By David Dawson
BATON ROUGE, La. - The Vanderbilt women came to the wrong place to try to break out of their shooting slump.
The Commodores historically struggle offensively when they travel to Baton Rouge, and that held true again Thursday night when the Commodores fell to LSU, 64-44, at the Maravich Center.
The loss dropped Vanderbilt to 0-3 in the SEC, marking the first time in head coach Melanie Balcomb's tenure that the Commodores (8-7 overall) have opened conference play with three straight losses.
LSU (8-7, 2-1) generated 29 points from Vanderbilt's 24 turnovers, which proved to be the difference in a game in which neither team shot the ball effectively.
"We kept trying different combinations tonight, but we couldn't seem to find a group that really got on track offensively," said Balcomb. "We even tried playing two point guards at the same time to offset LSU's pressure, but that didn't work too well."
Vanderbilt has now lost six straight games on LSU's home floor, and has been held to 59 points or less in six of its past eight trips to Baton Rouge.
DeShawn Harden scored a game-high 18 points for LSU, and Raigyne Moncrief added 13 points and nine rebounds.
Vanderbilt, which shot just 34 percent from the floor, was led by Paris Kea with 10 points. Heather Bowe had 10 rebounds.
The game was tied 38-38 at the midway mark of the second half before the Commodores endured a scoreless drought that lasted almost seven minutes. LSU reeled off 14 straight points in that span to build a 52-38 lead. Bowe finally ended the dry spell with a basket in the paint, but by that point, LSU was in control.
"At times tonight, we tried to put in our best defensive players," said Balcomb, "and that worked to some degree. But that group had trouble scoring."
Vanderbilt, which scored just 49 points in an eight-point loss to Tennessee at home on Monday night, shot 33 percent from the floor in the first half and 36 percent in the second.
Vanderbilt trailed 28-23 at the end of a tightly-contest -- although somewhat ugly -- first half. The Commodores made just 8-of-24 shots from the floor in the first 20 minutes, and LSU also struggled, making 11-of-28 attempts (39 percent).
The Commodores easily won the rebounding battle, 22-14, in the first 20 minutes, with Bowe pulling down eight boards.
Neither team managed to put together a significant scoring run in the first half, although LSU did generate a little 6-1 spurt near the end of the half to build a 25-19 lead.
NOTES: LSU's Danielle Ballard, returning from a suspension, had four points. ... The Commodores had not opened SEC play with two straight losses since the 2002-03 season, which was Melanie Balcomb's first year in Nashville. That season, Vanderbilt recovered in a big way, winning nine of their final 12 conference games, advancing to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament and to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.