LSU Takes Down The Nation's Top Defense in Win Over Texas A&M, 87-70
BATON ROUGE — Going against the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense, No. 7 LSU defeated Texas A&M, 87-70, Thursday night in the PMAC.
The Aggies entered the game with the nation’s top scoring defense (48.9 ppg) and No. 2 field-goal percentage defense (31.4-percent), but LSU had all 5 starters score in double figures and shot 46.7-percent from the field to earn the win. Texas A&M hadn’t allowed a team to score 65 points since Nov. 16. LSU’s 87 points were the most the team has scored against Texas A&M since the Aggies joined the SEC.
The game was won at the foul line. LSU gets to the free throw and makes more free throws better than any other team in the country. With the Aggies doing 29-72 in the game from the field and LSU going 28-60, the Tigers’ 25-32 mark from the foul line put them over the edge with the Aggies going just 8-12 total from the charity stripe.
“They are capable,” Coach Kim Mulkey said about her team’s ability to get to the line. “They are strong. They can take you off the dribble. They post you up. They can face you up at the post. It is just ballers. They have the ability to get in there and bang with you and make you guard them. If they do not score the ball, most of them get fouled. That is not something that we just work on. There are five kids that are talented and can do that.”
Angel Reese finished with 20 points and recorded her 8th double-double performance of the season. Reese reached the double-double mark before the end of the second quarter. The junior ended the night with a career-high 7 assists and 18 total rebounds as she continues to score in double figures in all 49 games of her LSU career.
“I was a point guard when I was younger, so I know where my teammates like the ball,” Reese said of her passing skills. “I try to do as much as possible to get them open looks.”
Aneesah Morrow led LSU with 21 points, hauled in 8 rebounds, and added a pair of steals in another solid performance. Morrow has reached double figures in all but one game this season for the Tigers.
Others to reach double figures include Hailey Van Lith (14), Mikaylah Williams (16), and Flau’Jae Johnson (10). Van Lith and Williams combined for 5 of the Tiger’s 6 three-pointers. Johnson scored in double figures for the seventh straight game.
“I am finding ways to be aggressive and improve my playmaking ability,” Van Lith said. “I am not looking for a way to take more shots, but I am trying to get the right reads and know when to shoot the ball. I am getting more comfortable in this system, and I know I can continue to improve; but, it is a process and I am committed to improving.”
Texas A&M’s Endyia Rogers led all scorers with 27 points on 11-22 from the field that included 3 three-pointers. Other Aggies to reach double figures were Aicha Coulibaly and Lauren Ware with 16 and 13, respectively.
LSU will travel to Auburn for a game on Sunday at 2 p.m. CT on ESPN. Auburn fell at Ole Miss Thursday night by three points and has begun SEC play 0-3.
After a scoreless opening two minutes of action, the Aggies took an early 4-0 lead. LSU responded with an 8-2 run that saw 6 points from Reese and a couple from Morrow. The Tigers made 5 of its last 6 attempts from the field to hold a 13-11 lead at the first media timeout. A Van Lith three sparked a 9-0 run that gave LSU a 22-14 advantage to end the first quarter.
Williams and Van Lith combined for 12 points in the first four minutes of the sec0nd quarter to outscore the Aggies by one. Williams gave LSU its first ten point lead of the night (37-27) after making both free throws following a technical foul assessed to coach Joni Taylor. LSU was held scoreless for over 3 minutes as Texas A&M went 5-7 from the field in the same time. Aaliyah Del Rosario stopped the drought with a nice move down low and gave LSU a 10-point lead, 43-33.
The Tigers owned a 44-37 lead at halftime after scoring 22 in both quarters. The Aggies performed better from the field in the first half shooting 47-percent on 15-32 compared to LSU’s 41-percent on 15-37.
LSU outscored the Aggies 11-8 to start the third quarter and kept its double digit lead at the media timeout, 55-45. The Tigers pieced together a 9-0 run that saw LSU go 6-7 from the charity stripe. Williams hit her second three of the night with nine seconds remaining and gave LSU a 68-49 lead going into the final quarter.
The Tigers opened the fourth on a 8-0 run to push its total past the 75-point mark. Last-Tear Poa nailed a triple to get things started and hustled back on defense to take a charge moments later.
Johnson halted a 9-0 Aggie run with a fast break layup that moved LSU’s total to 80. The Tigers rode its lead through the final minutes and ended the night with a 17-point win over the Aggies.