Tennessee too much down the stretch for LSU
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The LSU Women's Basketball team fell, 63-58, to No. 23 Tennessee on Sunday afternoon. The loss puts the Tigers at 14-5 overall, 4-3 in the SEC. Tennessee moves to 16-4 and 6-1 in conference play.
Senior Ayana Mitchell fought hard on both sides of the ball and picked up her 36th career double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Junior Khayla Pointer also scored in double figures with 12 points and made three key steals. Junior Awa Trasi came off the bench to kick in eight points and grab five rebounds.
LSU scored first off the tip with a layup by Mitchell.
By the first media timeout, LSU was leading Tennessee 11-4 with 4:40 left in the first quarter with all 11 points scored by Mitchell.
The Lady Vols made a strong comeback to be up by one, 14-13, going into the second quarter.
Mitchell again with a layup put the Tigers on top to kick off the second quarter at 15-14 with 8:59 left in the half.
After an answer by Tennessee to put the score at 16-15, the next score came almost three minutes later with a made free throw by Pointer to tie it up.
The Lady Vols led 30-26 after an offensive battle in the final minutes of the half.
In the third quarter, Tennessee extended its lead 41-34 at the media timeout with 5:31 to go.
A layup and three-pointer by Mitchell began to close the gap for the Tigers, down only six at 45-39 with 2:40 left until the fourth quarter.
After a layup by Tennessee, both teams were scoreless for the remainder of the third quarter and head into the fourth with the Lady Vols up, 47-39.
Pointer started the fourth quarter with a jumper, 47-41.
As LSU and Tennessee traded points, the Lady Vols were up 58-50 at the fourth quarter media timeout despite Trasi's jumper and two free throws along with a three from Pointer.
LSU outrebounded Tennessee 45-32.
The Tigers are currently 3-3 against Top 25 competition this season. Today's game was the third in a row LSU had played against Top 25 teams.
LSU will be on the road again Thursday, January 30, to take on Florida in Gainesville. The game will be at 5 p.m. CT and will air on SEC Network Plus. Live stats will be available.
Head Coach Nikki Fargas Post-Game Quotes
On trouble with layups and getting shots to fall…
"Yeah, we had a lot of looks in the paint. Especially when you play a team like Tennessee, who has length, you still want to attack and get some of those easy looks as best as you can in the paint and I feel like we just didn't convert as many as we needed to. This group is tough defensively, they obviously do enough defensively. It's just offensively, we really struggled in scoring in the paint, when you're on the road you really don't want to miss those easy ones. I felt like that really plagued us with the inability to consistently make those layups."
On foul trouble in the first half and unfortunately having to take Mitchell out…
"Well we needed to. We had her with two, Aifuwa with two, Brooks with two, and Pointer with two and Trasi with two in the very first half. Foul trouble definitely didn't allow us to extend. I felt like we were very in tune to what we needed to do, but when you have to sit Mitchell, and Aifuwa and Pointer at one point, that's pretty tough but my bench played some good minutes. They had some opportunities there and they're going to be better because of it. They're going to be better because of the experience they got but it's going to be really hard for us to win a lot of ball games with those three not playing most of the first half."
On out-rebounding them 45-32 and aggression against a bigger team being a plus…
"It was, you want to control the boards, but we didn't do a great job on (Rennia) Davis. I really felt like our scouting-report-defense let us down. It was something that we had been really keyed in on. We've got so many good players in our league, but she's what we would call a 'no-touch.' We allowed her to get the angles and touch and make the offense come easy for her but she's a really good basketball player and we've got to take and this game and grow and learn from it."
On Tennessee being able to answer LSU's plays…
"I think we also put ourselves in a predicament when we had what was a flurry of turnovers and I really feel like we're that team that if you cut those turnovers down, and you give yourself a chance at the buckets, that might be two or three more baskets that we could've scored. But, I like the fact that this team was down double-digits, still kept fighting. I like that we have that fight in us, I just want us to have that fight and be able to have this game in our reach like we did but it needs to be for forty-minutes. I keep saying that this is a forty-minute game and I felt like we had some defensive (dropoff) which allowed them to score. We definitely need to have more offensive execution and making layups is one way to give us a better offensive look against a team like Tennessee."