No. 7 LSU To Take On Kentucky Sunday In Rupp Arena
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 7 LSU Women’s Basketball team (15-0, 3-0) will go for its best start in program history Sunday in Rupp Arena at 1 p.m. CT as the Tigers take on Kentucky.
The Tigers matched the best start in program history with a 40-point victory at home over Texas A&M. The only other time LSU started 15-0 was in 2002-03 during Seimone Augustus’ freshman season. One week from Sunday, on January 15, Augustus will become the first female student-athlete with a statue that will stand outside the PMAC.
The Kentucky women usually play on campus in Memorial Gymnasium, by the Wildcats usually play a couple games every year in historic Rupp Arena, which is where Sunday’s contest will take place. It will be streamed on the SEC Network + and fans can also tune in to Patrick Wright and Shaeeta Williams on the LSU Sports Radio Network, 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge.
In LSU’s win over Texas A&M, Angel Reese became the first player in SEC history to start a season with 15-straight doubles. She recorded 26 points and set a LSU record, grabbing 28 rebounds – also the most rebounds by a SEC player since the conference started sponsoring women’s basketball in 1982. The LSU record for consecutive double-doubles is held by Sylvia Fowles who had 19 in a row during her final season at LSU.
Reese is just the third player since 2009 with 26 points and 28 rebounds in a game, according to Her Hoop Stats. The LSU standout is the first SEC player to have 25+ points and 25+ points in a game over the last 20 seasons. Reese is also the only Division I player with multiple 20-point, 20-rebound games this season. Her other such game was against Oregon State last month in Maui.
“I lot of great players have come before me,” Reese said after Thursday’s record-setting performance. “On the 15th, Seimone Augustus, her statue is going up. I want to be like that. I want to set records. I want a statue up one day. Being able to look up to someone like that and Sylvia Fowles; players like that – I love to be able to be in their column. I’m just grateful and blessed to be in the situation I’m in.”
LSU got off to a slow start in its 74-34 win over Texas A&M though, leading just 8-6 after the first quarter, before picking it up over the final three quarters wing winning by 40. The fourth quarter was the only quarter the Aggies scored in double figures.
“I knew we weren’t playing out best basketball, so I wasn’t worried about that,” said Flau’jae Johnson who finished with 18 points on Thursday. “I knew that that we were going to pick it up and we were just going to do what we do.”
“Nothing is ever a disappointing win,” Coach Kim Mulkey said. “You can have ugly wins, but they’re never disappointing. Disappoint is when we lose. There are things we’ve got to fix – how we start the game and how we finish the game. The second and third quarter were fine. But how we start the game and how we finish the game – it’s not good.”
LSU did turn the ball over 15 times against Texas A&M and through three SEC games the Tigers are averaging 17.3 turnovers, something that will need to get cleaned up as the Tigers prepare for two consecutive road games at Kentucky and then at Missouri on Thursday.
The Wildcats own the SEC’s best turnover margin at +4.93 and they also have the third most steals per game in the SEC at 10.8. They force 22.4 turnovers per game.
After winning the SEC Tournament last year, Kentucky lost Rhyne Howard who was the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA Draft. The Wildcats lost five key players from last year’s team and they added 10 new pieces for this season, including Ajae Petty who played minimal minutes at LSU last year. Petty averages 15.0 minutes per game this season, scoring 7.2 points per game and grabbing 5.7 rebounds per game.
Kentucky’s top two returners are Robyn Benton and Jada Walker who are the only two players to average double-figures this season, 16.7 ppg and 12.9, respectively. The Wildcats have started SEC play with three losses at Missouri, to Arkansas and at Georgia as Kyra Elzy’s squad they will be looking to pick up their first league win on Sunday.