Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA: After losing two in a row, the Lady Tigers looked to rebound against the Kentucky Wildcats in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Sunday afternoon and that they did. After three and a half hard fought quarters, the Lady Tigers stepped up their play late in the game to pull away for a 78-69 victory in front of 8,734 loud LSU fans.
“Timing is everything,” Mulkey said. “We went to Florida, we battled, and we came up short. We went to Arkansas, we didn’t play well. We have to give credit to Arkansas. I told them we had to come home and just keep doing what we have been doing. Do what we have been doing but play a little tougher. I thought the crowd was great, I think it was our second largest this year. We had a lot going on to continue a good crowd today, it was a good atmosphere.”
Khayla Pointer led the team with 28 points, scoring 19 of them in the fourth period to help lead her team to victory. Faustine Aifuwa had a great final period, scoring huge baskets late in the contest as she finished with 14 points on the day. Alexis Morris finished with 20 points while Jailin Cherry added 11.
After a poor shooting first half, LSU finally woke up offensively in the fourth period as they ended the game shooting
28-64 from the floor for 44%, while sinking 5-8 from three point land for 63%. LSU also finished strong at the free throw line after struggling early in the contest, hitting 17-24 for 71%. With the win LSU now sits at 18-4 overall and 6-3 in the SEC.
Kentucky started with the hot hand early as Jada Walker hit a three pointer to give the Lady Wildcats an early 3-0 lead. Over the next four minutes, Kentucky extended their lead to 11-6 as Walker continued to give LSU problems as she sank two more baskets.
LSU answered with a 7-2 run to tie the game at 13-13 at the 2:50 mark thanks to tough defense and solid rebounding by the Lady Tigers.
Over the final two minutes, LSU would outscore Kentucky 10-4 to lead 23-17 at the end of the first period.
The second period was played at a much slower pace, which caused problems for the Lady Tigers as they struggled with their half court offense.
After holding a six point lead, 28-22 at the 6:39 mark, Kentucky would begin to chip away at the LSU lead. The Lady Wildcats outscored the Tigers 12-5 over the final three minutes taking a 34-33 lead into the locker room at the half.
Thanks to a strong second period, Kentucky finished the first 20 minutes shooting 52% from the floor going 14-27, while the Lady Tigers cooled down to finish hitting only 12-33 from the floor for 36%. The big stat of the first half was free throws. LSU left five points at the line as they only hit 6-11 for 55%.
Alexis Morris led the team at the half with 13 points. Khayla Pointer finished with 7 points, while Faustine Aifuwa added 6.
LSU started the third period playing with intensity, going on a 6-0 run to take a 39-34 lead with 7:53 left on the clock. But Kentucky would fight back to tie the contest at 39-39 as Emma King's drained three pointer led the Wildcats' run.
The game suddenly changed into a track meet as both squads would go blow for blow, trading baskets until the officials timeout at 4:08 with LSU leading 46-43.
The Lady Tigers would cool off late in the period and Kentucky took advantage, storming back to grab the lead with 58 seconds left in the period, 50-48.
With LSU sputtering, the Wildcats added two free throws by Jada Walker to extend Big Blue's lead to 53-48 at the end of the third period.
In a game that most expected LSU to win handily, it ended up turning into a back and forth SEC slugfest, as Kentucky's
physical defensive play gave LSU fits.
Khayla Pointer then put the team on her shoulders and scored five straight points to tie the game at 53-53 as the Maravich
Center crowd would erupt with 7:37 left in the contest. Pointer ended up scoring 19 huge points in the fourth quarter.
Neither team would back down as they continued to trade baskets, until Pointer would score a layup off of a turnover giving LSU a three point lead, 63-60 at the 4:48 mark.
Khayla Pointer once again got the LSU fans cheering on their feet as she would steal a pass and take it the length of the floor to the basket, laying it in to extend the Tigers' advantage to 65-60.
After Dre'una Edwards drained a three pointer for the Lady Wildcats, LSU quickly answered when Faustine Aifuwa scored on a layup and drew a foul. Aifuwa missed her charity shot, but Pointer would make up for it on the next possession, hitting a huge jumper to give LSU a 69-63 lead with 2:20 left on the clock.
LSU began raising their play as they responded to the roar of 'LSU! LSU! LSU! from the Tiger crowd. Aifuwa banked in another layup to extend the lead to seven, 71-64 at the 1:48 mark.
The Bayou Ben-Gals would then take care of business at the free throw line, finishing off the Wildcats to end their two game slide with an exciting 78-69 SEC victory.
Next up the Tigers will travel to Oxford to due battle with the Ole Miss Rebels on Monday, Feb. 7th. Tipoff is set for 6:00pm and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.
Photos Below By: Michael Bacigalupi
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes