POSTED: Monday, March 12, 2012 - 5:12am
UPDATED: Monday, March 12, 2012 - 5:19am
BATON ROUGE, LA — After compiling a 22-10 record, a top-20 NCAA RPI and reaching the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game, the LSU women’s basketball team is expected to receive an at-large invitation to the 2012 NCAA Tournament when the field of 64 is unveiled at 6 p.m. CT Monday live on ESPN.
The Lady Tigers and head coach Nikki Caldwell will gather in the Maravich Center to watch the hour-long show, a place where they will be playing in the NCAA First Round on Sunday, March 18. LSU is playing host to the NCAA Tournament first and second rounds for the seventh time since the tournament was expanded to 64 teams.
Tickets for the NCAA Tournament first and second rounds are on sale now at www.LSUtix.net , by calling (800) 960-8587 or (225) 578-2184 or in person on the first floor of the LSU Athletic Administration Building.
Adult all-session ticket books cost $25, which includes admission to all three games of the tournament. Youth all-session ticket books are $15. Group tickets for parties of 10 or more are available for $5 and that includes admission to one session of your choosing.
The first session will be played on Sunday, March 18 with tip times of 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The second round session tips at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20. Single session tickets will be available to purchase beginning at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 13.
LSU will take a four-game home winning streak into the tournament. The Lady Tigers have fared well at home this season, going 12-3 and holding opponents to 32.4 percent shooting. Playing the second half of the SEC season without its starting senior point guard in Destini Hughes, LSU went on a six-game winning streak and posted its first 10-win SEC season since 2009.
The Lady Tigers beat SEC regular season champion Kentucky twice during the year, including a 72-61 win in the SEC Tournament semifinals. In 80 minutes of basketball against the Wildcats this season, LSU trailed only 28 seconds. The Lady Tigers turned in a hard-fought effort against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament title game while playing the final 14:18 without All-SEC forward LaSondra Barrett, who suffered a concussion.
Barrett, who returned to practice this weekend, is excited about watching the selection show this season after LSU missed the tournament last year.
“The way we have played our last 10 games, we have shown that we are a team to reckon with in the tournament,” said Barrett. “Right now it is a feeling of relief that we are in and we are just anxiously awaiting what seed we will be.
“We play well at home and we feel it gives us an advantage with our home crowd and atmosphere. What better way to play in the tournament than in front of our home fans.”
The official NCAA RPI rankings used by the selection committee were announced Sunday evening and LSU drew a No. 18 ranking. The Lady Tigers are the third-highest ranked SEC team in the RPI. LSU moved up two spots since last week’s ranking.
LSU will scrimmage on Monday before gathering to watch the selection show.