Junior forward Theresa Plaisance scored a game-high 26 points and swished a go-ahead three with a minute to play as the LSU women's basketball team extended its home court winning streak to eight straight with a thrilling 54-51 come-from-behind win over Vanderbilt on Sunday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Lady Tigers (12-7) improved back to .500 in Southeastern Conference play with a 3-3 mark and moved to 10-1 at home on the year. LSU has now won seven consecutive SEC regular season games at home dating back to last season.
Vanderbilt (13-5, 3-2) dropped its fifth consecutive game to LSU in Baton Rouge as the series continued to go the home team's way for the ninth straight meeting.
After being held to five points in the second half, Plaisance erupted for 21 points in the final stanza, including eight straight points during a 13-0 run. She provided the game's biggest shot burying a three from the right corner as LSU turned a one-point deficit into a 52-50 lead with 1:09 to play. She added seven rebounds and two blocks, while setting a career high with 11 made field goals.
"Theresa Plaisance slowed down," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "She was not rushing. She was taking her time and really trying to score the basketball. We also had her taking shots on the perimeter. They started feeling good about themselves because they started getting the defensive stops that we needed. That allowed us to get our transition game going. In doing so, that took a lot of stress off of our half-court offense."
Plaisance and the Lady Tigers came alive in the second half after a lackluster offensive performance by both teams in the first 20 minutes. LSU shot below 30 percent in the first half and it allowed Vanderbilt to go on a 15-2 run and take a 24-16 advantage into the locker room.
The Lady Tigers trailed by as many as 10 points with 16:10 to play. Plaisance then ignited the comeback with unstoppable play on the inside. She delivered with eight straight points in a span of three minutes as LSU was extremely disruptive on the defense end, holding one of the nation's top field goal percentage teams scoreless for four minutes.
With the Lady Tigers trailing 34-31, Plaisance drained a three from the top of the key that knotted the game with 11:45 on the clock. LSU fell behind again, 50-47 on an Elan Brown jumper at the 2:47 mark.
Webb then knocked down two free throws, and Lutley swatted a Kady Schrann jumper that gave the Lady Tigers a chance to take the lead again. That's when Plaisance stepped up and hit her second three of the game. Lutley made two free throws in the final 10 seconds, and Vanderbilt's desperation three attempt clanged off the backboard as time expired.
"You usually see a struggle on the defensive end, but today I think we did a really great job defensively," said Plaisance. "Coach Nikki Caldwell had a game plan because coming up against Vanderbilt, you know you are going to have a tough game with their strong guards and excellent three-point shooting game. We just had to buckle down on defense."
Tiffany Clarke led Vanderbilt with 17 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Vanderbilt shot just 5-of-19 from three-point land.
Adrienne Webb added 10 points for LSU, while Danielle Ballard had nine points, nine rebounds and four steals. Lutley finished with nine points and four steals.
Both teams finished below 38 percent shooting from the floor, but the Lady Tigers grabbed 15 offensive rebounds that led to 15 second-chance points.
LSU returns to action next Sunday at 2 p.m. CT as the Lady Tigers take on No. 5 Kentucky in Lexington. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net and ESPN3.com.