NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Temeka Johnson isn’t sure she’s old enough to be called a “legend,” but if she had to be, the former LSU All-American point guard was glad it was here.
Johnson was honored at halftime Friday of LSU’s 71-65 win over Texas A&M in the Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinals as LSU’s SEC Legend.
Every year at the tournament, a female coach or athlete from each school is recognized at halftime of their team’s first game.
Johnson, 32, led LSU to the 2003 tournament title at Verizon Arena, earning MVP honors along the way.
“It’s an honor to be here,” Johnson said. “We won the whole thing with coach (Sue) Gunter and Bob Starkey (currently an A&M assistant) and a great group of women.”
After the game, Johnson and LSU trainer Micki Collins went onto the court and took a quick snapshot with Starkey as he was preparing to do a postgame radio interview.
A graduate of Bonnabel High School, Johnson is currently living in Baton Rouge, taking a break, she said, from international basketball for the first time in 10 years.
She’ll play in her 11th WNBA season this summer with the Seattle Storm.
LSU coach Nikki Caldwell’s daughter Justice Fargas turned 3-years old Friday, celebrating with a Lady Tigers victory.
Did Justice ask her mom for a win for her birthday?
“No,” Caldwell said, “she just wants ‘Frozen’ stuff.”
Caldwell, her husband Justin Fargas, their family and the team headed back to the LSU hotel for ice cream and cake after the game.
“I told them, ‘You win, we have ice cream and cake. You lose, we don’t,’ ” Caldwell said.
“You understand, if mommy’s happy, we’re all happy.”
Vandy players root for Hill
Though Vanderbilt was eliminated Thursday by Kentucky, two Lady Commodores stayed Friday and cheered on former IMG Academy teammate Rina Hill of LSU.
Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau and Khaleann Caron-Goudreau, a pair of 6-foot-3 freshman forwards from Quebec, were in the front row urging on Hill and waving hand-written signs.
IMG Academy, located in Bradenton, Florida, is also the school of LSU football commitment Saivion Smith, the nation’s No. 1 cornerback prospect for 2016.
Attendance up at last
Attendance for the LSU session was 4,630, much higher than the first three sessions Wednesday and Thursday that averaged just 1,886.
There were two reasons for the attendance spike: Arkansas played South Carolina just before the LSU-A&M game, and the roads finally started improving under sunny skies after the Little Rock area was hit by seven inches of snow and ice Wednesday night.
LSU is now 34-34 in the SEC tournament. … The Lady Tigers are 16-2 when leading at the half this season, 0-10 when trailing and 1-0 when tied. … Danielle Ballard, who led LSU with 22 points and 10 rebounds, now has 952 points for her career. … The loss breaks a 10-year streak of A&M making it to either the Big 12 or SEC tournament semifinals.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.