JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Alexis Hyder scored 20 points and had nine rebounds to lead 13th-seeded LSU over 12th-seeded Alabama 58-49 on Wednesday in the opener of the SEC women's tournament.
The Lady Tigers (10-20) play No. 5 seed Kentucky (21-6) in the second round Thursday.
"Obviously this was a great win for our program," said head coach Nikki Fargas. "I thought our team really stuck to the game plan, especially on the defensive end."
LSU, trailing 24-22 at halftime, shot 57 percent in the second half when Hyder scored 14 points. She was 9 of 12 in reaching 20 points for the second time this season. Rina Hill added 10 points.
"We were able to score the basketball inside with the help of Alexis Hyder," added Fargas. "The guard play of Shanice Norton and Rina Hill was tremendous. Anne Pedersen, seeing her knock down shots, it was a great team win. We're grateful to be able to play some more basketball."
Norton and Hyder led the Lady Tigers in rebounding with nine boards apiece. The nine boards was a career-high for Norton, and eight of her rebounds were on the defensive side. Norton also contributed eight points off 4-of-9 shooting. Ann Jones and Jasmine Rhodes scored six points while Anne Pedersen and Akilah Bethel contributed four points apiece.
Hyder's 3-point play and two free throws by Jasmine Rhodes gave LSU its largest lead, 58-48, with 1:11 remaining.
LSU, which tried just one 3-pointer, had 21 assists on 25 field goals.
The Crimson Tide (15-15) shot only 30 percent, making just 3 of 17 tries from 3-point range. Meoshonti Knight scored 15 points and Quanetria Bolton 12.
Head coach Nikki Fargas is now 6-4 in SEC Tournament games. She has registered 1-1 records in the last three seasons and posted a 2-1 showing in her first season at LSU. In the 2012 tournament hosted in Nashville, the Lady Tigers, a No. 4 seed, knocked off Arkansas and Kentucky before falling to Tennessee, 70-58, in the title game. Last year, LSU had the two-round bye and defeated Texas A&M, 71-65, before suffering a 74-54 loss to South Carolina in the semifinals.
The victory avenged a 62-48 loss at Alabama on Jan. 3.
The Lady Tigers held a 31-30 advantage on the boards and both teams scored 22 points in the paint. LSU managed 15 points off 13 Alabama turnovers.
LSU will meet No. 5 seed Kentucky on Thursday at approximately 2:30 p.m. ET, as the match-up will follow the Auburn-Missouri game that begins at noon ET.
The game will be carried by SEC Network with Cara Capuano handling play-by-play duties and Gail Goestenkors serving as the color analyst. Steffi Sorensen will provide the sideline reports during the broadcast. The SEC Network telecast also will be available on www.WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app. All games of the SEC Tournament will also be available on Sirius 145 / XM 190 / Online 963.