him look good in front of his friends."Brittney Scott scored 11 and Twiggy McIntyre had eight points and six assists for the Cougars (2-6), who've lost six of their last seven games. Senior guard Tye Jackson, the Cougars' leading scorer, sat out with chronic inflammation in her left knee.LSU missed six of its first 10 shots with three turnovers and the Cougars led 11-10.Fowles then hit a free throw and a bank shot and the Tigers never trailed again. Allison Hightower sank LSU's first 3-pointer with 7:53 left before halftime to start a 14-2 Tigers' run that essentially put the Cougars away.Houston held its own on the boards early to stay close, but the Tigers' full-court pressure started generating turnovers and bad shots. The Cougars went the final 3:51 of the half without a basket and trailed 41-19 at the break."Our defense set the tone for everything," Fowles said. "Once we locked in and determined we were going to get it done on defense, that set us away on the offensive end."Despite facing double-teams from the start, the 6-foot-6 Fowles made six of seven shots in the first half and scored 14 points.LSU opened the second half with a 9-2 burst as the Cougars missed five of their first six shots.Houston never made much of a run after halftime and Chancellor took Fowles out near the eight-minute mark. The rest of the starters followed her to the bench during a timeout with 7:57 remaining.Danny Hughes, Houston's interim coach since head coach Joe Curl suffered a heart attack on Oct. 28, said the Cougars won't face a better team this season."I don't think there's any better, more athletic team in the country," Hughes said. "They present matchup problems for any spot on the floor."The Tigers' visit to Houston was their second of seven consecutive road games. They don't play at home again until Dec. 30.
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