Final Four Streak Ends: LSU Women Lose to Louisville

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 10:46pm

The sixth-seed LSU women's basketball team gave third-seed Louisville all it could handle on Tuesday night in the Maravich Center, but the Cardinals duo of Angel McCoughtry and Candyce Bingham was enough to get the Cardinals to the Sweet 16, 62-52.

With a roster of six freshmen and only one senior, LSU (19-11) had its record streak of five-consecutive Women's Final Fours come to an end.

Louisville (31-4) advanced to face No. 2-seed Baylor in Memphis on Saturday.

McCoughtry scored a game-high 28 points on 9-of-22 shooting and 10-of-11 free throws, while Bingham added 17 points.

The rest of the Cardinals were 6-of-15 shooting for 17 points. Louisville shot 45.1 percent from the field (23 of 51) and 15-of-17 from the line.

LSU survived Louisville's 1-2-2 full-court press for the first 10 minutes, keeping the game tied at 14-14 despite losing starter LaSondra Barrett with two fouls less than four minutes into the contest.

Meanwhile LSU's defense forced five turnovers and took its first lead, 19-16, since the opening basket with consecutive jumpers by Morris.

Hightower scored three baskets for LSU to expand the advantage to five, 25-20. However, McCoughtry and Bingham combined for a 9-0 Cardinals run that put the Lady Tigers behind at the break, 33-29.

Despite leaving the court with an injured hand, McCoughtry quickly returned and scored Louisville's first four points of the second half. Bingham added a transition basket in the paint that put the Cardinals ahead, 39-33.

Hightower led LSU's comeback, scoring a jumper off the glass against a triple-team in the post and hitting a free throw that got LSU within three. Barrett converted a turnover into a layup and Hightower added another basket that gave LSU its first lead of the second half, 40-39.

Another layup by Barrett gave the Lady Tigers their final lead of the game, 42-41. But Louisville point guard Deseree' Byrd's jumper in the paint — the first by a Cardinal other than McCoughtry and Bingham in 20 minutes of action — started a 10-3 run that LSU couldn't overcome.

A three pointer by Louisville guard Becky Burke put the Cardinals up by seven, 54-47, with under six minutes to play.