BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU reeled off six wins over a two-week span to open the season and then went inactive for nearly the same amount of time because of midterm exams. The effects were evident Sunday.
The Lady Tigers (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP), playing their first game following an 11-day layoff, compensated for their offensive struggles with a superb showing on defense in a 57-33 victory over New Orleans.
"We've been shooting the ball really well," LSU coach Van Chancellor said. "I'm going to hope that it was an 11-day layoff and usually when you have a layoff what usually leaves you is your offensive rhythm. We had no offensive rhythm from the first minute to the last minute."
Senior Allison Hightower was the offensive constant for LSU (7-0) with 16 of her 20 points coming in the first half. Reserve forward Courtney Jones added a season-high 10 points for the Lady Tigers, who extended their winning streak over in-state schools to 32 games.
LSU, which averaged 76.8 points and 44.4 percent shooting from the field, was held to a season-low in points and the Lady Tigers' 34.9 field goal effort was their second-worst of the season. LSU made just 1 of 11 attempts from 3-point range and was 12 of 21 (57.1 percent) from the free throw line.
Talisha Young had nine points for New Orleans (6-4), which shot 33.3 percent for the game and had 32 turnovers that led to 23 points. The Lady Privateers made only six of 20 shots and scored 13 points in the second half.
"I thought in the first half in general, as a whole, we did some good things. I thought we hung in there," New Orleans coach Amy Champion said. "Obviously we battled on both ends of the floor. In the second half, we came out, and it just looked like we were out of sync. We didn't look like we had enough energy. I'm not quite sure what happened, but the bottom line is turnovers. You can't win games turning the ball over like we did."
Hightower scored four of LSU's six points to open the second half as it took a 38-20 lead with 18:08 to play. She hit a turnaround one-hander in the lane less than a minute into the half and then took a defensive rebound and went the length of the court for a layup.
That turned out to be Hightower's final points of the game and she left for good with just under 9 minutes to play because of leg cramps. She was 9 of 19 from the field with four steals, two assists and two rebounds.
"She's very aggressive and a very smart player," Champion said. "She makes great decisions on the court and of course again, when she goes to shoot the ball, she just completely elevates over you. She's extremely talented."
New Orleans got within 38-27 with 15 minutes to play when Young scored five straight points on a 3-pointer and lay-in. However Jones, who averaged 3.3 points coming in, scored seven of her team's next nine points to extend LSU's lead to 46-29 with 8:20 remaining.
Jones picked up a loose ball in the lane and scored on a short bank shot, freshman Adrienne Webb knocked down a corner jumper before Jones added a second-chance basket that turned into a three-point play.
The Lady Tigers went on to establish their largest lead with their second 11-0 run of the game which junior forward Jasmine Nelson capped with 5:40 to go with two free throws.
"You kind of get out rhythm," LSU junior guard Katherine Graham said of the pitfalls of such an extended break. "Coming into today we knew what we had to do and that's come in and play defense and we were focused on that. Offensively, it will get better. Your offense always comes a long as you play good defense."