After losing its first two games in the desert of Nevada, LSU women's basketball was hoping what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Unfortunately, the bad luck traveled with them back to Baton Rouge as the Tigers lost to UCF 58-48 on Friday night.
Junior Sarah Shematsi and senior Khayla Pointer both scored 15 points to lead LSU in scoring. Unfortunately, most of those points did not come until later in the game, and by then it was far too late for a comeback.
The Tigers started with a 2-0 lead in the first quarter, something they would never be able to say for the rest of the night. By the end of the first quarter, LSU was down 13-3. By halftime, the score was 30-12. The Tigers shot 12.5% from the field in the first half, a stat that is not going to win a team any games. When the final buzzer sounded, the Tigers had only improved that percentage to 27.5. Compared with UCF's 46.7% for the game, LSU never stood a chance.
LSU head coach Nikki Fargas was not pleased with the Tigers' slow offensive night.
"We were only coming away with one point a possession. There’s going to be a moment in the game where there’s only going to be so much that defense is going to be able to do, as far as holding your opponent," Fargas said. "We have to score more than three points in a quarter. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced when we did not make one field goal, so it’s really hard to make that up."
Another area of concern was LSU being outscored in the paint 32-6 by UCF. LSU has two very good players in its frontcourt in seniors Awa Trasi and Faustine Aifuwa. On Friday night, they combined for just seven points. If the Tigers want to win games, it starts with making those two a bigger part of the offense. Nikki Fargas echoed that sentiment in her postgame comments.
"I think Faustine Aifuwa and Awa Trasi, our four and our five; those are two that we depend on, and they have the experience. I think when you don’t have success early, it seems like we shy away from going back at the opponent," said Fargas. "I thought we had some paint points established by those two and when it doesn’t fall that doesn’t mean the next one can’t fall for you, so you got to keep going at them in the paint."
This loss came at the heels of LSU dropping its first two games of the season in the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout tournament. There, the Tigers lost 67-51 to BYU, and 62-42 to West Virginia.
The Tigers will look to secure their first win of the season on Monday, Dec. 14 at 5 p.m. as they host Texas Southern in the PMAC.