Seimone Augustus scored a career-high 33 points, but No. 3 LSU needed a last-second deflection by 5-foot-3 Temeka Johnson to escape with a 71-70 victory over No. 8 Baylor in the Tip-Off Classic yesterday in Austin.
LSU (3-0) led by as many as 21, then found itself scrambling after Baylor (0-1) charged back behind Steffanie Blackmon, Emily Niemann and Sophia Young.
Augustus's final basket gave LSU a 71-69 lead with 1 minute 19 seconds left. Young's free throw cut the lead to one and Baylor got the ball back on a shot clock violation with 26 seconds remaining. The Lady Bears worked the ball around the perimeter and had it on the right side when Johnson knocked it loose from Niemann.
Baylor's Chelsea Whitaker ran it down but could do nothing more than throw up a desperation shot that hit the side of the backboard as she was falling out of bounds.
But even getting the game to that point was an accomplishment for Baylor considering the way Augustus was playing. The leading vote-getter on the preseason all-American team, Augustus made 14 of 21 shots, hitting everything from fadeaways to pull-up jumpers to put-backs, and added six rebounds and three assists.
"I knew they were going to take one shot and Emily Niemann had the hot hand," Johnson said. "She has a really quick release, so it was either let her get her shot off or get my hand on the ball.
"So I tried everything I could to get my hand on the ball. I did, thank God."
Johnson finished with 15 points, 9 assists and 4 steals.
Blackmon led Baylor with 22 points, 14 in the second half. Young scored 21 and Niemann scored 15, including three second-half three-pointers to spark the Lady Bears' comeback.
* TEXAS 84, PENN STATE 69: Tiffany Jackson scored 15 points after sitting out most of the first half and the No. 2 Longhorns got a career game from senior Mercedes Williams in beating the No. 21 Lady Lions in the Tip-Off Classic in Austin.
Williams, a senior who averaged just 2.5 points in her first three years, gave the Longhorns a huge lift with 15 points and nine rebounds, both career highs. Coco Reed added 12 points for Texas, while Heather Schreiber and Jamie Carey each scored 11.
* DUKE 82, SOUTH FLORIDA 50: Freshman point guard Wanisha Smith (Riverdale Baptist) scored 20 points in her first collegiate start and junior Mistie Williams had 10 points and 10 rebounds to help the No. 6 Blue Devils win at home in the second round of the preseason WNIT.
Monique Currie (Bullis) added 17 points and Jessica Foley 12 for the Blue Devils (2-0).
* NOTRE DAME 73, NEBRASKA 57: Jacqueline Batteast scored 24 points and Teresa Borton added 13 points and 11 rebounds Sunday to lead the No. 10 Fighting Irish over the visiting Cornhuskers in the second round of the Preseason WNIT.
The Irish will host No. 6 Duke (2-0) in a semifinal game Wednesday.
* OHIO ST. 76, SAINT JOSEPH'S 29: In Columbus, Ohio, Brandie Hoskins was perfect from the field and nearly flawless directing the Buckeyes' fast break to help No. 10 Ohio State top the Hawks in the second round of the preseason WNIT.
The Buckeyes (2-0) advanced to host a semifinal game on Wednesday night against Arizona.
Hoskins hit all five of her shots from the field for 11 points and added four assists and two blocked shots, even thought she sat out most of the second half.
* ARIZONA 68, RICE 43: Shawntinice Polk had 18 points and 16 rebounds to lead the No. 24 Wildcats past the Lady Owls in the preseason WNIT, Arizona's 29th straight win at home.
Dee-Dee Wheeler added 12 points for Arizona (2-0).
* MINNESOTA 77, UNLV 69: In Seattle, Jamie Broback scored 28 points to help the No. 14 Golden Gophers defeat the Lady Rebels in the first game of the WBCA Classic.