8:00 PM ET, February 21, 2008
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Erica White won't balk at the rare opportunity to tout her scoring ability."I think I'm pretty crafty around the basket," LSU's 5-foot-3 point guard said. "I have to be, being this small. I've always had to be that way."White's steal and fast-break layup broke a late tie and lifted sixth-ranked LSU to a 52-48 victory over Kentucky on Thursday night.The Lady Tigers' winning streak is at 14 games heading into Monday night's home date with top-ranked Connecticut.White, who finished with 13 points and three steals, generally isn't counted on to score and averages about seven points.Against Kentucky's swarming, physical defense, White was the only LSU player to reach double figures in scoring other than All-America center Sylvia Fowles, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds."I was the shortest player on the court tonight, but I ended up with five lay-ups," White said.Those lay-ups included her baseline drive through a crowd for a three-point play that snapped a 10-0 run by Kentucky in the second half.LSU (23-3, 12-0 Southeastern Conference) hasn't lost to Kentucky (13-13, 7-5) since 1995, but the Lady Tigers' 13th straight victory over the Wildcats was a struggle.Kentucky, which had trailed by 11 with 8:02 remaining, tied the game at 48 when Sarah Elliott scored inside as she was fouled.She missed her free throw, but Kentucky grabbed the rebound and tried to set up for the go-ahead score. White broke up a pass and corralled the loose ball before sprinting the length of the floor for the eventual game-winning score.She had only one defender to beat and later said she never considered pulling up or passing."That's the mentality that I have, to never let one defender stop me from getting to the basket," White said.Chelsea Chowning attempted to tie the game with a runner on the edge of the lane, but it bounced off the rim and Fowles pulled down her final rebound, then made two free throws with 5.5 seconds to go to put the game away."Just thank God we found a way to win," LSU coach Van Chancellor said. "I don't know how, but we did."Samantha Mahoney led Kentucky with 12 points, while Elliot finished with 11 and Eleia Roddy 10. Victoria Dunlap grabbed 12 rebounds for Kentucky, which held LSU to 36 percent shooting and nearly 20 points below its season average. The Wildcats also outrebounded LSU 46-34.LSU needed a good defensive effort to win and got it, holding Kentucky to 33 percent shooting and forcing 20 turnovers.Before tip-off, the 6-6 Fowles was invited to midcourt to receive a commemorative basketball for becoming the fifth player in LSU history to score 2,000 points earlier this month.Kentucky hardly seemed impressed. Elliott, who also is 6-6, planted herself between Fowles and the basket on the Wildcats' defensive end. When Fowles tried to back in closer to the basket, Elliot wouldn't budge."I knew coming in here it was going to be a battle," Elliott said. "I thought we did an excellent job of containing her and giving her a lot of pressure. She obviously did not like any of it. We forced her to take some bad shots. It's upsetting that we lost, but as post players we took a huge step forward."Fowles had only one basket during the first 17 minutes and the Lady Tigers led only 20-14 after she scored her second basket of the game on a jump-hook with 2:56 left in the opening half.Fowles scored again on a short step-back jumper, then White's driving layup capped a 10-1 run to close out the half and give LSU a 24-15 lead.Fowles called her performance a letdown, but said she was proud of how LSU closed out a tight game.White said the near-upset should help LSU with the postseason approaching."I think the thing my teammates and I might have thought is, you know, we're LSU, we can just play however we want to play and come away with the win, and we got about 2 minutes away from realizing that's not true," White said. "We need to come out and play smart. ... I'm thankful we have a game like this and we win, that we don't learn that lesson in a loss."
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