Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA: LSU and Georgia treated the Pete Maravich Assembly Center crowd of 6,943 to an outstanding SEC battle on Thursday night.
The Lady Tigers led by 16 at the half before leading by 20 points, 48-28 halfway through the third period. Looking like LSU was putting the game away, Georgia received a spark from their bench and would fight back in the fourth period to tie the contest at 62-62 with 2:25 left. But the Lady Tigers stepped up to outscore the Bulldogs, 11-5 the rest of the way to clinch the 73-67 win.
With the victory, LSU is now 20-4 overall and 8-3 in SEC play..
“We gutted it out again. We made free throws. We got to the foul line a lot. It’s an ugly victory,” Kim Mulkey said. “You’re up 20. I’ve been involved where you’ve been up a lot and you come back, and you lose. We won. Our bench did a good job in the first half. I didn’t think they helped us in the second half."
“Georgia’s bench almost basically beat our starters,” Mulkey said. “We had their starters pretty much contained a guarded. You don’t ever expect Georgia to make that many 3s. They’re last in the league. Opportunity for players to play and it almost basically beat us.”
LSU started the game shooting the ball well taking an early 6-2 lead at the 9:04 mark, but Georgia would respond cutting the Lady Tigers' lead to one, 8-7 with 6:36 left on the clock.
LSU would raise their play another notch, going on an 11-3 run over the next five and a half minutes to increase their lead to 20-11 with only 1:01 left in the period.
Alexis Morris ended the first period by hitting a three pointer with 13 seconds left to give the Lady Tigers a 23-11 advantage.
Both teams struggled to score early in the second before LSU managed a layup by Hannah Gusters and a pair of free throws by Khayla Pointer as the Tigers extended their lead to 27-11 with 7:32 left on the clock.
Baskets would continue to be scarce in the period as over the next three minutes, Georgia managed four points and LSU got a layup from Pointer as the game score stood at 29-15, LSU at the 4:36 officials timeout.
The sloppy play continued late in the first half as both clubs sputtered with missed shots and turnovers. But with LSU up 31-21, Jailin Cherry hit a deep jumper with 10.6 seconds left. Autumn Newby was fouled away from the ball on the play, sending her to the free throw line. Newby made the first of two charity shots, as LSU would rebound her miss allowing Alexis Morris to sink a three pointer at the buzzer giving the Lady Tigers a 37-21 lead at the half.
The third period was loaded with fireworks as it looked like LSU was going to run away with the contest as the Tigers led by twenty, 48-28 with 5:48 left on the clock. The Lady Tigers were able to increase their lead thanks to shaky play by Georgia and by Que Morrison drawing a technical for slamming the ball down after being whistled for a foul. This gave LSU four free throws and the ball. LSU took advantage of the frustration foul to build the huge lead.
But the final four minutes belonged to Georgia as they stepped up their play to go on a 17-7 run, outscoring LSU 24-19 in the third period to pull within 11 points, 56-45.
The Lady Tigers sputtered and the Bulldogs stayed hot on offense to begin the fourth period as Georgia would sink three treys to help trim the LSU lead down to five, 61-56 at the 5:15 mark.
With LSU going scoreless for almost four minutes, Georgia battled back, eliminating the 20 point deficit to tie the game at 62-62 with only 2:25 left in the contest.
Sarah Ashley Barker would hit a jumper to pull the Bulldogs to within one, 65-64 with 1:01 to go, before Khayla Pointer was able to sink both of her free throw attempts after being fouled with 33 seconds left giving LSU a 67-64 lead.
With 19 seconds left, Sarah Barker missed a three point attempt to try to tie the ball game. LSU rebounded and after being fouled, Alexis Morris sank both free throws to increase the Bayou Ben-Gals' lead to five, 69-64 with 14 seconds left.
The Bulldogs raced down the court and Tineya Hylton hit a huge three pointer with nine seconds on the clock, cutting the lead to 69-67.
Alexis Morris found herself at the free throw line with 8 seconds to go and calmly sank both shots, giving LSU a
Tineya Hylton then traveled, turning the ball over and Morris would be sent back to the charity stripe with two seconds left. She would sink both to give the 14th ranked Lady Tigers a huge 73-67 victory over 17th ranked Georgia.
Alexis Morris led the team with 26 points,.. Khayla Pointer added 21 points,.. and Jailin Cherry finished with 18. The Lady Tigers had a tough night shooting from the floor going 21-54 for only 39%. It was LSU's success from behind the three point arc, (4-7 for 57%) and at the free throw line, (27-34 for 79%) that made the difference. The Tigers also had a strong night rebounding as they outrebounded the Bulldogs, 47-29. The stat that stung the most was 19 total turnovers by LSU that allowed Georgia to fight back into the contest.
Next up, LSU will travel to College Station to play Texas A&M on Sunday, Feb. 13th at 2:00pm CT..
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes