#18 LSU Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

LSU Tigers

Overall Rank: #18
Conference Rank: #5 SEC
#18 LSU Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

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Resilience sums up the LSU women’s basketball program and their performance last season. The Tigers had a bit of a roller coaster ride through the conference schedule finishing at 7-9. However, the Tigers found a way to get rolling at the right time and fought their way back to the Sweet 16 once again under the leadership of Coach Nikki Caldwell. The 2014-15 season marks year four for coach Caldwell and the expectations are high for a run to the Elite Eight and beyond in the NCAA Tournament.

2013-14 Record: 21-13, 7-9
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach:  Nikki Caldwell
Coach Record: 66-35 at LSU, 137-60 overall

The backcourt duo of Raigyne Moncrief and Danielle Ballard are going to be the leaders of this team and the key to the overall success of LSU offensively this season. Moncrief had an excellent freshman season where she scored just over 10 points per game and was pretty efficient shooting wise at just under 43 percent. The key for Moncrief will be her recovery from her knee injury toward the end of last season. Ballard is a good contrast to Moncrief. She has a great knack for getting rebounds and averaged just under seven rebounds per game for the Tigers. Also, Ballard has the potential to be an All-American if she puts together all phases of her game. Sophomore guard Rina Hill is going to be key as well in providing even more strength to the backcourt. She got valuable playing time in the NCAA Tournament while Moncrief was out.

The ability to replace Theresa Plaisance and her dominant production down in the post is a very important question for the Tigers to answer this season. Plaisance scored over 15 points per game and had the ability to step out and hit the open perimeter shot that made life miserable for opposing teams. It is going to be up to players like senior forward Sheila Boykin and incoming freshman Stephanie Amichia to come in pick up the lost production of Plaisance. The Tigers also are going to need to be better in limiting the oppsition’s success from the outside as teams averaged two more made three-pointers per game than LSU did last season. In an ideal scenario, if the Tigers can get these numbers reversed and have a plus two or better difference in made three-point shots that will take some pressure off of LSU.

Final Projection:
The schedule sets up for the Tigers to get off to a fast start. The first few games are very winnable and should allow them time to form the right chemistry that they will need. The first test of the non-conference schedule is at home against Rutgers on November 22nd. A neutral court matchup in Puerto Rico against UTEP is an under the radar, tough matchup for the Tigers that they can’t take lightly. In conference play, LSU will have to hit the ground running as the South Carolina Gamecocks visit the Maravich Assembly Center on January 4th and then a trip to Texas A&M on January 11th will be a big time test. On January 22nd, a trip to Tennessee will be another great litmus test early to gauge where the Tigers stand within the SEC landscape. Overall, if LSU can create a little more depth and form strong chemistry earlier in the season, they will be in the mix again for a trip to the Sweet 16 and beyond in the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Raigyne Moncreif, Sophomore, Guard, 10.1 points per game
Danielle Ballard, Junior, Guard, 10.7 points per game
Rina Hill, Sophomore, Guard, 3.2 points per game
Sheila Boykin, Senior, Forward 1.6 points per game
Stephanie Amichia, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.0 (110th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.1 (116, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.8 (96, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.8 (98, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.0 (278, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.9 (76, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.3 (83, 3)
Rebound Margin: 3.4 (88, 7)
Assists Per Game: 12.5 (234, 13)
Turnovers Per Game: 17.1 (253, 12)


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