No. 8 LSU Wins Home Regular Season Finale vs. Alabama, 58-50
BATON ROUGE – No. 8 LSU (24-4, 12-3 SEC) shored up at least a share of second place in the SEC with a 58-50 win over Alabama (14-12, 5-10 SEC) Thursday night in the PMAC during the Tigers’ regular season home finale.
LSU’s matchup at No. 16 Tennessee on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT on ESPN2 will be for the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament as the Lady Vols are currently one game behind the Tigers in the standings. The last time LSU finished in the Top-2 of the SEC was when the Tigers won the conference in 2008.
“They don’t get too high, they don’t get too low, and a lot of that is because they’re older,” said LSU Coach Kim Mulkey. “They’re mature, and they realize we got a tough one in Knoxville. Florida gets beat tonight so it’s you (LSU) and Tennessee down to who gets the two or the three seed in the SEC Tournament.”
Faustine Aifuwa, Jailin Cherry, Khayla Pointer, Autumn Newby and Autumn Trasi all played their final regular season home game inside the PMAC as LSU celebrated senior night in the PMAC.
Pointer scored 23 and added 9 rebounds and 8 assists as she moved into the No. 2 spot on LSU career assists list. Aifuwa scored 12 and had three blocks, playing dominant in the low post.
Megan Abrams led Alabama with 16 points and Brittany Davis grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. LSU limited Alabama to 34-percent shooting and outscored the Crimson Tide, 36-12 in the paint.
Five early points from Aifuwa, two rebounds and two blocks helped LSU jump out to a 7-2 lead through the first four minutes of the game. After Pointer got a steal and layed it in on the break and Newby scored her first points in the post, LSU took a 12-4 lead into the media timeout with 3:29 left in the first quarter. Pointer extended LSU’s lead to 10 out of the timeout with a lay-in after driving baseline. Wade-Warren made two threes late in the quarter for Alabama to reduce LSU’s lead to six as the Tigers took a 16-10 lead into the second quarter.
Cherry and Pointer built LSU’s lead back to double-figures with the first two baskets of the second quarter. After scoring six quick points in the quarter, the LSU offense mustered just one made shot in its next eight attempts, but the Tigers defense stood steady and limited the Tide from cutting significantly into their lead. Pointer hit a layup in transition to put LSU up 27-17 and on the next possession she found Hannah Gusters in the post to go into the half with a 12-point lead. LSU held Alabama to 23.1-percent shooting throughout the half, limiting offensive opportunities for the Crimson Tide.
After Megan Abrams made a three to begin the half for Alabama, Pointer immediately responded with a three for the Tigers on the other end. By the 7:02 mark and after another Pointer triple, LSU extended its lead to 37-23. The Crimson Tide clawed back though and by the 2:10 mark in the third quarter they had made it a five-point game. Alabama made six threes to outscore LSU by seven in the third quarter to make it a five point game.
Alabama got within three in the first two minutes of the final quarter, LSU clinging to a 46-43 lead. Ryann Payne, Newby and Pointer scored six straight for the Tigers, bringing the 7,421 in the PMAC to their feet with LSU building its lead back up to nine going into the media timeout with 4:53 remaining. Aifuwa’s bucket with 3:27 remaining pushed LSU’s lead back to double figures.