Women's Basketball Pulls Away Late to Beat Auburn

by Matt Dunaway
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Women's Basketball Pulls Away Late to Beat Auburn

AUBURN, Ala. – The LSU women’s basketball team used another strong surge down the stretch and scored 10 of the last 13 points over the final four minutes to collect a 60-49 victory over Auburn on Thursday evening at Auburn Arena.

The victory allowed LSU (13-9, 7-3 SEC), winners of five of its last six games, to vault into a third place tie with Mississippi State in the SEC standings. LSU also picked up its sixth straight victory and has won 17 of the last 22 meetings over Auburn (9-14, 0-10 SEC) dating back to the 1998-99 season.

“Defensively, we knew that Auburn has really done a nice job of disrupting the SEC,” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “They’ve held four or five teams below 60 points so we knew that it was going to be a battle. It was really going to boil down to the team that disrupted the other one the most. We were able to turn them over and get some transition baskets going. We were able to execute off those turnovers, and I feel like that was the difference in the game.”

Danielle Ballard garnered a team-leading 14 points during the second half and reached double figures for the sixth consecutive game. She also came away with seven rebounds, six steals and three assists.

Raigyne Moncrief worked her way to 11 points on 4-of-7 from the floor. She dished out assists and paired with Ballard to score LSU’s last 12 points of the contest.

Anne Pedersen added 11 points and has secured of three of her five performances in double figures during SEC play.

On the interior, Sheila Boykin amassed eight points and pulled down six of her nine rebounds on the offensive end.

Jenna Deemer and DaShawn Harden tallied 10 of LSU’s 14 points off the bench. Deemer notched six points courtesy of a pair of three-pointers.

As a team, LSU put together a 22-for-58 shooting effort. The Lady Tigers misfired on 11 of their 13 attempts from three-point territory. A key to the LSU victory was a spotless 14-for-14 effort at the free throw line with 13 of the 14 foul shots coming during the second half. LSU also forced Auburn into 24 turnovers and held a 28-15 edge in points off turnovers. 

Auburn was fueled by Brandy Montgomery’s game-leading 23 points. She pumped in 19 of the 23 points aided by five of her six three-pointers during the second half.  Auburn’s leading scorer and rebounder, Tra’Cee Tanner, was limited to seven points and six rebounds.

LSU led for a majority of the opening half and grabbed a 25-18 advantage into the locker room. The trio of Boykin, Deemer and Pedersen racked up 19 of LSU’s 25 points on a combined 8-of-16 shooting clip.

With LSU ahead 27-23 at the 17:54 mark of the second half, the Lady Tigers ripped off 11 consecutive points over the next 2:43. Boykin ignited the flurry with second-chance layup, while Moncrief followed with a traditional three-point play on a driving layup to make it 32-23.

Ballard pushed LSU’s lead into double figures on a pull up midrange jumper in transition. Pedersen tacked on a deep two-ball from the left baseline, and Ballard completed the run with a layup off her own steal to give LSU a 38-23 advantage with 14:27 left.

Auburn turned to Montgomery who rattled home a trio of treys over a 1:47 span to draw the home team back within 38-32 with 12:05 remaining.

AU would get as close as 44-41 with 8:21 to go before LSU knocked down six straight free throws courtesy of Pedersen, Ballard and Jasmine Rhodes to extend the lead back to nine points at the 5:46 mark.

Once again, Auburn would look to Montgomery for a rally. She drained her fifth three-pointer of the second half which forced LSU into a timeout with a 50-46 lead at the 4:24 mark.

Out of the timeout, Ballard found Moncrief for a jumper to push the LSU advantage back to six points. That would spark a 10-3 finishing kick for LSU. Ballard sank a pair of free throws and added a tip-in in traffic to place LSU back up by double figures, 56-46, with 2:12 left. A Moncrief jumper off a screen and Ballard driving layup gave LSU its winning margin of 60-49.

“I have to commend our team because we made a run, and they made a run,” Caldwell said. “It was a game of both teams fighting. The SEC is a competitive conference. Every night, you have to come out and be ready to execute your game plan especially in late game situations. We did a nice job of finishing out the game. We were able to put the ball in the hands of (Danielle) Ballard and (Raigyne) Moncrief in late game situations and have positive results. That’s key for us.”

LSU will complete its stretch of three games over a seven-day span and plays host to Alabama on Sunday afternoon. Tipoff is on-tap for 4 p.m. from the Maravich Center. The game will be televised by the SEC Network along with www.WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.

The LSU Sports Radio Network will broadcast the game on its flagship station Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge.  Patrick Wright, the voice of the Lady Tiger, will call the action. The broadcast also will be available for Geaux Zone subscribers at www.LSUsports.net/live.

For all of the latest news and information on Lady Tiger basketball, visit www.LSUsports.net/womensbasketball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/LSUwbkb, @lsuwbkb and @NikkiCaldwell on Twitter, @LSUwbkb and @LSUNikkiCaldwell on Instagram.