No. 7 LSU Opens SEC Play With 92-72 Win Over Missouri
BATON ROUGE — No. 7 LSU had three 20-point scorers to open its SEC slate with a 92-72 win over Missouri Thursday night in the PMAC.
Flau’Jae Johnson finished with a season high 24 points and 5 rebounds on 11-17 from the field. The total marked the second straight game Johnson reached 20 points or more. Not only was the sophomore productive on offense, Johnson had 3 steals, a block, and locked up Mizzou all night.
“Flau’Jae is trying to be that all-around player who is trying to get rebounds and guarding the best player on the perimeter,” Coach Kim Mulkey said.
“When you put it in perspective, I gave everything I had in this game, and if I did not give another inch, I do not get that back,” Johnson said. “Put it all on the floor.”
Angel Reese earned her seventh double-double of the season on 21 points and 13 boards. Reese added 4 assists and a steal. Aneesah Morrow recorded her ninth double-double in a row with a game-high 25 points and 10 rebounds. Going into the game Morrow needed seven rebounds to reach 1,000 in her college career. Mikaylah Williams also scored 11 to reach double figures for the 12th time in her 15 collegiate games.
“My biggest goal for tonight was to get my one-thousandth rebound,” Morrow said. “Going into the game I knew I had to defend. That was a big focus during practice as well. I focused on talking and getting through screens. I was super excited tonight.”
Mizzou was led by Hayley Frank who scored 22 points as she added 4 three-pointers on 8-19 from the field. Mama Dembele and Abby Feit were the only other visitors to reach double figures with 15 and 11, respectively.
LSU shot 50-percent from the field on 36-72 compared to Missouri’s 44-percent on 28-64. Mizzou finished with 9 three-pointers and LSU made all 3 of its triples in the second half. LSU was able to score 29 points of 18 turnovers and Mizzou scored 15 off of 13 LSU mistakes. LSU outscored Missouri in the paint 52-32 and won the battle off the glass 44-31.
For the majority of the game LSU played just six players. Point guards Hailey Van Lith and Last-Tear Poas shared time at the one as the other four starters played for nearly the entire game. Those four were Morrow, Johnson, Reese, and Williams.
After going into the half up by seven, LSU separated itself in the third quarter, outsourcing Missouri by 15 out of the break to carry a 22-point lead into the fourth.
The Tigers will travel to Oxford on Sunday to take on Ole Miss at 2:00 p.m. inside The Pavillion for its second conference contest of the season. LSU will return home next Thursday to host Texas A&M at 7:00 p.m.
After the first five minutes of action, LSU had a 12-11 lead that was backed by 6 points from Morrow and 4 more from Johnson. The Mizzou duo of Ashton Judd and Grace Slaughter hit threes early to keep things close despite their squad giving up 5 turnovers compared to LSU’s 0. Following the media break, LSU built up a 20-13 lead before Missouri went on 1 6-0 run to put themselves within one before the end of the quarter.
Frank opened up the second quarter with a go-ahead three-pointer for Mizzou to make it 22-20. Morrow knotted things back up shortly after with a fadeaway jumper near the baseline. Slaughter jogged down the court after a fast break for what looked to be an easy lay up before Johnson flew across the floor and swatted the attempt off the glass. The block set up a three-point play on the other end by Reese to tie the game at 27. The lead switched 5 more times before Reese went on to make two free throws and give LSU a 33-32 advantage. LSU ended the half on a 8-0 run and took a 39-32 lead into the break.
LSU had three players in double figures after two quarters; Morrow (12), Reese (11), and Johnson (10). Mizzou connected on 5 three-pointers in the first half compared to LSU’s 0. The home Tigers were able to find their advantage down low, outsourcing their opponent 26-16 in the paint.
Mikaylah Williams brought down the rebound and went coast to coast for a pull up jumper to give LSU its first double-digit lead of the night. Mizzou’s Frank scored 5-straight that included two free throws after Reese was called for an intentional foul. LSU responded with an 11-0 run over two minutes before the media timeout. Missouri looked to build momentum as Abby Feit earned her team’s seventh three of the night before Van Lith hit her first triple to halt the effort.
LSU traded buckets early as it held on to its lead built up in the third quarter. LSU went on a 6-0 run to move the margin past 20 before the middle of the quarter. The run included Morrow’s seventh rebound of the night and made it the 1,000th career rebound of her career. LSU moved its lead to as much as 25 before putting in reserves late in the quarter. LSU finished the night with a 20-point lead to begin conference play 1-0.