BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU coach Nikki Caldwell was confident LaSondra Barrett was more than ready to return from her concussion a couple of weeks ago, and the Lady Tigers’ leading scorer and rebounder came through.
Barrett had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and fifth-seeded LSU held off No. 12 seed San Diego State, 64-56, Sunday night in the first round of the women’s NCAA tournament.
Courtney Jones added 13 points and Jeanne Kenney 10 for LSU (23-10), which trailed by six midway through the second half but surged in front for good with a 12-0 run that lasted nearly 7 minutes.
LSU, which plays fourth-seeded Penn State in the second round on Tuesday night, shot 38.3 percent (18 of 47) but made 26 of 35 free throws while San Diego State (25-7) missed 13 of 20 foul shots.
Courtney Clements scored 17 for the Aztecs, but only three in the second half. Chelsea Hopkins added 14 points.
No. 4 Penn State 85, No. 13 UTEP 77: Penn State guards Maggie Lucas and Alex Bentley have been taking over games all season, and UTEP was powerless to change that in the NCAA tournament.
Lucas scored 23 points, Bentley had 21 to lead the Nittany Lions (25-6).
Gloria Brown had 18 points and 10 rebounds for UTEP (29-4), which had not lost by more than three points all season before running into Penn State, the Big Ten regular-season champion.