Lady Tigers push past Auburn _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU coach Nikki Caldwell speaks to guard Danielle Ballard during Monday's game in Baton Rouge.

AUBURN, Ala. The LSU women’s basketball team scored 10 of the last 13 points over the final four minutes to collect a 60-49 victory over Auburn on Thursday at Auburn Arena.

The victory allowed LSU (13-9, 7-3 Southeastern Conference), winners of five of its past six, to vault into a third place tie with Mississippi State in the SEC standings. LSU also picked up its sixth straight victory and has won 17 of the last 22 meetings over Auburn (9-14, 0-10 SEC) dating back to the 1998-99 season.

“Defensively, we knew that Auburn has really done a nice job of disrupting the SEC,” coach Nikki Caldwell said. “They’ve held four or five teams below 60 points, so we knew that it was going to be a battle. It was really going to boil down to the team that disrupted the other one the most. We were able to turn them over and get some transition baskets going. We were able to execute off those turnovers, and I feel like that was the difference in the game.”

Danielle Ballard had a team-leading 14 points during the second half and reached double figures for the sixth consecutive game. She added seven rebounds, six steals and three assists.

Raigyne Moncrief had 11 points and paired with Ballard to score LSU’s last 12 points of the contest. Anne Pedersen added 11 points.

Jenna Deemer and DaShawn Harden tallied 10 of LSU’s 14 points off the bench. Deemer notched six points courtesy of a pair of three-pointers.

LSU put together a 22-for-58 shooting effort and went 14-for-14 at the free-throw line with 13 of the 14 foul shots coming during the second half.

LSU also forced Auburn into 24 turnovers and held a 28-15 edge in points off turnovers.

Auburn was fueled by Brandy Montgomery’s game-leading 23 points, and five of her six 3-pointers came during the second half. Auburn’s leading scorer and rebounder, Tra’Cee Tanner, was limited to seven points and six rebounds.

LSU led for a majority of the opening half and grabbed a 25-18 advantage at halftime. The trio of Boykin, Deemer and Pedersen scored 19 of LSU’s 25 points on a combined 8-of-16 shooting clip.

With LSU ahead 27-23 at the 17:54 mark of the second half, the Lady Tigers ripped off 11 consecutive points over the next 2:43. Boykin ignited the flurry with second-chance layup, while Moncrief followed with a traditional three-point play on a driving layup to make it 32-23.

Auburn turned to Montgomery, who had three 3-pointers over a 1:47 span to draw the home team back within 38-32 with 12:05 remaining.

Auburn as close as 44-41 with 8:21 to go before LSU knocked down six straight free throws courtesy of Pedersen, Ballard and Jasmine Rhodes to extend the lead back to nine points at the 5:46 mark.

Once again, Auburn would look to Montgomery for a rally. She drained her fifth 3-pointer of the second half, which forced LSU into a timeout with a 50-46 lead at the 4:24 mark.

Out of the timeout, Ballard found Moncrief for a jumper to push the LSU advantage back to six points.

That sparked a 10-3 finishing kick for LSU.

Ballard sank a pair of free throws and added a tip-in in traffic to place LSU back up by double figures, 56-46, with 2:12 left. A Moncrief jumper off a screen and Ballard driving layup gave LSU its winning margin of 60-49.

“I have to commend our team because we made a run, and they made a run,” Caldwell said. “It was a game of both teams fighting. The SEC is a competitive conference. Every night, you have to come out and be ready to execute your game plan especially in late game situations. We did a nice job of finishing out the game. We were able to put the ball in the hands of (Danielle) Ballard and (Raigyne) Moncrief in late game situations and have positive results. That’s key for us.”

LSU will complete its stretch of three games over a seven-day span hosting Alabama on Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Maravich Center.

The game will be televised by the SEC Network.