The LSU Lady Tigers won a big game at home against the University of South Florida Bulls 78-49 on Sunday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center before entering Southeastern Conference play next week.
LSU played a complete game and were dominating on both offense and defense. It looks like the Lady Tigers are catching their rhythm right on time.
The game started with LSU taking a quick 21-0 lead over the Bulls. In the first half alone, the Lady Tigers had forced 17 turnovers. Of those turnovers, 11 were steals. LSU finished the game forcing 27 turnovers and had 18 steals.
Four Lady Tigers finished with double-digit points. Sophomore guard Khayla Pointer led all scorers with 18 points. Junior forward Ayana Mitchell and sophomore center Faustine Aifuwa both had 15 points. Junior forward Mercedes Brooks had 13 points off the bench.
“Our defense is something we really pride ourselves on,” Pointer said. “We really wanted to come out with some high intensity and try to force them to turn the ball over a little bit. We did what we wanted and executed our game plan.”
Most people predicted the game to be close, but LSU really showed up and played possibly their best game of the season. They outscored USF 40-12 in points in the paint, and outscored them 28-5 in points off of turnovers.
LSU shot pretty well during the game. They shot 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc. The blemish on this game was their performance at the free throw line, where they only shot 54.5 percent, making only 12-22.
“You want your team to get to the free throw line 20 plus times,” said LSU coach Nikki Fargas. “We did just but we only connected on 12 of those. As you go into the SEC, every point matters. Every little thing that you do matters. Making layups and free throws can cost you the game. We want to get better in that area.”
Ayana Mitchell said that this was a statement game.
“This point in the season you have to turn the corner,” Mitchell said. “I think this game for us was a statement game. Not only for our opponents but for ourselves. To show ourselves what we can do and what we are capable of. I think everyone was hyped about this game. USF is a great team. To do what we did against them, that says something about us.”
The team seems to be firing on all cylinders at this point in the season.
The team began the season with Mitchell as the star player and was in search for contributions from other players. Fargas experimented with several different lineups.
The Lady Tigers were not a great shooting team and had problems taking care of the ball. Now, any one of them can score double digits on any given night. Multiple players are locked into their roles and do their jobs.
”To have different players — post players, guards —step up, it gives us that balance attack,” Fargas said. “When you have five kids in double digit scoring on any team, that is always good. I think tonight we took a step forward.”
With conference play opening up against Georgia in a few days, they could not have picked a better time to find their rhythm.