Vanderbilt vs LSU
69 - 78
March 8, 2003
Little Rock, Ark.
SEC Tournament


NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Seimone Augustus scored 20 second-half points, 10 in the final four minutes, to lead No. 6 LSU to a 78-69 victory over No. 15 Vanderbilt in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Saturday.

Aiysha Smith led LSU (26-3) with 21 points but Augustus led the comeback victory over Vanderbilt, who had eliminated the Lady Tigers from the tournament the past three seasons.

LSU trailed 35-31 at halftime, but the comeback set up a tournament final against No. 3 Tennessee at 3 p.m. Saturday at Alltel Arena.

Vanderbilt, who made 11 turnovers in the second half to LSU's three, went six minutes without a basket after Jenni Benningfield gave the Commodores (21-9) a 63-59 lead with 6:41 to go.

LSU capitalized by going on a 15-4 run, during which Augustus put the Lady Tigers on top to stay 68-67 with a jumper in the lane. She made six free throws in the final 1:35 and added two jumpers in LSU's run.

The Commodores' only basket in the final 6:41 was Abi Ramsey's jumper with 45 seconds left. Chantelle Anderson led Vanderbilt with 24 points.

Aside from the tournament losses the previous three years, LSU had lost seven of eight meetings to Vanderbilt since the 1999-2000 season.

LSU took its first lead at 44-43 with 17:18 left in the game on a pair of free throws by Augustus, who was fouled on a fast break while Vanderbilt point guard Ashley McElhiney was writhing in pain on the other end.

McElhiney returned, but while she was out LSU used a full-court press. Vanderbilt broke it on the first attempt and reclaimed the lead on a basket by Anderson, but the Lady Tigers' press after two free throws by Smith frustrated the Commodores.

LSU pushed the lead to 49-45 on a 3-point play by Temeka Johnson with 15:49 left.

Benningfield, who finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, momentarily gave Vanderbilt the lead at 51-50, but the Lady Tigers used another five-point spurt for a 55-51 lead with 11:57 remaining.

Anderson hit two free throws and Benningfield scored to tie the game at 55-55 and Benningfield's basket gave Vanderbilt a 63-59 lead. Ramsey took a 3-pointer for a seven-point lead, but she missed and Augustus took over the game.

Augustus made no shots in five attempts in the first half, but she was 6-of-8 and she made all eight free throws in the second half.




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