#41 LSU Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

LSU Tigers

Overall Rank: #41
Conference Rank: #7 SEC
#41 LSU Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview
LSU Team Page


LSU snuck into the NCAA Tournament last season as an 11 seed. They lost to South Florida in the first round, but overall it was a pretty successful season all things considered. The Tigers spent much of the year without star Danielle Ballard. As tough as that was at times last season, it did give other players experience and that bodes well for the 2015-2016. The NCAA Tournament is a solid goal for this group, but the ceiling is higher than that.

2014-15 Record: 17-14, 10-6
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Nikki Caldwell
Coach Record: 834-961 at LSU, 155-75 overall

Raigyne Moncrief is the obvious leader of this team. She is the only returning player to average more than six points per game last year. Moncrief is not a shooter, but she does attack the basket extremely effectively. Last season she attempted 121 free-throws. If she starts knocking down some shots from the perimeter, Moncrief will be extremely tough to defend. Jenna Deemer and Anne Pedersen are the biggest outside shooting threats for LSU. Deemer knocked down 37.2 percent of her 86 three-point attempts. She was a great shooter off of the bench, but now Coach Nikki Caldwell will need her to replace DaShawn Harden’s shooting in the starting lineup. Pedersen was a regular starter last season and the 6-1 wing is a tough matchup because of her size and shooting ability. Rina Hill should remain in the starting lineup, but she is not a scorer. But as long as Deemer or Pedersen are knocking down shots, the backcourt will be dangerous.  

The Tigers will need players like Pedersen to use that size more effectively on the glass though. Without Ballard and Sheila Boykin, there is not much hope that LSU will improve on their barely positive rebounding margin of a season ago. Akilah Bethel was a part-time starter in 2014-2015 and she is relatively strong on the glass. LSU will need her to do some scoring though too during her senior season. Fellow senior Ann Jones will add frontcourt depth. The frontcourt does have a lot of young talent though. Sophomore Stephanie Amichia showed potential as a freshman, averaging 3.0 points and 3.0 rebounds. Coach Caldwell also adds Alexis Hyder, a transfer from North Texas, and Ayana Mitchell, the star of the recruiting class. That does give the frontcourt options, but it remains to be seen if the unit can be productive on both ends of the floor.

Final Projection:
Coach Caldwell has talent here, but there is still a lot to prove. In the brutal SEC, this team will get beat up a little bit. LSU should be able to put up a little better record in non-conference play compared to last season and a .500 record in SEC play should then be enough to reach the NCAA Tournament. Of course, the hopes are higher than that in Baton Rouge, but this team needs to find frontcourt depth and consistent scorers before they can seriously compete in the SEC.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Rina Hill, Junior, Guard, 4.1 points per game
Jenna Deemer, Sophomore, Guard, 5.7 points per game
Raigyne Moncrief, Junior, Guard, 11.8 points per game
Anne Pedersen, Senior, Forward, 5.4 points per game
Akilah Bethel, Senior, Forward, 4.9 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 63.3 (196th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.5 (90, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.4 (138, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.6 (187, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 3.2 (314, 13)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.9 (77, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.9 (263, 9)
Rebound Margin: 1.0 (147, 9)
Assists Per Game: 11.1 (279, 12)
Turnovers Per Game: 17.2 (234, 10)

Madness 2016 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#24 Danielle Ballard

Madness 2015 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#65 Ayanna Mitchell


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