POSTED: Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 7:15pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 7:19pm
Nashville, TN — A quest for a third Southeastern Conference Tournament championship begins for No. 4 seed LSU at 6:30 p.m. CT Friday as the Lady Tigers take on the winner of No. 5 seed Arkansas-No. 12 seed Ole Miss in the quarterfinals from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.
The contest will be televised live on Fox Sports Net and streamed on ESPN3.com with Dave Baker and Maria Taylor handling the call. The LSU Sports Radio Network pregame show goes on the air at 6 p.m. with Patrick Wright calling the action. Live streaming audio is available in the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net and live statistics are available at LSUsports.net/livestats.
Arkansas and Ole Miss face off in the first round at 6:30 p.m. CT Thursday.
The Lady Tigers arrived in Nashville Wednesday afternoon, went through a short practice in Bridgestone Arena that night and finished final preparations with a practice at Vanderbilt on Thursday. Head coach Nikki Caldwell said the team is excited about the opportunity of playing in a tournament that is wide-open.
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"Opportunity, there's a great opportunity in front of us," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "This is the most wide open that I've seen the SEC Tournament in a long time when you can look at Alabama almost beating us, and then Alabama having that win against Kentucky. You talk about the one through eight. You've got eight teams whose RPI are under 40.
"This is a very competitive conference, and there's no clear cut winner but everyone is going to be hungry to continue to play another game and another game to get to that championship game on Sunday. The enthusiasm is surrounding not only our team, but it's filtering into our fans. They're extremely excited, and we travel well."
LSU posted a 20-9 overall record in the regular season and a 10-6 mark in SEC play to finish in a three-way tie for fourth place in the final standings. The Lady Tigers are seeking an appearance in the SEC Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2009 after being ousted in the second round the last two seasons.
Senior forward LaSondra Barrett has taken her game to a new level. The first-team All-SEC recipient is averaging 14.9 points and 8.1 rebounds in the last seven games where LSU has posted a 6-1 record. Barrett has reached double-figures in seven straight games and tallied four double-doubles during that stretch.
Junior guard Adrienne Webb continues to shine from the perimeter. Webb is posting 9.1 points per game overall and reached double-figures in seven of her last nine contests. Senior forward Courtney Jones has combined for 24 points in her last two contests.
As a team, LSU boasts one of the nation's best field goal percentage defenses, holding opponents to 34.0 percent shooting. Six of LSU's last seven opponents have failed to score over 52 points on the Lady Tigers.
Should Arkansas (21-7) defeat Ole Miss, the Razorbacks and Lady Tigers will be meeting for a third time this season. On Feb. 16, LSU snapped Arkansas' eight-game win streak with a 50-42 win in Fayetteville. LSU and Arkansas have only met once in SEC Tournament play with that win going to the Lady Tigers in the 2003 second round.
Should Ole Miss (12-17) pull the upset against the Razorbacks, LSU and Ole Miss will meet for the first time since the SEC opener on New Year's Day when the Lady Tigers scored an 83-44 win in Oxford. LSU owns a 5-0 record against the Rebels in SEC Tournament action.