No. 13 LSU Hosts Alabama Sunday In Play4Kay Game
BATON ROUGE – No. 13 LSU (20-4, 7-3 SEC) will host Alabama (19-6, 6-4 SEC) in its Play4Kay game on Sunday at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
The annual Play4Kay game in support of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund aims to raise awareness for cancer impacting women. Every year Coach Bob Starkey and his wife Sherie, who fought a winning battle with breast cancer, pledge one dollar for every student in attendance at the game. Last season Flau’Jae Johnson matched Coach Starkey’s donation and she plans to do it again this year. Fans can also help raise money for the Kay Yow Fund either with a flat donation or by pledging a certain amount for every rebound the Tigers secure through the month of February.
The game will air on ESPN2 with Courtney Lyle and Carolyn Peck, calling their second straight LSU game. Patrick Wright and Shaeeta Williams will call the action on the LSU Sports Radio Network, 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. Following its game on Sunday, LSU will be off Thursday before heading to College Station to face Texas A&M next Monday.
“When we’re all in a correct ready position and I look on the floor and all five of them have their knees bent and all five of them are guarding the basketball, you know you’re getting through and you know you’re going to win some basketball games,” Coach Kim Mulkey said about her team’s defense.
This will be the second time the Tigers and the Crimson Tide meet on the floor this season. LSU beat Alabama by 20 on January 18 in Tuscaloosa, 78-58. LSU went into the half down by one but dominated the third quarter with a 16-point margin and the Tigers limited the Tide to only four made field goals in the second half.
LSU has had back-to-back powerful performances. Last Sunday the Tigers beat Florida, 106-66, and then on Thursday took down Vanderbilt in Nashville, 85-62. LSU had at least five players score in double figures in both games and used great defense to fuel its high-powered offense. LSU scores 90.2 points per game, the second most in the country.
“We’re getting better, and we are playing better basketball right now than we have really probably all year,” Coach Mulkey said. “It starts on the defensive end of the floor. We are starting the help each other more. We are moving our feet more. I’m using out bench more. We can score the ball at all positions, but we have to get better defensively, and we have.”
Aneesah Morrow is closing in on a career milestone, entering Sunday’s game with 1,994 points in her college career. She has scored in double figures in 24 straight games as she looks to reach 2,000. This season she is averaging 17.7 points and 10.0 rebounds per game with 15 double-doubles. Angel Reese, who is also nearing 2,000 with 1,930 career points, leads LSU with 19.1 points and 12.3 rebound per game and has 14 double-doubles this year. LSU is the only team in the country with two players who rank in the top-10 nationally in double-doubles.
Flau’Jae Johnson was a key player in the first matchup in Tuscaloosa. Guarding Aaliyah Nye who had a productive first half, Johnson locked her down and held her to zero second half points as a defensive spark that spread throughout the team. With its high-powered offense, LSU’s defense has been its main goal for improvement as the regular season begins to wind down. LSU held Florida and Vanderbilt to a combined 33-percent shooting over its past two games as the Tigers look to finish strong down the stretch.
“It’s each perimeter player getting better and understanding principals, understanding help the teammate, understanding when to switch and it just took some time for us to get there,” Coach Mulkey said.
Alabama will come to the PMAC having won its previous four games, including a 72-56 victory over Tennessee. Nye led the team with 23 points and Alabama limited Tennessee to shoot 35.3-percent from the field. The game was largely even in three of the quarters, but Alabama’s 28-14 third quarter pushed the Tide to victory.
The Tide average just over seven made threes per game, the third most in the SEC. Sarah Ashlee Barker, who scored just nine points in the win over Tennessee, leads Alabama with 16.9 points per game this season.