There were flashes.
For 30 minutes in last season’s Southeastern Conference tournament, the LSU Lady Tigers stayed shot for shot with South Carolina, a team that would eventually go on to the Women’s Final Four.
That the game eventually unraveled into a 74-54 loss was a typical refrain for the 2014-15 LSU team. So many missed scoring opportunities, so many squandered minutes.
Now, without its best player of the past two seasons, dismissed two-time All-SEC guard Danielle Ballard, fifth-year coach Nikki Fargas is urging her team to become more of a team. One that will be able to pressure its opponents for a full 40 minutes instead of playing in fits and starts.
“Against South Carolina last year they executed our game plan perfectly for 30 minutes,” Fargas said. “Two possessions turned the game for us.
“We’ve got to be a 40-minute team, and everyone has got to buy into what their responsibility is.”
The first 40 minutes of the season is Friday, as LSU plays at Wake Forest for its season opener.
The Lady Tigers expect to be led by preseason All-SEC guard Raigyne Moncrief.
The 5-foot-10 junior, LSU’s top returning scorer and rebounder (11.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg) didn’t play in last week’s 88-57 exhibition win over Union. Moncrief has experienced some tenderness in the knee she injured in the 2014 NCAA tournament, but Fargas expects her to play Friday.
Wake Forest is coming off a dismal 2014-15 season and isn’t expected to be much better this year. The Demon Deacons went 13-20 (2-14 ACC) and were picked to finish second-to-last in the 15-team conference by ACC coaches.
Wake returns four starters, led by 5-9 sophomore guard Amber Campbell (10.7 points, 3.3 rebounds per game).
Reserve forward Stephanie Amichia has left the program, Fargas confirmed Wednesday. Amichia averaged 3.0 points and 3.0 rebounds as a freshman in 24 games. … Jordy Culotta will call the Wake Forest game on radio in place of long-time women’s basketball announcer Patrick Wright. Wright is calling the LSU men’s opener Friday against McNeese State and Saturday’s football game against Arkansas in place of Jim Hawthorne. … Former All-SEC forward Theresa Plaisance has been practicing with LSU this week in preparation for playing in a professional league in Spain. … Former Lady Tigers guard DaShawn Harden has been named director of operations for the women’s basketball program at Vermont. … LSU’s home opener is at 3 p.m. Sunday against Louisiana-Monroe.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.