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BATON ROUGE – Senior forward LaSondra Barrett led a trio of double-figure scorers with 15 points as the LSU women’s basketball team built a double-digit halftime lead and withstood a late charge from Grambling to win its fifth straight game, 62-47, on Thursday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The contest tipped at a special noon time and children were allowed free admission into the arena. As part of the Lady Tigers’ partnership with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, fans brought in canned good items for a holiday food drive that concluded on Thursday.

LSU (8-3) remained perfect in the month of December this season, taking a 36-21 halftime lead before Grambling (4-6) rallied with a 14-0 run in the second half that cut the advantage to five. Grambling outshot LSU for the game, 40 percent to 33.8 percent, and GSU became the first team to break the 45-point barrier on the Lady Tigers since a 77-68 loss at Ohio State last month.

“I give much credit to Grambling for not giving up and playing with great intensity,” said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. “It did allow us to see what our bench was made of and allowed us to go deep into our bench to get quality minutes. I’m proud of this group for finishing out the task at hand before the Christmas break.”

Barrett tallied four steals, four assists and six rebounds. Senior forward Courtney Jones was a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor with 11 points. Taylor Turnbow came off the bench for a season-high 10 points and Destini Hughes had eight points and five boards.

LSU separated the score beginning at the 7:46 mark in the first half when Swayze Black’s layup ignited an 11-2 run over the next five minutes. Barrett knocked down two jumpers and Destini Hughes and Theresa Plaisance each made a pair of free throws. Shanece McKinney’s layup with 2:39 left in the stanza made it 31-18 LSU.

The Lady Tigers built their largest lead of the game, a 19-point advantage with 17:36 to go in the game before Grambling began a three-point barrage scoring 14 unanswered points over the next five minutes. Grambling buried four consecutive threes – two from Tonishea Mack and two from Markisha Patterson – to pull within 40-35 with 12:33 remaining in the game.

Plaisance snapped the Grambling run when she nailed a trey from the left corner out of a timeout. Turnbow then responded with three paint buckets in the next two minutes. LSU closed the game with back-to-back threes from Barrett and Jeanne Kenney to pull away.

Patterson scored 12 points to lead Grambling, which finished 6-of-17 from three-point land. LSU, however, was able to convert 27 Grambling turnovers into 24 points.

“We will get better,” said Caldwell. “I liked the fact that we were able to force over 25 turnovers. This team again needs to understand that we generate our offense through our defense and our board play.”

The Lady Tigers break for the Christmas holiday for three days before resuming practice on Dec. 26 in preparation for one final non-conference game – at Louisiana Tech on Dec. 29 – prior to the start of Southeastern Conference play on Jan. 1.



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