No. 3 LSU Survives Overtime Thriller vs. Georgia; 82-77
BATON ROUGE — The No. 3 LSU Tigers (22-0, 10-0 SEC) remained undefeated on the season as they survived an 83-77 overtime thriller Thursday night in the PMAC over Georgia.
Going against Georgia’s matchup zone, LSU struggled to find a solid offensive rhythm, shooting a season-low 35.8-percent from the field. Meanwhile Georgia had the best shooting percentage of any LSU opponent this season, making 54.7-percent of its shots.
“That is an outstanding matchup zone,” Coach Kim Mulkey said.
For the first time this season LSU found itself trailing going into the final quarter. Georgia led by as many as nine early in the fourth, but the Tigers tied the game at 63 with 2:57 as the game entered its final minutes. LSU forced a turnover and got the ball back with 7.8 seconds left and got the ball back with the game tied at 66, but was not able to convert, sending the game to overtime.
Angel Reese gave LSU a one-point lead and then Alexis Morris got a steal and went all the way to the rack to give the Tigers a 72-69 lead with 3:43 left in the overtime. With the game tied at 74, Morris knocked down a corner three with 49.3 seconds left for LSU to take the lead back. LSU forced a stop and Reese got fouled going up for the rebound, going to the line where she made one-of-two free throws. After a Georgia bucket, Reese went back to the line where she missed both, but Johnson collected the rebound. The freshman Johnson made both to give LSU a four-point advantage, but she fouled out on the next possession, committing a foul on a three point attempt. Georgia’s De’Mauri Flourney made 1-of-3 and Morris grabbed the rebound up three. She went to the line with 1.1 second left and put the game away.
LSU’s 28 made free throws and 26 offensive rebounds leading to 20 second chance points allowed the Tigers to survive a hot-shooting Georgia team and a cold-shooting night for the Tigers.
“I can’t tell you we won because of this, this this – I can’t do that,” Coach Mulkey said. “I’d have to go back and evaluate the game. Even though we got to the foul line a lot, and that is hard to do against a zone, you’ve got to make your free throws. We missed 17 free throws.
“We, I guess you would say, made just enough plays at the right time to pull out a victory.”
The Tigers hauled in a season high 44 total rebounds as they picked up 26 of them on the offensive glass. LSU held Georgia to just 7 offensive boards and only 6 second chance points. The game was held within single digits for its entirety. There were 12 lead changes and a season high 16 total ties. LSU held the lead for 12:48 and Georgia was on top for 25:05.
Angel Reese led LSU with 23 points and 14 boards in her 22nd double-double in as many games to extend her LSU record.
After a career high 31-point performance Monday night, Alexis Morris followed with 15 points and added 3 threes when they were needed most. Morris scored 7 in the overtime period as she went a perfect 2-2 from the field, 1-1 from deep, and 2-2 from the line.
Grad transfer, LaDazhia Williams, and freshman, Sa’Myah Smith, came up big as they both scored ten in Thursday night’s victory.
Georgia’s Diamond Battles tallied 22 points and 4 rebounds. Brittney Smith followed with 13 points shooting 6-9 from the field. Three other Bulldogs scored in double figures; Jayvn Nicholson (12), Aisha Lewis (11), and Audrey Warren (10).
Looking ahead the Tigers will hit the road to take on Texas A&M Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. CT inside Reed Arena on ESPN2. LSU defeated the Aggies earlier this season in an impressive 74-34 win that saw Reese break the LSU single-game total rebound record with 28 boards.
After LSU took a 5-2 lead, Georgia went on a 7-0 run to go up by four early in the game. At the first media timeout the Tigers trailed 9-7 and looked to regroup, Georgia scored four more unanswered after the break before the freshman, Smith, hit a free throw to halt the run. The Tigers continued to battle through the matchup zone defense from the Bulldogs and ended the quarter down 15-10. LSU’s ability to get to the free throw line kept them close in the first quarter, scoring half its points from the charity stripe as the Tigers found themselves down after a quarter for just the second time this season.
Smith scored 4 points in the opening two minutes of the second quarter and the Tigers put a few defensive stops together. Last-Tear Poa tied things up with a three to make it 17-17 with just under eight minutes to go. Smith found the free throw line once again and regained the lead for LSU after going 1-2. Jasmine Carson earned her first points of the game as she pushed LSU past the 20-point mark with a three from the top of the key. Georgia’s Battles tied things up at 23 after hitting a free throw to secure the three point play. With two minutes to play in the half Reese regained the lead as she had a three point play of her own to put LSU up 30-27. LSU went into the break with a one-point lead, 30-29. Georgia ended the quarter shooting 5 of its last 7 field goals compared to LSU’s 1 for 10.
Both teams continued to trade buckets keeping the score within two points for the first three minutes of action. Battles hit her first three-pointer of the game to regain the lead for Georgia just over two minutes into the quarter. A minute and a half later Morris hit a three of her own to knot things up at 39. A fast-break layup from L. Williams made it 41-39 but the LSU lead did not last long as a 7-2 Georgia run made it 46-43 at the first media timeout of the quarter. Late in the quarter the Tigers went on a hot streak shooting 4-4 from the field to remain within one score of the Bulldogs, 49-47 with three minutes left in the quarter. The Bulldogs responded with a 6-0 run over 40-seconds within the last minute of the third. Carson hit two big free throws in the final seconds to make it a 5-point game just before the final quarter, 55-50 Georgia.
For the first time all season LSU entered the final ten minutes trailing its opponent. Georgia scored 4 unanswered points to extend its lead to nine, Reese snapped the run as she earned her 22nd consecutive double-double this season. Kateri Poole found Morris outside and she made her second triple of the night to put LSU within four, 59-55. Halfway through the quarter Reese hit two free throws and followed a possession later with a reverse layup to make it a two-point game, 61-59. Smith hit a pull-up jumper just before the final media timeout to give the Bulldogs a 63-59 lead.
Reese came out of the timeout and made two big shots from the foul line to put the Tigers back with two. Reese got back to the stripe a minute later and went 2-2 again to tie the game for the first time since four minutes into the third quarter. Battles responded on the other end and went 2-2 from the charity stripe to take the lead. A defensive rebound from Williams led to a fast break finish from Morris to tie the game at 65 with just over a minute to go. Seconds later Smith gave the Bulldogs a one-point lead after going 1-2 from the free throw line. After a hard foul on Poole she went to the line down one point. Poole hit the first one to tie the game for the fourteenth time. The second shot bounced off the back iron and into the hands of Williams just in time for LSU to call a timeout with 53 seconds to go. An LSU turnover gave Georgia the ball back with 37.9 seconds remaining tied at 66. The Tiger defense responded well as it was joined by a roaring PMAC to force a Bulldog turnover with 7.8 seconds for one final play. Morris put up a last second three from deep that fell short of the mark. LSU was headed into overtime for the first time this season.
Georgia took a one-point lead after a made free throw in the opening seconds of OT and Reese responded with her 20th point of the game as she made a layup on the other end. After getting fouled on a three-point shot Warren went 2-3 from the line. Williams assisted Reese on another lay to give LSU a 70-69 lead with four to play. A Poole steal at midcourt led to a driving fast break finish from Morris to put the Tigers on top by 3. Georgia scored 4 unanswered points off of 2 LSU turnovers to regain the lead 73-72. Nicholson fouled out with just over two minutes to go and sent Reese to the line once again. Reese missed both but a big rebound and put back from Johnson gave LSU a one point lead. Battles would tie the games seconds later with another make from the foul line. Morris came up clutch as she gave the Tigers a three point lead off a corner three to make it 77-74 with under a minute to go. With 15 seconds to go Johnson was fouled on a tough rebound and went 2-2 from the line to give the Tigers a four point lead, 80-76. Morris went 2-2 from the stripe to secure the win and keep the Tigers a perfect 22-0