for this game

Hightower's 32 help No. 7 LSU hold off La Tech

Dec 2, 2009 - 5:13 AM RUSTON, LA.(AP) -- LSU's new contender for player of the year evoked memories of her predecessor Tuesday night.

Allison Hightower scored a career-high 32 points and No. 7 LSU held off Louisiana Tech 77-74 for its 31st straight victory over in-state opponents.

"I'm very proud of our players. They found a way to win the game," LSU coach Van Chancellor said. "You got Tech coming back at home late and this game could have gone against us. Allison played like an All-American tonight - 25 points at the half, whew! This was just a great ballgame."

Hightower's 32 points were the most by an LSU player since two-time national player of the year Seimone Augustus had 35 in 2006.

"I just felt good shooting the ball," Hightower said of her first-half performance. "I got a lot of good open looks because of screens from my teammates. Coming into the game I wanted to be aggressive on offense, don't try to do too much and just play my game."

LaSondra Barrett added 14 points for the Lady Tigers (6-0) and Taylor Turnbow had 12. LSU has not lost to an in-state foe since Dec. 31, 1999, at Tulane.

Shanavia Dowdell led Louisiana Tech (3-1) with 26 points, while Adrienne Johnson had 17.

"They came out and played the second half like they were up 10 points," Chancellor said. "We haven't given up 46 points in a half since we played Connecticut a while ago. This was a heck of a game."

Louisiana Tech pulled to 75-74 with less than a minute left, but Latear Eason hit a pair of free throws for LSU with 12.6 seconds to go.

The score was tied at 11 with 14:34 left in the first half when Turnbow's basket sparked an 8-1 run that gave LSU the lead for good.

The Lady Techsters got as close as 24-22 with 6 minutes remaining in the first half, but LSU went on a 19-6 surge behind 10 points from Hightower to head into halftime up 43-28.

LSU now begins its longest break of the season before hosting New Orleans on Dec. 13.

Louisiana Tech visits Baylor on Saturday.