for this game

No. 9 LSU crushes Centenary 92-19

Nov 15, 2009 - 11:47 PM BATON ROUGE, La.(AP) -- LSU opened the season with the second-largest margin of victory in its history, and coach Van Chancellor said his ninth-ranked Lady Tigers are probably overrated.

"We've got to kind of prove ourselves before I'm going to say we're the ninth-ranked team," Chancellor said after LSU's 92-19 victory over Centenary on Sunday. "One poll's got us ninth. One poll's got us 17th. I think 17th is probably a little more accurate. That's my own personal opinion, but we'll see. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong."

Senior guard Allison Hightower scored 20 points in 19 minutes for LSU (1-0), including going 4 of 4 from 3-point range, getting halfway to her total of 3s from last season.

Swayze Black led LSU with 13 rebounds.

The Lady Tigers held Centenary (0-2) to 18.2 percent shooting and forced 33 turnovers.

"Not every day as a coach are you going to end the game and say, 'Man, I liked all the players and I like how they played.' Somebody's going to make you crazy," said Chancellor, the former WNBA coach and Hall of Famer who is in his third season at LSU.

He studied the stats and saw a long list of contributors.

"All of them were good," he said.

The margin of victory was three shy of the record set in a 104-28 victory over Prairie View A&M on Dec. 1, 1995.

Ashley Jackson led Centenary with seven points. The Ladies had more than twice as many turnovers (21) as points in trailing 51-9 at halftime.

Hightower, the SEC preseason player of the year, hit all three of her 3-point shots in the first half, then added one before sitting out most of the second half. LSU was 10 of 17 from 3-point range.

Chancellor went deep into his bench for the bulk of the second half after the Lady Tigers built a 70-14 lead with 12:50 left.

The teams looked sloppy early, and Chancellor called a timeout with a 3-2 lead just 2:17 into the game. Hightower then hit two 3-pointers in less than a minute, and the Lady Tigers were rolling.

Less than 2 minutes later, LSU led 18-2 aided by six turnovers that produced 10 points.

"I think we were just a little excited," Hightower said. "We really wanted to be aggressive on offense and really wanted to prove something from (the exhibition) game."

LSU defeated Loyola of New Orleans 78-43 in that dress rehearsal Tuesday after a sluggish start. The Lady Tigers were more convincing Sunday.

Centenary didn't make its second basket until more than 6 minutes after its first, and the Ladies, trailing 26-4, called a timeout at 12:11 to try to settle down.

LSU's trapping defense didn't always let Centenary cross midcourt.

"The difference in quality was so huge, we couldn't compete," Centenary coach Bojan Jankovic said. "We couldn't answer their pressure at all."

Once across halfcourt, the Ladies struggled to do anything with the ball. They missed 15 of 19 first-half shots in addition to the 21 turnovers.

After Stephanie Barrow's 3-pointer cut LSU's fast-growing lead to 33-9 with 6:55 left in the first half, Centenary didn't score again until nearly 2 minutes into the second half.

"I think it was a great game for us," Jankovic said. "This game will help us more than it will help LSU. LSU is out of our league. We could not compete. I think this game is going to help our young team prepare for our conference."

Hightower was 8 of 43 from beyond the arc last season.

"It's been a long process, but finally I knocked some down this game," she said.

Chancellor, who coached the Houston Comets to the first four WNBA championships, told Hightower in the offseason she had to be able to shoot from long range to have a lasting pro career. He knew if she improved that part of her game, it would help her down the road and help LSU immediately.

He said she's the first player on the court for practices and the last to leave, and her offseason work with a shooting coach was another indication of her work ethic.

"Most dedicated player I've ever coached," he said.

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    Centenary (LA) 19, LSU(17) 92  FinalNov 15 5:44 PM

    LSU (9) 92 FINAL

    Nov 15 4:56 PM

    LSU (9) 51 HALFTIME

    Nov 15 3:58 PM