Aifuwa Has Big Game In Win Over Vanderbilt
BATON ROUGE — The LSU women’s basketball team took down Vanderbilt on Thursday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, 61-55. With the win, the Tigers are 19-8 on the season and 9-6 in the SEC. The Commodores fall to 13-15 on the season and 3-12 in the SEC.
Redshirt junior Faustine Aifuwa led the way for LSU with 18 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots. Aifuwa surpassed 700 career points with her first two points of the game, finishing the night with 716 total. Junior Khayla Pointer contributed in a big way with 12 points and led the team with 7 assists. Senior Jaelyn Richard-Harris hit a momentum-changing three-point basket late in the fourth quarter and finished with nine points, while junior Awa Trasi added 10 points and five rebounds to the cause. Junior Jailin Cherry also had a strong overall performance with career highs of five assists and six steals to go along with eight points and five rebounds.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Vanderbilt got the scoring started with a layup, which was quickly answered by Cherry’s jumper making the score 2-2.
- LSU went on a quick 5-2 run with a layup and three-pointer from Trasi to make the score 9-6.
- Cherry made a basket in transition to bring the score to 11-6 at the 3:42 mark in the first quarter.
- Vanderbilt answered with a jumper and a three-pointer, but Aifuwa quickly responded with a jumper of her own to finish the quarter at 15-11.
- Pointer got the second-quarter scoring started with a layup to increase the lead to 17-11.
- LSU maintained their lead as Vanderbilt tried to close the gap, but the margin remained at six with 4:59 left in the half making the score, 21-15.
- Vanderbilt went on an 8-0 run to take the lead, 23-21, but LSU answered with a floater from Pointer to tie it back up at 23.
- Vanderbilt led at the half 27-26.
- Pointer got the third quarter scoring started with a layup to take the lead, 28-27.
- LSU had back-to-back possessions at the free throw line and made all four chances. Cherry followed with a quick steal, which led to layup for Aifuwa bringing the score to 34-29.
- Vanderbilt responded with a 6-0 run to take the lead at the 5:03 mark, 35-34.
- Vanderbilt extended their lead to six, but Aifuwa responded with a layup to make the score, 40-36.
- Vanderbilt increased their lead to 44-38 to end the third quarter.
- LSU tried to close gap and went on a 6-2 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter to bring the score to 46-44.
- Richard-Harris hit a three-pointer to bring the score within one at 48-47
- Cherry drove to the basket and made a floater that gave LSU the lead, 49-48.
- Vanderbilt went on a 5-0 run, but LSU responded with a 5-0 run themselves, capped by a three-point play the old-fashioned way by Aifuwa and took the lead, 54-53 with 2:37 left in the game.
- Richard-Harris splashed home a three-pointer after Vanderbilt took the lead with a jumper making the score, 57-55.
- LSU finished the game on 7-0 run to bring the final score to 61-55.
The Tigers hit the road for their final SEC game of the regular season to face Arkansas on Sunday, March 1. The game is slated for a 1:10 p.m. start and will be streamed on the SEC Network Plus. Live stats will be available.
Head Coach Nikki Fargas‘ Post-Game Quotes
On what she did to motivate the team down the stretch…
“I don’t even want to tell you my speech right now. All I said was ‘We’ve got to play harder.’ That was pretty much the gist of it—we’ve got to play harder and how bad do you want this? We’re in front of our fans, our family, it’s the last game in the PMAC. We have a thing about us where we want to make sure we protect home court, and we gave one away last week, but let’s not continue to do what we did last time. I felt that we played a little bit more aggressive, but I also told them you’ve got to play more downhill. We were not aggressive enough attacking the rim, and I think that was the difference when we were trying to attack the basket. We made the extra pass, we got some good looks, but our defensive effort in the fourth quarter separated us. We did a nice job of trying to bang and be a little bit more physical. We didn’t give up as many transition baskets in the fourth quarter.”
On Jaelyn Richard-Harris’ three to put LSU over Vanderbilt in the final minutes…
“She knocked down a huge three for us and gutsy of her to take that initiative, to knock that down. We had some key plays, her three, when the shot clock was winding down on the right-hand side, Jailin Cherry hits a jumper that rainbows in and those were all momentum plays for us. When you have a senior like Jaelyn Richard-Harris, she was locked in and she knew that she had to come up big for us, but the play of our bench was key, too. I thought we got some really good minutes from Jalaysha Thomas. I thought she came in, was very physical, set herself as an offensive threat by being physical. She was doing the work early and we were able to get her some looks inside. Vandy is a very good basketball team, they’ve got some really good players and this league is just one of the best leagues to play in. Night in and night out it is going to be a battle and I’m glad this group decided to finish on a good note here in the PMAC. We’ve got one more regular season game to go and we’ve got a big opponent in Arkansas on Sunday.”
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