Da Boot Sports
By: David Penn
Baton Rouge, LA - Legendary LSU Tiger Seimone Augustus had over 9,000 fans on their feet as LSU honored the Tiger great on Thursday night before the 13th ranked LSU Lady Tigers (14-2, 2-1) would do battle with the #1 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (14-1, 2-1) in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. A contest that very well could be a preview of the 2022 SEC Championship game.
The top ranked Gamecocks would stifle a late LSU rally and pull out the win, 66-60. Coach Mulkey said after the game, “That was the difference in the game (rebounding) and I knew it would be. That’s big girl basketball. You have to give them credit, you’re in there battling and they just get them.” Mulkey also said that LSU fought to the bitter end but “sometimes you’re just not good enough to win that game," but that LSU has come a long way.
The Lady Tigers started the game with hot hands making each of their first 7 shots and opened up a 19-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Gamecocks held a 19-11 advantage in rebounding but the Lady Tigers were tough on defense and forced the South Carolina into 13 turnovers in the first half to help LSU take a 34-28 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Gamecocks would storm back in the third quarter with a 17-4 run and take a 3 point lead with 4:37 to play going ahead 41-38. The Tigers continued to play good defense but the big disparity that developed over the game was how well the Gamecocks rebounded the ball and score with ease under the basket, forcing the Tigers into foul trouble. Despite that, LSU only trailed by 3 heading into the final quarter setting up a fight to the final buzzer.
As valiantly as the Lady Tigers fought in the final period, the closest that LSU could get was within 3 points with South Carolina doing their part on the defensive boards to deny LSU second shot opportunities.
The Gamecocks held a 48-24 advantage in rebounding and had 32 attempts from the free throw line while LSU only
attempted 7 from the goodwill stripe.
LSU was led in scoring by Khayla Pointer with 22 points while Alexis Morris finished with 14 points, and Faustine Aifuwa added 12 on the night. The Gamecocks were led by Aliyah Boston's 19 points and 18 rebounds,.. Zia Cooke finished with 17 points and Destanni Henderson added 16 points for the Cocks.
Next up LSU will travel to Auburn (8-5) on Sunday, Jan. 9th. Tipoff is set for 4:00pm. The game will be televised on SEC Network.
Photos Below By: Michael Bacigalupi
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes