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No. 1 LSU Take Down ETBU, 99-26, In Exhibition

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No. 1 LSU Take Down ETBU, 99-26, In Exhibition

BATON ROUGE — No. 1 LSU was back in action for the first time since its national championship Thursday night in the PMAC, taking down East Texas Baptist, 99-26, in the first exhibition of the season.

The Tigers will take on Loyola (NO) next Wednesday for their final exhibition before beginning the season against No. 20 Colorado in the Hall of Fame Series Las Vegas. LSU will get national championship rings and raise the national championship banner before the home opener on Nov. 9 against Queens (NC). Fans should be in their seat by 6:20 for the start of the ceremony.

LSU introduced five of its six newcomers Thursday night in the starting lineup. Transfers Hailey Van Lith and Annesah Morrow were joined by freshmen Mikaylah Williams, Janae Kent and Aaliyah Del Rosario to begin the game.

“I wanted to see the newcomers play,” Coach Kim Mulkey said. “I wanted to see them start in an LSU uniform because some may never, until their time comes. I just wanted to do something different instead of bring in the kids that were here last year.”

Both Van Lith and Morrow earned honorable mention honors on the AP Preseason All-America team. 

Six Tigers scored in double figures Thursday night, led by Flau’jae Johnson with 18 points. Sa’Myah Smith led the team with 12 rebounds and Angel Reese had three assists to lead the team. 

LSU was a clean 50-percent from the field during the game and led from start to finish. The Tigers limited ETBU fo 18.9-percent shooting and forced 39 turnovers.

A no-look outlet pass from Van Lith to Del Rosario capped off an 11-0 run to start the game and force an ETBU timeout. The visitors scored five after the break before LSU’s defense forced a four minute scoring drought. The Tigers ended the first quarter on a 12-0 run to take a 26-5 lead. 

LSU went with a fresh five to start the quarter led by the AP Preseason All-American Reese. She was joined by second team All-SEC selection Flau’jae Johnson and returners Kateri Poole, Last-Tear Poa, and Sa’Myah Smith.

An ETBU timeout paused a 8-0 run led by Reese and Johnson each scoring four near the halfway mark of the second quarter. LSU scored five points off of seven ETBU turnovers through the opening five minutes of the second. 

After the timeout Johnson went on to add five unanswered points to extend the LSU lead to 35. Johnson led the Tigers on a 20-0 run to finish the half with 14 points on 6-8 from the field and four steals in the second quarter. 

LSU headed into the break with a 51-9 lead over the visiting Tigers. LSU shot 51-percent from the field through the opening 20 minutes, compared to ETBU’s 14-percent. LSU forced 17 turnovers and out rebounded ETBU 32-17. 

Van Lith kicked off the second half with her first three-pointer as an LSU Tiger to extend the lead to 50. After a 4-0 run by ETBU Reese scored on a jumper and made two free throws to move her point total to 15. LSU entered the final quarter with a 70-19 lead. 

Smith started the fourth quarter with a blocked ETBU jumper and finished the play on the other end with an and-one to bring the LSU total to 73. Kent reached double figures with an impressive reverse lay up to extend the LSU run to 13. LSU’s late 18-0 run was cut with a three from ETBU’s Sara Cowan. 

Smith earned a double-double with under 30 seconds to go as an and-one with a made free throw pushed her total to 16 and 12. LSU ended the game on a 24-5 run in the final seven minutes to finish with a final score of 99-26. 

LSU ended the night on 36 of 72 from the field to finish at an even 50-percent compared to ETBU’s 19-percent on 10 of 53. LSU found itself at the foul line often and succeeded on 23 of 33 attempts. LSU forced 39 ETBU turnovers and scored 34 points off turnovers. ETBU was out-rebounded 51-34 and gave up 54 points in the paint.