Tigers Drop Regular Season Finale to Mississippi State
BATON ROUGE – In the regular season finale, LSU women’s basketball came up just short after a hard-fought game against Mississippi State, losing by a 68-59 score in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Thursday night.
LSU is now 8-12 overall and 6-8 in SEC play, while Mississippi State improves to 10-7 overall and 5-6 in league play.
The Tigers were led in scoring by senior Khayla Pointer who had 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds while also adding four assists. Going into the game, Pointer was tied at No. 7 on LSU’s all-time career assists list with LeNette Caldwell (420; 1974-80), but after her performance against the Bulldogs, she is now in sole possession of the No.7 spot with 424 career assists.
Senior Awa Trasi also scored in double figures with 12 points and grabbed five rebounds. Junior Ryann Payne scored a new career-high, finishing with eight points while also adding two rebounds.
Senior Rakell Spencer added a season-high six points as well as grabbing six rebounds for the Tigers. Redshirt senior Faustine Aifuwa scored seven points and grabbed 10 rebounds, barely missing a double-double.
The Tigers were able to out-rebound the Bulldogs by a 43-31 margin on the glass.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Pointer got the scoring started with a jump shot and gave LSU an early 2-0 lead over Mississippi State.
- The teams traded baskets and were tied at six when the first-quarter media timeout occurred.
- Senior Awa Trasi hit a jumper with the clock winding down to give the Tigers a 14-12 lead over the Bulldogs after one quarter of play.
- A bucket by senior Karli Seay jump started the scoring for the Tigers in the second quarter.
- Scoring became a back-and-forth affair between the teams. With 4:52 remaining in the quarter, the score was tied at 23.
- A 10-2 scoring run after a timeout gave the Tigers a 33-25 lead over the Bulldogs at halftime.
- The Tigers shot poorly to start the third quarter which saw the Bulldogs shrink the lead from eight to one. The Tigers led 38-37 as the action went to a timeout.
- Mississippi State outscored LSU 25-8 in the third quarter to lead LSU 50-41 after three quarters of play.
- A Pointer layup ended a scoring drought for the Tigers that started in the third quarter and got LSU on the scoreboard to start the fourth.
- The Tigers shrunk the deficit to four points trailing the Bulldogs 54-50 at the first fourth-quarter media timeout.
- The Bulldogs outscored the Tigers 43-26 in the second half resulting in a 68-59 loss for LSU.
Nikki Fargas‘ Postgame Quotes
“I thought in the second half they were very intentional on picking up their intensity and really getting after us defensively. It allowed them to get their transition game going, and we weren’t able to score the basketball enough possessions in that third quarter. We only made three baskets, so it’s really hard to set our pressure when you’re not making baskets. We had too many breakdowns in defensive awareness. We did a nice job of guarding the three-ball in the first half. They went 1-10. Then, in the second half they go 4-7. That’s a problem that allowed them to get going. We were giving them transition and threes. It’s really difficult to guard a team when you leave players wide open.”
On LSU having trouble scoring in the second half…
“I thought, when you look at Khayla (Pointer) and her game, when they bring two defenders, we have to reverse the ball. I thought we had the ball stuck way too long, so when she did see the double-team, we needed a quick ball reversal and a play on the backside. We had opportunities to score the basketball. When you get 18 offensive rebounds, I’m crediting our team for that, but to only score eight points off of those offensive rebounds, that makes for difficult offense. In that stretch where we didn’t score, I thought we turned the ball over way too much. We took care of the basketball in the first half, but during that stretch in the third quarter we had seven turnovers on 12 possessions, and that is something that is gonna make your offense look really choppy.”
The Tigers will wait to find out their opponent in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament after the rest of the league plays on Sunday. LSU was schedule to play Vanderbilt on Sunday before the Commodores opted out of the season in January. The tournament will be hosted in the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C. from March 3-7.