Fourth Quarter Pushes LSU Past Ole Miss, 84-73
OXFORD, Miss. — Mikaylah Williams paced LSU with 20 points to lead the Tigers to a win in their first road SEC game of the year at Ole Miss, 84-73, in the SJB Pavilion saw a record 9,074 on hand at Sunday’s game.
That’s an Ole Miss program record for attendance and a new record for the SJB Pavilion which opened eight years ago.
“Other than Mikaylah being a freshman, most of them are experienced players,” Coach Kim Mulkey said about the team’s ability to handle the large crowd. “They view that crowd as their crowd. That’s what competitors do. That crowd came to see us. When you have that mindset, the louder it gets you kind of block it out.”
LSU had all five starters in double figures to total for 83 of the Tigers’ 84 points. The Tiger’s 8 three-pointers matched a season high, LSU had 8 against Jacksonville in December.
Williams was hot all afternoon with 20 points on 7-12 from the field and 4-5 from the three-point line. The freshman’s performance marked the 12th time this season she has reached double figures. She added 7 rebounds and 4 steals as she lit up the highlight reel.
“I don’t view her as a freshman,” Coach Mulkey said of Williams. “She just has a college ready body, a mindset, and confidence.”
The duo down low of Angel Reese and Aneesah Morrow combined for 34 points and 17 rebounds. Reese finished with 21 points, 4 assists, and 9 boards while Morrow scored 13 and hauled in 8 rebounds.
Hailey Van Lith and Flau’Jae Johns rounded out the five to break double digits. Johnson dropped 16 as she also continued to improve on defense. Van Lith found success shooting the ball with 13 points on 5-11 from the field, the transfer also added 43 assists and a pair of triples.
The Rebels’ Marquesha Davis led all players with 24 points on 10-14 from the field and 7 rebounds. Madison Scott and Snudda Collins were the only other scorers to reach double figures scoring 13 and 12, respectively.
LSU ended the afternoon 47-percent from the field compared to Ole Miss’ 40-percent. The Tigers won the rebound battle 44-36 despite being outscored 36-28 inside the paint. LSU went 8-13 for 62-percent from deep and Ole Miss went 3-11 for 27-percent. There were 4 lead changes and Ole Miss held the lead for just 2:38.
The Tigers will return home on Thursday to face the Aggies of Texas A&M at 7 p.m. CT inside the PMAC. LSU will then travel to Auburn on Sunday for a 2:00 p.m. tip on ESPN.
Williams capped off a 6-0 run with a triple to give LSU the early lead over the rebels. Ole Miss responded with a 6-0 run of its own before Morrow hit her first three-pointer to put LSU back up by three. LSU held a 14-12 lead at the first media timeout after going 3-4 from deep to start the game. Tyia Singleton gave the Rebels their first lead of the afternoon as her layup finished a 6-0 run and made it 18-16. With the game tied at 23, Van Lith hit her first three of the night as the buzzer sounded to regain the lead for LSU.
A Davis three-point play tied things back up at 26 early in the second. LSU responded well as it went on an 11-4 run to gain its largest lead of the night, 37-30. Van Lith kept the Tigers momentum as she scored 4 unanswered to force an Ole Miss timeout with 2:39 left before the break. With just over a minute to go, Williams shook a defender to the floor as she stepped back beyond the arch and proceeded to hit LSU’s 7th three-pointer of the half. The Tigers looked comfortable in the second as LSU took a 13-point lead into halftime, 50-37.
LSU’s 7 first half three-pointers was the most scored in one half by the Tigers this season. LSU only out-rebounded the rebels 18-15, but shot 57-percent from the field compared to Ole Miss’ 45-percent. After the first 20 minutes, Davis led all scorers with 14 points and Williams followed closely with 13.
The Tigers struggled to get back into rhythm early in the third as Ole Miss went on a 7-0 run to move the margin within six. Williams stopped the run with a pull-up from midrange but the Tiger offense didn’t last long before Ole Miss held them scoreless on a 10-0 run to take the lead, 53-52. LSU responded to the run quickly as it went on a 9-0 run to move the Tiger lead back to eight and force a Rebel timeout. Ole Miss continued to gain on LSU behind Davis who had reached 22 points by the end of the third quarter. Scott closed out the third with two made free throws to put the Rebels within striking distance, 67-62.
LSU started the final quarter on a 12-2 run ahead of the media timeout and gave the Tigers a 15-point lead with 5:39 left in regulation. Ole Miss was only able to score from the foul line in the opening six minutes of the quarter. LSU’s lead would be enough to hold off the late effort and secure its first road conference win of the season.