BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU women’s basketball team took down the Missouri Tigers, 80-71, here at the Maravich Center Thursday evening and extended the home winning streak to seven games.
LSU improved to 14-3 overall and 3-1 in the SEC with the victory. With the loss, Mizzou fell to 11-7 overall; 1-3 in conference action. The Lady Tigers are 9-1 at the PMAC this season, with the only loss being to UConn.
Junior guard Raigyne Moncrief led the team in four categories with 23 points, six rebounds, four assists and five steals. Moncrief was a perfect 13-of-13 from the free-throw line, tying Pietra Gay’s performance against Memphis during the 1995-96 season. This was the sixth time this season that Moncrief had scored 20 or more points, and the seventh time she has led the Lady Tigers in scoring.
Chloe Jackson scored 20 points off a 6-of-14 effort from the field and a 7-of-9 showing from the charity stripe. This was the third-straight game that Jackson has scored 20 or more points, and extended her double-digit scoring streak to eight games. Jackson also contributed six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Moncrief and Jackson both played the full 40 minutes and the duo was 18-of-19 from the free-throw line just in the fourth quarter.
Rina Hill tied her season high with 12 points and Ayana Mitchell was the fourth Lady Tiger to score in double figures with 10 points.
Missouri dominated from behind the three-point line to begin the first quarter as sisters Sophie and Lindsey Cunningham combined for four of Missouri’s five three pointers within the first five minutes of the game. Sophie Cunningham finished the night with a game-high 32 points off a 12-of-17 effort from the field, which included hitting five of her seven attempts from behind the arc.
Down 21-16 to begin the second quarter, Hill kicked the LSU offense into gear scoring six of the LSU’s eight unanswered points before Missouri’s Sierra Michaelis answered with a trio of three-pointers of her own.
Jackson responded with LSU’s only three-pointer of the game as the two teams traded baskets until a 34-31 Missouri lead brought an end to the first half.
The Cunninghams added six more points to open the second half before the LSU defense began to stifle Missouri. Jackson and Alexis Hyder combined to score 12 unanswered points for the Lady Tigers, who held Missouri scoreless for over four-and-a-half minutes during that stretch, and Mizzou was only able to generate four free throws at that point. LSU held the Tigers without a field goal for nearly six minutes of the third quarter, and used that 12-0 run to pull ahead, 47-40.
The third quarter ended with LSU up 53-49 before two more three-pointers from Cunningham helped level the game at 57 with 7:34 remaining.
A 10-2 run by LSU soon followed, however, and the Lady Tigers would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the night and ultimately increased their lead to nine points for the eventual 80-71 victory.
LSU went 21-of-23 (92 percent) from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to seal the game and went 23-of-26 (89 percent) overall, with the only other free throws coming in the third quarter. The Lady Tigers, who had been outrebounded in the last four-straight contests, dominated the boards, 28-19. LSU also generated 33 points off 27 Mizzou turnovers.
The Lady Tigers host No. 5 South Carolina on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the PMAC. The Gamecocks enter Sunday’s game with a 14-1 overall record and a 4-0 mark in the SEC, after defeating Georgia, 66-63, earlier this evening.
The first 500 fans to arrive on Sunday will receive a floppy hat in celebration of National Hat Day. Fans should also note that the Louisiana Marathon will be on campus Sunday morning and campus traffic prior to 8:30 a.m. will be impacted.
The LSU Sports Radio Network will carry the game on its flagship station Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. The radio broadcast featuring Patrick Wright, the voice of the Lady Tigers, also will be available for free at www.LSUsports.net/live. In addition, the game will be carried online only through the digital platform of SEC Network Plus, and is available on www.WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.
NOTES & TRENDS
· Starters for LSU were Chloe Jackson, Rina Hill, Alexis Hyder, Raigyne Moncrief & Ayana Mitchell. This starting lineup is 9-1 so far this season.
· Raigyne Moncrief led LSU with 23 points, marking her sixth 20-point game this season. Moncrief was 13 of 13 from the free-throw line. It was the best mark for the line for the junior when attempting 10 or more free throws.
· Chloe Jackson scored 20 points to extend her double-digit scoring streak to eight games. She has scored 20 or more points four times this season.
· This is the second time this season that Moncrief and Jackson have both scored 20 or more points in a single game. The duo also did so against Florida with Jackson scoring 34 and Moncrief scoring 20.
· LSU outrebounded Missouri, 28-19, snapping a four-game streak in which the opponent controlled the boards.
· LSU is now 7-3 over Missouri in the series history, which includes a 4-1 record at the PMAC.
· With the 23 made free throws, LSU has now hit 20 or more free throws in four games this season. LSU matched its season high, which was 23 against Alabama State.
· LSU scored 33 points off 27 turnovers, marking the sixth time this season that LSU has scored 30 or more points off turnovers. LSU came into the game averaging 25 points a contest off turnovers.
· The Lady Tigers have forced 20 or more turnovers in 11 games, including in the last three-straight SEC contests.
LSU HEAD COACH NIKKI FARGAS
“At the end of the half we came into the locker room and said ‘They’re shooting 72 percent.’ We said that had to be an SEC record of some sort to shoot that high of a percentage from the field. They were also shooting a high percentage from the three-point line. For us, we talked about eliminating their possessions, and we did so through our defensive pressure. To force 27 turnovers, it says a lot about us changing up our defense, but also really trying to disrupt the rhythm of their offense.”
On how her team has found ways to win recently…
“We’ve got a lot of different weapons and people are sagging and overloading to try and pack it in. We’re actually a jump-shooting team so that plays to our advantage. I thought our shot selection was really good. We’re going to have to be better at our inbound defense and our inbound offense. Those are two areas we’re going to pay a lot of attention to over the next two days.”
On how she prepared them for today…
“We challenged them to try and get into the gym to do some extra work, and it paid off for us. We really tried to play aggressively, and not just fall for the jump shot. I thought our dribble-drives were there. I thought we attacked, but Missouri is one of those teams that is always difficult to play. They have the great equalizer in the three ball.”
On defending home-court come Sunday against South Carolina…
“We’re going to defend it. We hope a lot of purple and gold show up to support this team. They’re playing extremely hard, and they’re a fun group to watch because we want that tempo to be up in our favor. It’s going to be a good battle on Sunday.”
On looking ahead to South Carolina Sunday…
“They still have Alaina Coates, one of the most dominant post players in the country. She is someone that has been in a lot of different situations. They have experience on the perimeter with (Kaela) Davis and also (Allisha) Gray, who are two very skilled guards who can really shoot the three ball as good as Missouri. They have that inside-outside attack, and I know they’ll be playing with a high level of intensity for A’ja Wilson who was out their last game.”
MIZZOU HEAD COACH ROBIN PINGETON
“We just didn’t have poise tonight. We tried to play too quick at times and tried to make plays that weren’t ready to be developed. After the game, I told the team I was proud of them. I thought we played one heck of a game other than taking care of the ball. They (LSU) scored 33 points off of turnovers. We talked about it (playing slow) and we watched film. I just think that it’s one of those cases that we just got sped up too many times, which is exactly what LSU wanted to happen. They’re a very good defensive team, but there’s a lot of those (turnovers) that you look back on. We did a great job defending in the half court. We gave up a few too many offensive rebounds, but the bottom line is that we just need to have more poise and discipline and play at a tempo that we want to play at. Other than that, I thought we played a heck of a game.”