LSU Uses Third Quarter to Separate in 78-58 Win at Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — LSU’s 16-point third quarter margin propelled the Tigers in Tuscaloosa Thursday night with a 78-58 win over Alabama in Coleman Coliseum in front of an announced crowd of 5,575 that was the largest in Alabama Women’s Basketball history.
LSU outscored the Tide 44-23 in the second half, holding Alabama to 4-25 shooting over the final two quarters, to bounce back from a one-point deficit at halftime. Alabama dropped from 40.7-percent field goal shooting in the first half to 16.0-percent in the second. The Tigers were dominant off the glass all night and made the proper adjustments during the break to take over the game in the final 20 minutes.
“We executed, came out and ran some things there in the third quarter early that got us going,” Coach Kim Mulkey said. “I thought the big difference was we defended a little bit better.”
Angel Reese and Aneesah Morrow both finished with 20 points to lead all scorers and lead the Tigers to its 17th win of the season. The dynamic duo combined for 28 rebounds and each finished with a double-double. Reese had 17 boards to make it her 10th double-double and Morrow hauled in 11 rebounds to make it her 12th double-double of the year.
Mikaylah Williams and Flau’Jae Johnson were the other Tigers to reach double figures. Johnson also had 8 rebounds. Williams scored 14 points, 10 coming in the second half. Johnson finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds. Hailey Van Lith finished with 8 points and 4 assists with no turnovers.
Aalyiah Nye finished with 18 points after scoring all 18 in the first half to give the Tide a 1-point lead at halftime before Johnson held her scoreless in the second half. LSU’s aggressive game forced Alabama’s leading scorer Sarah Ashlee Barker into foul trouble throughout the game as she was limited to just 8 points, half of her season average going into the game. Loyal McQueen was the only other Alabama player to reach double digits with 15.
The Tigers will return home to face the Arkansas Razorbacks on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. CT inside the PMAC on ESPN with Tiffany Greene and Nikki Fargas. LSU will then host College Gameday on Thursday before taking on No. 1 South Carolina at 7 p.m. CT.
After the Tide scored the opening points of the contest, LSU put together a 9-0 run as it held Alabama scoreless for over three minutes. Alabama responded with a 9-0 run of its own to take a 11-9 lead with over three minutes remaining on the first. Nye hit her second three of the quarter to give Bama another lead, 16-13. Van Lith scored her first point on a layup to move the Tigers within one before the end of the first quarter. LSU did not attempt any free throws through the first 10 minutes.
Both squads traded buckets throughout the first three minutes of the quarter as Alabama held onto its one-point lead following LSU’s first trip to the foul line. Johnson swooped in for a tough rebound then went cross court for a driving layup that tied things up at 25 ahead of the media timeout. Morrow connected on her first triple of the night to cap off a 7-0 LSU run and force Alabama to call a timeout. The Tide hit back-to-back threes and Nye went 2-3 from the free throw line to make it 35-34 before halftime.
Nye was the difference in the first half as she went 4-7 from beyond the arc and finished the first two quarters with 18 points. LSU was just 2-9 from deep and shot 37-percent from the field compared to Bama’s 41-percent. The Tigers had success down low scoring 20 points in the paint and out-rebounding the Tide 26-18. LSU went 6-10 from the charity stripe and Alabama made 8 of its 10 attempts.
LSU wasted no time as it executed a quick screen to the elbow for Williams who knocked down the jumper and gave the Tigers a one point lead, 36-35. Morrow hit her second three-pointer of the night to extend the LSU run to 7-0 and force a timeout. Following the break, LSU went on a 10-3 run that saw buckets from 4 of the 5 starters on the floor. The Tigers outscored the Tide 26-10 in the third quarter to take a 15-point lead heading into the final ten minutes.
Reese scored 5 of LSU’s 10 points under three minutes into the final quarter to boost the Tigers lead to 21 ahead of the media timeout. Barker fouled out with 5:51 to go and ended her night with just 8 points. The Tide was held without a field goal for over four minutes through the middle of the quarter. Naomi Jones became Bama’s second player to foul out as she sent Aalyah Del Rosario to the line for the second time. After a few more trips to the free throw lines, LSU rode its lead to finish the night with a 20-point win.