Lady Tigers Bury UNC-Asheville 77-39

The Associated Press
Sunday, March 18, 2007; 12:37 AM

AUSTIN, Texas -- For a team in turmoil, the LSU Lady Tigers sure cruised through the first round of the NCAA tournament. RaShonta LeBlanc and Quianna Chaney each scored 15 points, hitting all of third-seeded LSU's season-high nine 3-pointers in a 77-39 win over No. 14 North Carolina-Asheville on Saturday night.

The first-round game in the Fresno Regional was LSU's first without charismatic coach Pokey Chatman, who abruptly resigned March 7 amid allegations of an improper relationship with a former player.

Longtime assistant Bob Starkey is leading the Lady Tigers (27-7) on their quest for a fourth consecutive trip to the Final Four. He rarely even got off his chair as he calmly watched most of the game with his right hand under his chin.

Several hundred LSU fans made the trip from Baton Rouge with Mardi Gras beads and gold pom-poms. If the low-key Starkey was nervous before the game, he didn't show it as he sat coolly on the bench with his legs crossed.

The first sign of the coming mismatch? The opening tip, when UNC-Asheville sent 5-foot-6 guard Anna Baker against the Lady Tigers' 6-6 Sylvia Fowles.

Fowles didn't even have to jump.

Kyla Jones and Katie Baldwin each scored seven points for UNC-Asheville (21-12), which committed 25 turnovers and shot just 15-of-55 from the field.

© 2007 The Associated Press