LSU Mounts Second Half Comeback in 85-66 Win Over Alabama
BATON ROUGE – No. 13 LSU trailed Alabama by 10 at halftime on Sunday in the PMAC, but the Tigers ratcheted up its defensive pressure in the second half and battled to win the game, 85-66.
Alabama, who had won four in a row, built its lead with a 8-19 three point shooting performance in the second half. With the 10-point deficit, LSU began the second half with its full-court press and quickly got itself back in the game. The Tigers gained the lead less than four minutes into the third quarter and after Alabama briefly went back in front, but LSU took the lead for good at the 4:13 mark in the third and ran away with the game.
“You want to peak at the right time of the year,” Coach Kim Mulkey said. “I thought it was gut check time for us in the second half. I thought it took leadership. I thought it took skill. But it took a lot of effort to get back in that ball game and to do it quick enough to where you could extend the lead.”
Angel Reese had one of her most dominant performances of the season. She had 27 points, 19 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block. Aneesah Morrow, who finished the game with nine points, went over 2,000 points in her college career. Morrow also had eight rebounds. They helped LSU win the battle of points in the paint, 50-8.
Last-Tear Poa also had one of her best games of the year. She scored a season-high 11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block. Poa also took two charges to bring her season total to 28. Mikaylah Williams scored 14 and had nine rebounds with three assists.
“Poa has just accepted her role at any place that she’s at and I think having an unselfish player like that on your team is something you’ll always love,” Reese said.
Alabama had four players in double-figures, led by Aaliyah Nye with 19 points, but other than those four Alabama only had two players score. Sarah Ashlee Barker led the team with seven rebound and Jessica Timmons led the Tider with six assists.
Alabama built its lead in the first half by shooting 8-19 from deep, but LSU did not allow the same looks in the second half and limited Alabama to x made threes in the second half. The Tigers also got their offense rolling, doing a good job of sharing the ball and being relentless on the boards while hitting open shots.
LSU improves to 21-4 (8-3), while Alabama falls to 19-7 (6-5). LSU will be off Thursday and be back in action on Monday, February 19, visiting Texas A&M at 6 p.m. CT in Bryan-College Station.
Alabama came out hot from beyond the arc, sinking three of its first four three attempts to jump out to a 9-4 lead, forcing a LSU timeout. LSU chipped away with contributions from Reese and Last-Tear Poa, but Alabama sank three more threes to extend its lead to 23-14 at the end of the first quarter. The Tide made half of their 12 three-point attempts in the first quarter and LSU shot just 28-percent from the field.
After Alabama built its lead to 10, Morrow recorded a steal a minute into the second quarter that led to a fastbreak layup for her on the other end. Reese cut the deficit to six with a pair of free throws, but LSU couldn’t mount a quick run as Alabama continued to get stops and make timely buckets to get its lead up to 11 into the media timeout. Out of the media timeout, LSU switched to a 2-3 zone for a few possessions and forced one stop and Reese hit a spinning layup on the other end. But anytime LSU looked to go on a run, Alabama got timely stops and continued to score to maintain the lead. The Tide took a 41-31 lead into the break.
Poa recorded a second-chance bucket off a Morrow miss to begin the second and LSU forced a quick Alabama timeout going to a full-court press. Out of the timeout and LSU still in the press, Poa got a steal and drew a foul, sinking both free throws. On the other end, Alabama was able to break the press, but Poa stepped over in help and drew her 27th charge of the season. Reese came back on the other end with a lefty hook to bring it within four. Reese hit another layup off of her own miss a few possessions later to get the Tigers within one, 42-41, as Alabama took its second timeout of the quarter. LSU took the lead when Poa found Reese on a baseline inbound play for an easy layup. After Williams nailed a three to go up 51-47, Poa took another charge. Morrow gave LSU a five point lead with two free throws, putting her at 2,000 points in her college career. LSU built the lead to 11 going into the third after Reese got a big block that led to a Poa behind the back dish to Johnson and then another steal led to an Angel Reese layup as time was expiring. LSU outscored Alabama, 30-9, in the third quarter with eight forced turnovers.
LSU came out with the same fourth quarter energy with great defensive pressure and offensive execution. Johnson led the team with eight points in the fourth as the team marched on the win No. 21.