Morris' Career-High Pushes No. 19 LSU Past No. 23 Texas A&M, 75-66
BATON ROUGE – The No. 19 LSU Women’s Basketball team (14-1, 2-0) won its 13th game in a row Sunday as the Tigers defeated No. 23 Texas A&M (10-3, 0-1), 75-66, in front of 7,400 inside the PMAC.
“This is going to be the way it is, it’s the SEC,” said Head Coach Kim Mulkey. “There are a lot of good players, coaches, and teams. I thought rebounding was key when we were not able to make shots and when we were struggling. The crowd got into it, they helped us get over the hump.”
Playing against her former team, Alexis Morris went for a career-high 30 points, 23 of which came in the second half, to lead the Tigers to victory.
“It is every transfer’s dream,” Morris said. “It was a personal game. Coach Mulkey has been challenging me all week to step up and be the player she knows I can be. It meant a lot to me.”
“I’m happy for Alexis Morris,” Coach Mulkey added. “When you leave a program there are one of two things when you play. You can be really awful or really good. I told her in practice, she is really good. She didn’t try to do too much. She took what they gave her.”
Jailin Cherry also came through in the clutch late in the game with 10 points in the fourth quarter after going scoreless through the first three. Khayla Pointer continued to shine as one the conference’s best guards with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.
“I knew I had to do something to help my team,” Cherry said. “The points were not coming in the first quarter, and I was down on myself, but I shook everything off and got back to what the team needed me to do.”
In the post Faustine Aifuwa battled foul trouble early on, but still managed 8 points and Autumn Newby led the Tigers with 10 rebounds.
Texas A&M entered Sunday’s contest shooting 43.5-percent from three, leading the nation. The Aggies went 10-31 from beyond the arc, but it was not enough to get through the Tigers. Destiny Pitts led Texas A&M with 18 points. Qadahah Hoppie added 16 and Kayla Wells had 13.
After LSU got out to an early lead, Texas A&M went into the half with a four-point lead. The Aggies built their lead to 8 in the third quarter before LSU outscored them by 12 points in the final quarter.
After going to No. 13 Georgia and beginning conference play with a win on Thursday, LSU took care of business at home on Sunday to begin SEC play with two wins over ranked teams. Now the Tigers must prepare for No. 1 South Carolina to come to Baton Rouge on Thursday for a 7 p.m. tip time.
Fans are asked to wear white to Thursday’s game and there are $1 tickets available for health care workers and first responders.
After two clutch fourth quarter three pointers at Georgia for Pointer, she picked up where she left off, sinking her first shot from beyond the arc to give LSU the first points of the game. She went on to sink her second three as well and with additional buckets from Morris and Awa Trasi the Tigers held a 10-7 lead at the media timeout. LSU was able to extend its lead to 16-11 to close the quarter, holding Texas A&M to 12.5-percent from deep.
Texas A&M’s Hoppie hit its first three attempt of the second quarter, but Morris responded with her first made three of the afternoon. Hoppie then responded with her second made three in as many tries in the quarter, kickstarting a 7-0 run for the Aggies as they took their first lead. Newby ended the run with a left baseline jumper to tie the game at 21. Texas A&M’s Pitts hit her first three as the nation’s leading three-point team began to heat up, but LSU used a four-point spurt prior to the media timeout to take a 25-24 lead. Texas A&M hit three consecutive threes out of the media timeout to build a 33-37 lead. With time winding down in, Pointer hit a deep two and LSU went into the half trailing, 33-29. After Texas A&M struggles from downtown in the opening quarter the Aggies came back to shoot 60-percent from three in the second quarter.
Neither team scored until the 7:08 mark of the third quarter and it was Pointer hitting her third three of the game, but Texas A&M quickly responded and built a 38-32 and LSU took a timeout. Morris hit a three for the Tigers to bring the game within three prior to the media timeout. Texas A&M had built its lead to 47-39, but Morris hit a three and Aifuwa made a layup in transition, pumping life back into the PMAC. Wells responded with a pull-up jumper for the Aggies, but Morris hit a second chance layup to make it a three-point game and Texas A&M led, 49-46, heading into the final quarter.
LSU opened the quarter on a 6-2 run, capped off by a Morris steal and fast break layup that gave LSU a 52-51 lead as Texas A&M called timeout. After an LSU defensive stop, Pointer found Cherry on the fast break to keep LSU’s momentum strong. Morris hit a three after an Aggie basket to put LSU up, 57-53 with 7:12 remaining. Wells responded with a three for Texas A&M a minute later. Pointer’s three followed by Cherry’s layup at 3:25 gave LSU an 8-0 run and a 65-56 lead. Cherry hit another layup to put LSU up 58-67 and then took a charge on the ensuing possession with 2:03 remaining as LSU seized control late in the game. Morris hit free-throws in the closing minutes to hit her career high, helping LSU hold off the Aggies.