Lady Tigers Win Fourth-Straight, 51-39
BATON ROUGE – Raigyne Moncrief registered her third career double-double with 11 points coupled with a career-high 13 rebounds as the LSU women’s basketball team notched its fourth straight win and claimed a 51-39 victory over Alabama on Sunday afternoon at the Maravich Center.
LSU (14-9, 8-3 SEC), winners of six of its last seven games, remained tied for third place with Mississippi State in the SEC standings. The Lady Tigers have emerged with an 18-1 record against Alabama (12-13, 1-9 SEC) dating back to the 2002-03 season.
“The SEC is such a competitive conference,” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “No matter what the records of our opponents are, it’s going to be a fight. We knew that Alabama was going to come in here and was going to play hard. We knew they were going to play aggressively, and they did just that. I’m proud of our team for staying the course. We made the defensive stops when we needed them. We were able to, again, work off of turning our opponent over and capitalizing in our transition game. We’re going to continue to grow as a basketball team. We’re still fairly young. We’re going to take this game and obviously enjoy the victory today.”
For Moncrief, she was 5-of-13 from the floor and has reached double figures in six of her last seven outings. She came away with seven of her 11 points and nine of her 13 rebounds during the second half.
Danielle Ballard turned in a solid all-around effort with 11 points, seven rebounds and three times. It marked the seventh consecutive game that Ballard has secured double digit points.
LSU’s bench effort was sparked by DaShawn Harden who picked up nine points, four steals and two steals. Stephanie Amichia notched six points, five rebounds and equaled a career-best with two blocks over an active 13 minutes. Jasmine Rhodes added six points on 2-of-3 shooting effort.
Sheila Boykin hauled down six rebounds to go along with two assists and a steal.
As a team, LSU was 21-of-55 from the floor and misfired on four of its five attempts from beyond the three-point line. The Lady Tigers struggled to an 8-for-17 performance at the free throw line. LSU made the most of 22 Alabama turnovers and scored 22 of the game’s 30 points off turnovers.
The Crimson Tide was led by Ashley Williams’ 15 points on a 7-of-12 shooting clip. Meoshonti Knight added 11 points for Alabama who has lost all five of its SEC road decisions.
LSU led from the opening tip to the final buzzer and built a 25-9 advantage with 3:34 remaining in the first half. The Lady Tigers used suffocating defense and forced Alabama into a 4-for-23 shooting effort during the game’s first 17 minutes.
LSU was an efficient 12-of-24 from the floor during the first half. The Lady Tigers had five players amass at least four points and dished out six assists on their 12 first half field goals to take a 29-17 lead into the locker room.
Alabama battled back to within 39-35 at the 7:03 mark of the second half. The Lady Tigers went for an 8:30 span without a basket until Harden drove in for a layup on the left baseline.
A Moncrief midrange jumper ignited a 12-4 flurry over the last final minutes. LSU also received baskets from Ballard, Harden, Moncrief and Rhodes down the stretch to close out the 51-39 win.
“I think it’s been about everybody respecting what everyone can bring to the table,” Caldwell said. “I think that there is a level of expectation, and there’s a standard that’s set there. We are counting on certain people to perform at a certain level every night, and their teammates are there to support them. When you see (Shelia) Boykin setting screens for the guards to get those open jump shots, she’s just as happy for them. To me, that’s a team that’s mentally tougher than where we were a couple of months ago. We can celebrate somebody else’s success and not look at it as what I’m not doing. Our mentality has changed to how can we help our team, and our teammates be successful and be givers. Tonight, we were givers. We gave the ball to them too many times, but we still were trying to be givers to each other. You could see we overpassed a few possessions there, but I’d rather us overpass than have the selfish play.”
Up next, LSU will travel to meet No. 1 South Carolina on Thursday. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. from the Colonial Life Arena, and the game will be televised by FSN. The FSN telecast will be available for those outside of the FSN viewing footprint on 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.
LSU Women’s Basketball Postgame Quotes
LSU vs. Alabama – February 8, 2015
LSU HEAD COACH NIKKI CALDWELL
“The SEC is such a competitive conference. No matter what the records of our opponents are, it’s going to be a fight. We knew that Alabama was going to come in here and was going to play hard. We knew they were going to play aggressively, and they did just that. I’m proud of our team for staying the course. We made the defensive stops when we needed them. We were able to, again, work off of turning our opponent over and capitalizing in our transition game. We’re going to continue to grow as a basketball team. We’re still fairly young. We’re going to take this game and obviously enjoy the victory today. That will help us move forward and prepare for South Carolina.”
On the team continuing to mature during the season…
“We’ve grown tremendously as a team. We have Danielle (Ballard) with us, and she moves people back into their respective rolls if you will. There is a level of comfort that Raigyne Moncreif feels and that Rina Hill feels and our guard play feels with Ballard. Our post game, they understand their roll. Sheila Boykin didn’t score a point tonight, but you would have never known that based on how hard she played. Defensively, she took some key charges for us. She got some key rebounds. We are just playing very unselfish. To me, that is the sign of a mature team. We’ve got to continue to work on some areas that challenged us tonight, but we have time. It’s still early, and we are still near that midway point in our SEC season. We are going to continue to grow and get better.”
On Raigyne Moncrief‘s performance…
“We are able to play her (Moncrief) off the ball more. We are able to allow her to explore a lot of her dribble drive penetration, pull up jumpers and that wing-elbow area as opposed to her always having to be on top of the floor. We can move her around quite a few places. Our defense has allowed her to get out quickly and turn people over. That has allowed our transition game to really be good, and she’s somebody that is good in transition. I like the fact that Raigyne Moncrief got all over the boards today. Having 13 rebounds from a two-guard is pretty impressive. If she can continue to do that along with Ballard, our board play is going to be a whole lot better.”
On the team’s cohesion…
“I think it’s been about everybody respecting what everyone can bring to the table. I think that there is a level of expectation, and there’s a standard that’s set there. We are counting on certain people to perform at a certain level every night, and their teammates are there to support them. When you see (Shelia) Boykin setting screens for the guards to get those open jump shots, she’s just as happy for them. To me, that’s a team that’s mentally tougher than where we were a couple of months ago. We can celebrate somebody else’s success and not look at it as what I’m not doing. Our mentality has changed to how can we help our team, and our teammates be successful and be givers. Tonight, we were givers. We gave the ball to them too many times, but we still were trying to be givers to each other. You could see we overpassed a few possessions there, but I’d rather us overpass than have the selfish play.”
On the message to the team after Alabama cut the lead down to four points in the second half…
“My message to the team was definitely things about our defense and about us missing our coverages. It was about their energy. How they were to get themselves back into the game was through effort plays, hustle plays, loose balls and offensive rebounds. Those were the things that they were doing that we typically do. They were taking our game plan and applying it to us. Give credit to Alabama because they were successful with it. We had to change some things up and generate our own energy. We were able to maintain the lead and push ahead a little bit. We scored the ball extremely well with our floor shooting percentage, but I was very pleased defensively with our effort.”
LSU GUARD RAIGYNE MONCRIEF
On the message Coach Caldwell gave after the LSU lead was cut to four points in the second half …
“We were being complacent at the start (of the second half). That allowed us to not get off to a great start. We’re not playing any defense. Actually, she (Coach Caldwell) wasn’t as mad as we thought she would be. She was kind of encouraging us, she was clapping and telling us ‘Let’s go, now it’s time to turn this around’. I mean, Alabama is a good team. Once again, they are going to be runs.”
On her contributions on the defensive end…
“Coach (Caldwell) is really pushing you have to be a great defensive team to even be in the SEC. They have great players in the SEC. Missouri, we have to stop Morgan Eye. There are other big time players. When we play South Carolina, we have to stop Tiffany Mitchell. We have to really buckle it down defensively, and we all have to help each other. We are a small team, and we have to help each other. Shelia Boykin taking charges and Rina Hill taking charges, they are making things happen for us late game. That’s big for us.”
On Thursday’s game at South Carolina…
“It starts in practice. When we start practicing and preparing for South Carolina, that’s going to show how ready we are. It is one day at a time. We have to win in practice before we think about going on taking on South Carolina at South Carolina which is a tough environment. Once again, it starts in practice. It’s going to be a day-by-day test.”
LSU FORWARD STEPHANIE AMICHIA
On the team being 8-3 in the SEC…
“To me, it’s like what Coach (Caldwell) says this all the time, everything is 0-0. After every segment going into every game, it doesn’t matter what the stats are. Everything is 0-0, and everyone is equal. We’ve been growing together as a team, and we’re playing together as a team … I think we are going to keep moving at a great pace.”
On if she is happy where the team is right now…
“I’m not happy because I know we can do three million times better and having complacency doesn’t help anything. You have to keep pushing past what you can do because we have so much that we can put in a game. We just have to start pulling everything out and keep pushing through these games.”
On Thursday’s game at South Carolina…
“I think we are ready for the challenge. One of the things we stress is mental toughness and taking the challenge is one of those. A number in front of a team’s name shouldn’t mean much to us at the end of the day. We are here to play ball, we are here to play hard every game and we are here to win games. I feel like we are all buying into that one system. As long as we listen and stay disciplined and do everything our coaches ask of us, we’re going to be fine.”
ALABAMA HEAD COACH KRISTY CURRY
“I think the most important thing is you can’t shoot the ball the way we did in the first half and expect it not to catch up with you in the end. (We had) a couple of missed layups and a free-throw lane violation. (That was) just the toughest part down the stretch I thought. We had too many unforced errors by us and (give) credit to LSU. I thought they were able to make a few more plays down the stretch than we were.”