Originally created 02/28/05

LSU wraps up championship



BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU coach Pokey Chatman wrapped up her first season in style - leading No. 1 LSU to a regular-season championship for the first time in school history.

"This one's for you Sue," Chatman said Sunday as the championship banner unfurled after LSU's 76-52 victory over Florida. "Because I know you were with me."

Chatman's tribute was to Sue Gunter, the longtime LSU coach, who retired last year after falling seriously ill. Chatman was Gunter's assistant for 13 years.

Seimone Augustus led LSU (27-1, 14-0) with 19 points and Quianna Chaney added 16. Temeka Johnson, who ranks first in assists in the SEC, added a school record-tying 15 assists.

LSU became the 13th SEC team to complete the conference schedule with a perfect record. The Tigers unfurled the regular-season banner from the rafters of the Maravich Center immediately after the game to a standing ovation from the almost capacity crowd.

"It's a great accomplishment for this program," Johnson said. "We've come very, very far."

The LSU players hoisted Chatman onto their shoulders, but she pleaded to be put down.

"That's too scary," she laughed.

Tashia Morehead had 17 points to lead Florida (14-13, 5-9), which lost its third straight. The Gators played without forward Bernice Mosby, the team's leading scorer at 15.5 points, who did not play so she could attend to personal matters.

"She tried to put this team on her back," Florida coach Carolyn Peck said of Morehead. "She played a number of different positions for us, inside and out."

Johnson, who ranks fifth nationally in assists, tied the school record for assists in a single game for the third time. She initially set the mark in 2002.

"I love doing that," Johnson said. "We have so much talent on this team and I take it as my responsibility to see to it they all get involved."

Johnson, who scored eight points and had six steals, moved up two spots to ninth in the NCAA rankings for career assists.

"She's a great player," Augustus said. "She means a lot to this program and to her teammates."

Florida trailed 16-13 midway through the first half, but were quickly down by 11. LSU held off the Gators' attempts to rally and led 39-26 at halftime.

Florida missed its first seven shots and had six turnovers to open the second half before Danielle Santos made a pair of free throws. By then, LSU led 51-28.

The Gators used an 11-1 run capped by Morehead's 3-pointer with 9:43 left to cut LSU's lead to 52-37. It was the closest Florida would get.

The Tigers shot 54 percent and outscored the Gators 30-14 in the paint. LSU scored 32 points off 23 Florida turnovers.