The No. 6 seed LSU women’s basketball team earned a berth in the Sweet 16 with a 71-66 victory against No. 3 seed Penn State on Tuesday night in the PMAC in a game that went down to the wire.
LSU senior guard Adrienne Webb lifted the short-handed Lady Tigers past Penn State in a rematch of last season’s second round game between the teams.
Webb shot 10-for-16 from the floor and 7-for-9 from the free throw line for a career-high 29 points in the contest.
“I knew as one of two seniors that I had to play my hardest in our last game,” Webb said. “It’s win and advance or lose and go home.”
LSU looked strong coming out of the gates, leading by as many as eight midway through the first half. But the Lady Tigers allowed the Lady Lions to finish the period on a 15-4 run, and LSU went into the locker room facing a 42-35 deficit.
The Lady Tigers came out firing once again in the second half, opening on a 10-0 run in the first three minutes of period to regain the lead.
“Coach fired us up in the locker room at halftime,” Webb said. “... We really took to heart what she said and came out and executed in the second half.”
LSU’s hot hand turned cold midway through the period, allowing Penn State to regain control with a 60-55 lead. LSU senior guard Bianca Lutley finally put an end to a six-minute scoring drought with a 3-pointer to cut Penn State’s lead to two with 6:10 remaining.
Webb hit a 3-pointer with just more than three minutes left to put LSU back on top, and, from there, a dogfight ensued — neither team willing to give in.
Trailing by one with less than a minute remaining, Lutley hit a tough shot down low to give the Lady Tigers a lead they would never relinquish.
Lutley also had a big night, shooting 7-for-10 for 18 points in addition to six assists and two steals.
With the absence of junior guard Jeanne Kenney due to a head injury suffered late in LSU’s first round game against Green Bay, the Lady Tigers were limited to seven players on their roster against Penn State.
“When you think about this team and what they did tonight without Jeanne Kenney, it was just a courageous effort,” said LSU coach Nikki Caldwell.
Caldwell said the players rallied around Kenney in preparation for the contest.
“We did not want our last game of the season to be played with seven players,” Webb said. “All seven of us got together and played for our fans and everyone who has supported us, and we also played for Jeanne.”
Penn State center Nikki Greene was the driving force for the Lady Lions, posting 16 points and 16 rebounds.
LSU will travel to Spokane, Wash., where it will take on No. 2-seed California for the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 2008 and Caldwell’s first appearance of her head coaching career.