LSU Women’s Basketball Take a 73-66 Gut-Wrenching Loss in a Combative Overtime Battle Against the Florida Gators
By: Brittney Achord
Da Boot Sports!
BATON ROUGE, LA - Despite the combative and relentless effort put up by the Lady Tigers in Thursday night’s Bayou Battle against the Florida Gators, the LSU Women’s Basketball team would take a 73-66 gut-wrenching loss in overtime. This is the fourth time the Lady Tigers have taken a game into overtime this season, and the first time they have come up short. With the loss the Lady Tigers fall to 8-9 on the season and 6-5 in the SEC.
The Lady Tigers showed perseverance in an unyielding 45 minute battle.
Senior Khayla Pointer put up a season high 27 points, two rebounds, two assists, and one steal.
Senior Faustine Aifuwa was a boisterous powerhouse on the court with her 17th career, seventh in the season, double double with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and one block. She is now three blocks shy of surpassing Julie Gross’s 178 blocks on the all-time blocks lists.
Two key players would foul out in overtime, but not without electrifying the court with their dominating tenacity. Senior Awa Trasi would put up 10 points, six rebounds, two steals, and shot 4-4 from the free throw line. Sophomore Tiara Young continued to show her growth and determination putting up nine points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Here is the Da Boot Sports game breakdown:
The Lady Tigers took the court with determination and energy that lit up the PMAC. Defensively they were suffocating. Offensively they were better inside the paint than they have been in games past. They were moving the ball, allowing more players involved, which allowed more plays to take place.
19 seconds into the game, Trasi put up a forceful layup that set the tone of the first quarter. After a steal by Cherry, the Gators would foul, sending her to the free throw line where she would add two more points for the Lady Tigers quickly making it a 4-0 game. The Lady Tigers would continue to push relentlessly up and down the court making it hard for the Gators to control the ball offensively. With 4:27 left in the 1st quarter, back-to-back jumpers by Young and Aifuwa gave the Lady Tigers their biggest lead of the night, 12-4. The Gators would answer going on a 10-4 run finishing out the quarter, with LSU clinging to a 16-14 lead.
The Lady Tigers would start to lose their rhythm in the 2nd quarter only shooting 15.4% in field goals and 25% from 3-point range. The Gators would be the first to put points on the board and continue to control the ball throughout the quarter. After back-to-back jumpers by the Gators, Aifuwa would bring the game back to a tie at 18-18 with an unyielding layup. The Gators would then go on a 7-0 run to finish out the second quarter, but it was Pointer who proved the persistence of this Tiger team with an electrifying 3-pointer to end the half. The Tigers went into the locker room trailing 25-21.
Aifuwa continued to show her tenacity in this game, amplifying the energy on the court, with a dynamic layup only 28 seconds into the third quarter. The Tigers found their rhythm and momentum answering basket-for-basket throughout the quarter. After a defensive rebound by Cherry, the ball would be put in the hands of Trasi who would score on a jumper to bring the game to within two points, 28-26. The Gators would answer back with a layup just before the media timeout. The Lady Tigers would continue to show perseverance through the remainder of the quarter, however the Gators would come out of the third quarter leading 41-37.
Pointer ruthlessly opened the fourth quarter with a layup on a foul turning into a 3-point play, followed by another layup to give the Lady Tigers back the lead 42-41. The Gators would answer back with a 4-0 run, but Young would fight back with a ferocious layup on the fast break to bring the Lady Tigers back to within one. With 4:24 left in the game, Aifuwa would put up a jumper followed by an assist, steal, and back-to-back layups by Young helping the Lady Tigers lead once again, 52-51. Pointer would finish out the fourth quarter with a layup, fouled by Rickards and would score on the free throw to bring the Tigers into their fourth overtime battle of the season.
The Tigers put up an intense five minute fight in overtime. Aifuwa, Cherry, Pointer, and Young would all put points on the board for the Lady Tigers, but LSU would fall into foul trouble. Trasi and Young would foul out of the game, and lose control of the ball with 40 seconds left in overtime. The Gators would go on a 6-0 run coming out with the win over the Lady Tigers 73-66.
In a post-game interview, Coach Fargas stated, “I thought we had some energy plays there. I thought we started the game with a lot of energy. We were up 10-4 and then the fouls started, so I had to take my starters out and they went on a run. We only scored six more points after that. Going into the second quarter, you have to keep that momentum going and when we lost it at the end of the first quarter, it was really difficult getting it back. I said to my staff ‘We can’t lose momentum, we are a momentum type flowing team.’ We tried to generate enough defensive pressure in our full-court presses and things like that. We turned them over 18 times, but our inability to score in the second quarter really hurt us. It’s kind of defeating when you come out the gates quick and then your second quarter is really flat. I think our offensive mindset is to play with our post game and things like that. We only had six assists on the night and that’s not good enough. A good offensive team has anywhere from 14 to 15 assists a game and we only had six. We got outrebounded, that’s a problem too. I thought we missed some rebounds that led to putbacks for them. We also lost Briggs way too much. She and Smith are two of the best combo guards in our game. You have to know where they are at all times on the floor. You have to be aware of their ability to score the basketball and be aware they are going to take a lot of shots, but let’s make it as difficult as we can and I didn’t feel like we did that tonight.”
The Lady Tigers hit the road again for the 10th time this season, for a Valentine’s Day showdown against the No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks. The matchup will be televised on the SEC Network on Sunday, February 14, at 11 a.m. CT. As always, fans are encouraged to tune into the LSU Sports Radio Network, broadcasting on 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge, with Voice of the Tigers Patrick Wright calling the action.