Road to the Final FourRosterThe benchAbout the schoolFlorida coach Amanda Butler says?

Meet the LSU women's basketball team

Date Opponent Result

Nov. 9 Samford W 86-38

Nov. 11 TCU W 73-54

Nov. 15 No. 18 Michigan State W 64-41

Nov. 18 at No. 3 Maryland L 75-62

Nov. 21 Louisiana-Lafayette W 72-37

Nov. 25 at No. 7 Rutgers L 45-43

Nov. 29 at Houston W 77-46

Dec. 2 at Tulane W 52-36

Dec. 16 at Louisiana Tech W 76-45

Dec. 18 Illinois-Chicago W 86-44

Dec. 19 at Miami W 63-52

Dec. 28 at Middle Tennessee State L 67-56

Dec. 30 New Orleans W 73-46

Jan. 3 at Florida State W 73-61

Jan. 10 at No. 18 Arkansas W 76-54

Jan. 13 Vanderbilt W 62-51

Jan. 20 Mississippi State W 84-31

Jan. 24 at No. 22 Auburn W 79-59

Jan. 27 at Kentucky W 72-46

Jan. 31 South Carolina W 67-37

Feb. 3 at Florida W 85-71

Feb. 7 at Alabama W 89-53

Feb. 10 No. 21 Georgia W 63-57

Feb. 14 at No. 1 Tennessee W 78-62

Feb. 17 Mississippi W 78-48

Feb. 21 Kentucky W 52-48

Feb. 25 No. 1 Connecticut L 74-69

Feb. 28 Arkansas W 83-46

March 2 at Mississippi State W 64-49

March 7 Mississippi W 80-36

March 8 Kentucky W 66-49

March 9 No. 3 Tennessee L 61-55

NCAA Tournament

March 22 Jackson State W 66-32

March 24 No. 21 Marist W 68-49

March 29 No. 17 Oklahoma State W 67-52

March 31 at No. 2 North Carolina W 56-50

No. Player Pos GP Min Pts Reb Ast

1 Katherine Graham G 24 7.7 1.7 1.3 0.5

3 Latear Eason G 20 5.2 0.8 0.6 0.6

5 Erica White G 35 27.5 7.7 3.1 4.4

10 Khalilah Mitchell G 28 11.3 2.4 1.0 1.5

12 RaShonta LeBlanc G 36 27.7 6.4 3.5 3.6

15 Quianna Chaney G 36 28.8 14.6 2.6 3.3

23 Allison Hightower G 36 19.4 7.2 2.5 1.7

24 Marian Whitfield G 26 9.2 3.9 1.3 0.9

25 Mesha Williams C 36 11.7 4.2 3.4 0.3

34 Sylvia Fowles C 34 29.0 17.2 10.0 0.6

44 Kristen Morris G 30 10.1 2.5 2.8 0.3

54 Ashley Thomas F 36 26.3 5.4 4.8 1.6

LSU has basically used seven players against elite teams, with sparse minutes for reserves Allison Hightower and Mesha Williams. Hightower provides an offensive spark and is fourth on the team in scoring; Williams gives Sylvia Fowles rare minutes off but steps into a huge role should Fowles get into foul trouble against a team with a deep frontcourt. Katherine Graham and Latear Eason barely play as freshmen but could step in as starters next season.

Location: Baton Rouge

Enrollment: 30,000

Famous alumni: Political consultant James Carville

LSU coach Van Chancellor is much like his senior-laden Tigers: supremely experienced, colorful and only lacking an NCAA championship.

Chancellor's 30th season as a head coach has been a memorable one — while it's LSU's fifth consecutive Final Four, it's the first for the 64-year-old coach, who led Mississippi to the NCAA Tournament in each of the tournament's first 11 seasons.

His 439-154 record at Ole Miss would be plenty, but Chancellor jumped to the WNBA in 1997 and dominated, leading the Houston Comets to championships in the league's first four seasons. He finished 211-111 but returned to the college ranks this season, hoping to get LSU over its national semifinal hump.

He is already a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, having been inducted last year, and he boasts a gold medal from coaching the U.S. team in the 2004 Olympics.

Given that outgoing LSU athletic director Skip Bertman, 69, hired both Chancellor and football coach Les Miles, who led the Tigers to a national championship, you have to wonder what LSU's hurry is in finding a new athletic director.

"Thank goodness Skip Bertman hired me, because I would have missed out on one of the greatest thrills in my life," Chancellor said after Monday's upset of top-seeded North Carolina.

LSU has been to five straight Final Fours, matching Connecticut's NCAA record, but the Tigers are still seeking their first championship game appearance. With five senior starters and the momentum from beating top-seeded North Carolina, they're a legitimate threat to become the third No. 2-seeded champion in four years.

Why they will win: The most postseason experience of any team in the tournament, the nation's No. 1 defense and a dominant post presence in Sylvia Fowles. The Tigers have beaten Tennessee in two of last three meetings, so they won't fear the Vols in the semifinal.

Why they won't: If an athletic frontcourt can deny Fowles the ball — or get her in foul trouble — there might not be enough scoring from the rest of the team if the pace picks up. Fowles must be contained to stay in control of LSU.

Sylvia Fowles

Center, senior

The 6-foot-6 player was the SEC player of the year, averaging a double double. Defense is her strength, as she was the WBCA's national defensive player of the year. She and Tennessee's Candace Parker are expected to be the top picks in Wednesday's WNBA draft at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor.

Quianna Chaney

Guard, senior

The team's top sharpshooter, Chaney hit more 3-pointers (92) than the rest of the team combined. Her best games of the season came in Florida, as she scored 27 in a win at Florida State, with 19 in the win at Florida. Her defense isn't a strength, so opposing guards may be able to match her scoring output.

RaShonta LeBlanc

Guard, senior

Does a little bit of everything, with a team-high 78 steals, the potential for hitting a crucial 3-pointer and an assist-to-turnover ratio of better than 2-to-1. Isn't relied on as a scorer, but can break out, like her 14 points against Georgia and 11 against Tennessee this season.

Erica White

Guard, senior

Confident floor leader can score, press opposing point guards and, most important, is a veteran in a veteran starting five. Scored a season-high 18 vs. Oklahoma State, and is the team's best free-throw shooter at 77 percent; see her 6-for-6 shooting in the final two minutes against North Carolina.

Ashley Thomas

Forward, senior

Undersized next to Fowles as a power forward, she actually has more offensive rebounds than Fowles this season, getting much of her scoring from putbacks. Focus too much on Fowles, and Thomas will be the one with the double double. Held scoreless in the last meeting with Tennessee, though she did have five assists.

"The advantage that LSU has over just about everybody, but not to the same extent as Tennessee, is they start all seniors and they are not just seniors, but seniors with Final Four experience. I think that's something that you cannot underestimate. Their first five is absolutely incredible, and then they bring the (SEC) sixth person of the year off the bench in Hightower. Depth is a struggle, so they cannot get in foul trouble."

Meet the LSU women's basketball team 04/05/08 [Last modified: Saturday, April 5, 2008 8:50pm]

© 2014 Tampa Bay Times

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...