LSU extended its winning streak to four games in a row when it defeated Rutgers by a final score of 64-58 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Sunday night.
Senior forward Ayana Mitchell led LSU (5-1) in scoring with 17 points and finished with a team-high 10 rebounds on the night. Junior guard Khayla Pointer led the team in assists with three and added 12 points. Junior center Faustine Aifuwa was also a major factor in the Tigers win, adding 16 points and seven rebounds.
In addition to being a key player for the Tigers in the win, Aifuwa did something even more remarkable. The junior center surpassed 500 points in her LSU career.
Another big factor in the Tigers’ win was the play off the bench of senior guard Mercedes Brooks. She played only seven minutes but all five of her points came in the fourth quarter of a tightly contested game.
“I thought Mercedes Brooks was huge down the stretch for us,” LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Fargas said. “She also did a really good job defensively for us as well.”
In fact, the entire LSU team played well defensively. The Tigers forced 21 turnovers and had 10 steals as a team. Perhaps the biggest contributor on defense was Pointer, who finished with a team-high four steals. The Tigers capitalized on Rutgers’ mistakes and scored 12 points off turnovers.
Fargas complimented LSU’s defense, but she was not the only one who took notice of the performance. Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer also praised the Tigers on the defensive side of the ball.
“Give credit to LSU. They are considered the best defensive team in the SEC, and I can see why,” Stringer said.
Fargas said LSU continued to throw different looks at Rutgers defensively to stop the flow offense.
Rebounding, specifically offensively, also played a huge part in the win for the Tigers. They outrebounded Rutgers 38-27 in total, but when it came to offensive rebounds, LSU had 22 compared to Rutgers’ 13.
Mitchell had six offensive rebounds and Aifuwa had five. Junior Awa Trasi also added four offensive rebounds in the win. The Tigers turned their offensive rebounds into points, finishing with 22 second chance points as a team.
The Tigers’ next two games will be in the Bahamas as they compete in the Junkanoo Jam. They face Michigan State on Friday November 29th and either Memphis or Kansas or Saturday November 30th.