Aifuwa Posts Career Game in Victory over No. 15 Texas A&M
BATON ROUGE, La. —The LSU Women’s Basketball team beat No. 15 Texas A&M in a 59-58 nail biter on Sunday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. It is the first time that LSU has swept its permanent partner, Texas A&M, in the regular season. The Tigers and Aggies have battled twice a season since the 2012-13 season when A&M joined the SEC.
The victory improves LSU’s record to 16-5 overall and 6-3 in conference play. Texas A&M drops to 18-4 overall and 6-3 in the SEC.
Redshirt junior Faustine Aifuwa collected the seventh double-double of her career and third of the season with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Her 16 rebounds was a single-game career best, while her 18 points tied her season-best. Junior Khayla Pointer hit the 800-career points milestone in the fourth quarter and ended up with a total of 18 points (808 for career). Junior Jailin Cherry was the third player in today’s game to hit double-digit scoring with 10 points and three rebounds. Senior guard Jaelyn Richard-Harris was key on defense with five rebounds and a steal while dishing out four assists.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Texas A&M was on the board first with two made free throws, but the Tigers answered with a layup by Cherry.
- Both LSU and the Aggies played hard defensively. With 3:36 left in the first quarter, the Aggies led 9-7 at the media timeout.
- Cherry had the steal and score out of the timeout to even it up at 9-9.
- The Tigers led 19-14 going into the second quarter thanks to a 12-5 run following the media timeout. Richard-Harris and Pointer both had three-pointers in the run.
- Another three by Pointer marked the first score of the second quarter and LSU was up 22-14 with 8:58 left.
- The Tigers continued to lead Texas A&M at the media timeout, up 22-16 with 6:49 left.
- LSU led the Aggies 26-19 at halftime. The Tigers played without redshirt senior Ayana Mitchell in the second half after she left the game with an injury.
- The Tigers and Aggies both hit the offensive glass hard to start the second half. LSU led 34-27 at the media timeout with 4:45 left in the third quarter. Aifuwa score the first six points for LSU to start the third quarter.
- LSU led throughout the third quarter but a half-court buzzer-beater put the Aggies over 43-42 heading into the fourth quarter.
- It continued to be a close game as Texas A&M led 47-46 at the media timeout with 7:07 left in the game.
- Pointer tied it up at 49-49 with a three and 6:05 left.
- The Aggies called a timeout following another layup by Pointer to put LSU up 53-50 with 4:43 left to play.
- The Tigers kept it interesting as they went up 57-52 with a floater by Pointer, 1:34 left.
- The Aggies respond with an and-1 basket by Aaliyah Wilson to close the gap to 57-55 with 45 seconds left.
- Cherry sank two free throws with four seconds on the clock. The Aggies respond with made three at the two second mark, but it wasn’t enough as LSU ended on top, 59-58.
LSU has a midweek bye before returning back home on Monday, February 10 to take on Missouri at 6 p.m. in the PMAC. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network and live stats will be available.
Head Coach Nikki Fargas Post-Game Quotes
On her team’s performance and overcoming adversity…
“Our team hung tough. We knew we had to continue to play at a tough level like Ayana Mitchell. We talked about her at halftime and thought about what she would want us to do. I told the team that they need to go out there and play like Ayana. We had gritty play from Faustine Aifuwa. We had toughness from Jaelyn Richard-Harris. We had composure from Khayla Pointer, and we had confidence in our bench. When we needed to go small ball because Faustine picked up her fourth foul I thought Jalaysha (Thomas) and Mercedes (Brooks) had critical defensive plays for us. This was such a great team effort by a team that in my eyes, is one of the toughest teams that I have coached in a long time.”
On overcoming Texas A&M’s offensive run in the third quarter…
“We made some plays. We had some energy plays that were key to this win. It all started with the smallest player on the floor, Jaelyn Richard-Harris, who has the biggest heart on this team. Although she did not shoot the ball well, she had five rebounds and four assists at 5’4″ (Editor: she’s actually 5’2″). Also, Brooks, Thomas, and (Awa) Trasi gave us key minutes off the bench. Tiara (Young) hit two huge buckets for us late in the game that were huge. This group just stayed together. We regrouped and this team just said that we were not going to let this one go. You could see the fight they head every possession. We did it as a team.”
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