After defeating Florida 73-59 on Thursday, Mar. 5, in the SEC tournament, LSU was set to face Mississippi State on Friday, Mar. 4. The Tigers faced the bulldogs only once earlier in the season, a game which they lost 64-60 in Starkville. Unfortunately, Friday night’s result was not as close as LSU lost 79-49 and were eliminated from the conference tournament.
“This is a tough loss for us. It’s going to sit a little bit longer in the pit of our stomach,” said LSU head coach Nikki Fargas. “But I will say I was proud of this group coming back after yesterday’s win and playing 20 minutes of really good basketball, really high-level basketball.”
Although the Tigers struggled offensively, there were a few bright spots on an otherwise tough night. Junior guard Khayla Pointer led the team with 14 points while also adding four assists and three rebounds. Junior center Faustine Aifuwa finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Junior forward Awa Trasi scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Tigers.
For the Bulldogs however, it was business as usual on offense. Rickea Jackson led the team with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Danberry scored 18 points while grabbing five rebounds and Myah Taylor had 10 points and added
Jackson’s play was the talk of the night and even gained praise from Fargas.
“I thought Jackson’s play was huge. We didn’t match what she was doing on the floor. They played scrappier and harder.”
Mississippi State also played well on the defensive end of the floor. They held LSU to 31.6% shooting on the night while State shot 52.3%. They had seven blocks, eight steals and forced the Tigers to commit 16 turnovers as opposed to the Bulldogs’ eight.
“They [Mississippi State] are one of the best teams in our conference and in the country with their defense,” said Pointer. “When you give a team like Mississippi State turnovers and transition points, that’s what they’re good at; that’s what their game is.”
LSU will have a break between now and the NCAA tournament.
“We have some time to take some days off, but we want to make sure we’re practicing and working on the things that challenged us this week,” Fargas said about what she and the team will be up to during their stretched break. “We want to make sure we’re getting this group ready as best we can.”
The Tigers will now have to wait for the NCAA selection show to find out when their next game will be. The show airs on Monday, March 16 at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN. LSU is currently projected to be a nine seed in the NCAA tournament.