CORAL GABLES, Fla. — This time, the LSU women’s basketball team hopes to finish the job.
LSU is on the road for the Miami Holiday Tournament, its second tournament of the 2014-15 season.
In some ways, though, it will be the first.
The Lady Tigers went to Puerto Vallerta, Mexico, in November for the Hardwood Tournament of Hope. The Lady Tigers were scheduled to play three games, but problems between the tournament promoter and local officials left LSU with only one result: a 69-67 loss to Santa Clara.
Sunday, under what should be more dependable conditions, LSU takes on North Carolina-Greensboro at 2:30 p.m. The Lady Tigers will play Monday against either host Miami or Florida A&M.
Both games will be carried by the LSU Sports Radio Network on its flagship station, WBRP-FM 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. The broadcast is also available at www.LSUSports.net for Geaux Zone subscribers.
The pre-conference portion of the the Lady Tigers’ schedule has produced some very un-LSU-like results.
The Lady Tigers are 5-5 heading into the tournament, hoping to build some much-needed momentum going into their Jan. 2 Southeastern Conference opener at Florida.
The emphasis for LSU coach Nikki Caldwell is a familiar one: seeing her Lady Tigers play a complete basketball game.
“I would like to see 40 minutes of intense basketball,” Caldwell said. “We’ve put together 30-minute games. But we’ve had those segments, whether it’s at the start of the game or a segment in the second half, where we’ve allowed our opponents to run away from us.
“I want us to play 40 minutes of quality basketball where we really establish defensive pressure and rebound the basketball. More importantly, we have to make our layups, those easy baskets around the paint and our free throws.”
After struggling to a 2-4 start that included an overtime win over Jackson State, LSU has won three of its last four games.
The Lady Tigers have averaged 75.3 points and won by a margin of 26.7 points during the three victories. Last time out, LSU scored a season’s best 78 points at UC Santa Barbara after the Lady Tigers implemented a new platoon system by dividing their 10 available players into Purple and Gold units.
Sophomore guard Raigyne Moncrief, who will be playing in her native South Florida, is the only player to start in all 10 games for LSU. She is second on the team with 10.4 points per game and leads the Lady Tigers with 7.7 rebounds, the latter tops among SEC guards and ninth in the conference overall.
DaShawn Harden, who came off the bench at UCSB, averages 10.9 points and 2.6 steals. She’s scored in double figures in six consecutive games, averaging 14.0 points per game during that stretch.
“You definitely want consistency out of your players, and that starts in practice with execution so it gets a lot easier when you get to the game,” Caldwell said. “Obviously, we have tremendous guard play led by DaShawn Harden and Raigyne Moncrief. The thing that we’ve been stressing with those two is making your teammates shine and making someone else look good, because those two have the ball in their hands a lot.”
UNC Greenboro (5-7) has lost its past five decisions away from home.
The Spartans are led by Jarae Savage’s 13.6 points and 7.3 rebounds. Lucy Mason averages 13.6 points and 3.7 assists.