BATON ROUGE — The LSU Women’s Basketball Team picked up their third win against a Top 15 opponent this season as they defeated No. 11 Kentucky 65-59 on Sunday afternoon. The win pushes the Tigers to 14-4 overall and 4-2 in the conference. Kentucky will fall to 15-3 and 4-2 in SEC play.
Junior Faustine Aifuwa posted her sixth career double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Four other players totaled double-figure scoring, led by senior Ayana Mitchell with 15 points. Guards Khayla Pointer and Jaelyn Richard-Harris scored 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Jailin Cherry came off the bench for a season-high 13 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
· Ayana Mitchell put the Tigers on the board first at the free throw line and went on to score the first five points game, 5-0.
· At the first timeout of the game, LSU was up 7-4 against the Wildcats.
· Kentucky called another timeout after a 5-2 run by the Tigers. LSU headed into the second quarter up 16-9 over the Wildcats.
· With 5:23 left in the first half, the Tigers led the Wildcats 24-12 with Aifuwa and Mitchell having led the charge on both sides of the ball.
· Despite exchanging baskets with the Wildcats, LSU still had the 28-16 lead at halftime.
· Jaelyn Richard-Harris sunk a three to put the Tigers up 33-21 just before the media timeout in the third quarter.
· LSU kept their momentum and extended their lead to 43-25 with one-minute left until the fourth quarter.
· The Tigers took a timeout as Kentucky attempted a comeback on a 7-0 run. LSU leads 47-36 with 7:19 left in the game.
· After only making 1-of-2 free throws and fouling the Tigers, Kentucky called a 30 second timeout and then immediately fouled Khayla Pointer, who made both free throws which brought the Tigers lead to 54-44.
· As the battle on the free throw lines continued, LSU led 58-51 with 59 seconds left in the game.
· Kentucky took a timeout with 30 seconds left in the game, after Richard-Harris sank her sixth free throw of the fourth quarter.
LSU will be on the road to take on Tennessee next weekend. The game will be at Noon CT in Thompson-Boling Arena. It will air on the SEC Network and live stats will be available.
Head Coach Nikki Fargas Post-Game Quotes
On locking in defensively…
“We knew Kentucky would be a tough team because they have a lot of weapons. They make 10 threes a game so they get about 30 points from there and then 15 from the free throw line so we had 45 points that we had to lock in on. I thought our defensive effort, through the first three quarters, was huge. We knew this was going to be a game of runs and we were able to answer their runs.”
On overcoming their tough defense…
“On the flip side, they are a very good defensive team. I thought we had some possessions where they forced turnovers and picked up their defensive intensity and it led to transition baskets for them. But I am really proud of this group for coming back after a close, hard fought game against Mississippi State. This game was obviously a must win because you have to win at home in SEC play. Our board play helped us separate as well because we didn’t allow them to get offensive rebounds.”
On getting the ball down low to Mitchell and Aifuwa…
“When you have a player like Mitchell who is shooting over 70 percent, she has to get touches. There was really only one stretch where I had to get into my guards to get the ball down low and they then became more in tuned with playing with (Ayana) Mitchell and (Faustine) Aifuwa.”
On good bench play…
Again though, we wanted our bench to come in and contribute and we really felt like we got some great minutes from Awa Trasi and Jailin Cherry. All in all, this group took the challenge and were able to grow from our last loss and be better today.”
(Press Release Provided by LSU Athletics)