With a late start, OT, and weather, it was reported that the Ags didn’t get back to College Station from Mizzou until Friday afternoon. Having traveled to Florida and Missouri around the start of Spring classes, I wondered if the Ags would have fatigue issues for Sunday’s game.
LSU started a small lineup with Alexis Hyder and 4 guards. As usual, Nicky Fargas played a ball-hawking zone. The Ags also came out in a 2-3 zone, which we’ve been doing much more than usual with this season’s short bench. Looking at the matchups by size, most of the crowd expected the Ags to be able to dominate inside. And we did... sort of.
Both teams started slowly and the Ags turned the ball over twice before scoring first. The score was 7-7 at 4:48 when a series of turnovers allowed LSU to go on a 5-0 run broken by a jumper by Jasmine Lumpkin. Coach Blair has decided to sit Anriel after her first foul instead of waiting for a second, which meant she was replaced by Cooper just over halfway into the first quarter. She returned at the end of the quarter when Lumpkin committed her first foul.
The Ags committed 5 turnovers in the first quarter and gave up 6 offensive boards while only getting 2 second chance attempts.
LSU 17 A&M 11 after the first.
The refs were letting the play get physical and the Bayou Bengals were showing that height is not everything for rebounding by doing an exceptional job of boxing out... sometimes with the benefit of some non-calls that had Coach Blair unusually animated on the bench. The players seemed to get frustrated as well, but after Chloe Jackson got the lead to 9 with a 3 pointer, the Ags were still able to go on a 9-0 run capped by a Knox 3-pointer to tie the score at 20 with 4:40 remaining in the half.
But that was the last field goal in the half for A&M. LSU countered with a 12-2 run for the remainder of the period.
LSU 32 A&M 22 at halftime.
LSU’s Raigyne Moncrief led all scorers at halftime with 12 points. Moncrief is a very athletic 5-10 and she had 5 boards and 2 blocked shots in the first half. Khaalia led the Ags with 10 points, but was frustrated by LSU’s sagging zone in that she was 5-9 in shooting with 3 turnovers.
What killed us in the first half was when they had 11 offensive boards. - Gary Blair in the postgame
LSU was able to stretch the lead to +15 a few minutes into the second half, and everyone in Reed expected the Ags to rededicate themselves to getting the ball inside to Khaalia. But it was mostly Danni and Curtyce who started whittling away at the LSU lead. The A&M defense and rebounding stepped up their intensity as well. After getting away with lot of contact in the first half, Hyder was called for three fouls in the quarter and went to the bench with 4:39 to go. Khaalia made one of two FTs on that third (called) foul to cut the lead to 8. The teams traded layups to make it 41-33 with 3:28 to go in the third.
A weird sequence at 2:16 in the quarter was this game’s version of the clock stopping for the men vs Georgia. I had to go back to the DVR to see what had happened. Anriel had just been called for her third foul. Moncrief on the baseline inbounded the ball to Jasmine Rhodes, who passed to Chloe Jackson on the left side of the court. Enterline seems to have spaced out not moved out of the way quickly enough as Jackson retreated under pressure from Curtyce, and Jackson dribbled the ball off his foot. Jackson and Knox both went for the ball and Jackson knocked it out of bounds with Enterline still trying to get out of the way. Curtyce made contact with Jackson on the waist and Jackson fell on the sideline. Enterline pointed for A&M possession as he was turning away from the play. Then, with his back to the action, Enterline spun and called at technical foul on Curtyce, who is dumbstruck and can be seen mouthing “Who, me?”
This led to a video review that led to the technical being rescinded, no foul at all on Curtyce, and Aggies ball. A&M didn’t score on the possession, and got a stop after that.
Anriel finally got her first FG with 1:08 remaining in the third. Khaalia hit Danni with an outlet pass on a rebound to trigger a fast break. Danni used a nice spin move to get off a shot but Moncrief made a better play to block the shot. Anriel got the rebound, laid it up and was fouled by Rhodes. That cut the lead to 5, but a late layup by Moncrief gave LSU a 7 point lead going into the final quarter.
LSU 43 A&M 36 after the third.
Guard play continued to matter as Danni opened the scoring in the final period to get the lead to 5. A pair of baskets by Jackson stretched it to 9, but then Curytce hit a 3 pointer. Cooper came in for Lumpkin, who had commited her 4th foul trying to jump into a passing lane. After Anriel cut the lead to 4 on a drive, spin, and right handed hook shot, Cooper drained a 3 to cut the lead to 1. Hyder answered with a bucket in the paint, but with 3:41 remaining Cooper hit her second 3 pointer of the game to tie the score at 49.
The Ags still couldn’t get the lead, but the crowd, which included a contingent from the Corps, was getting loud during the run. Curtyce was called for a touch foul on Hill, putting LSU Into the bonus. Hill made the first and missed the second. A long rebound went to Moncrief, who was fouled by Cooper. Moncrief hit two FTs to make it 52-49. The Ags turned it over on the next possession but got a stop with 1:49 left in the game. After a timeout, Shanice Norton fouled Danni, who was cutting to take the inbounds pass. The Ags were in the bonus too, but Danni was only able to make 1 of 2.
Norton missed a jumper and on the other end Khaalia missed a layup but the rebound went off Jackson, giving the Ags a second chance. LSU was able to force Curtyce to pass to Cooper instead of feeding Khaalia in the paint, but Cooper found Hillsman for a layup to tie it again with 39 seconds left.
Both teams used timeouts with LSU’s advancing the ball to the frontcourt. Moncrief ran the shot clock down to XX and drove the left side. Khaalia cut her off and Danni lunged for the ball. Moncrief went down but somehow kept her dribble alive as Danni was on the floor and Curtyce hurdled over her to avoid fouling. Moncrief got up, pulled up at the FT line... and missed. Rebound Hillsman; timeout A&M to advance the ball. 15 seconds left.
Cooper took the ball out. LSU denied the pass to Curtyce so Taylor passed the ball to Anriel, who had been setting a pick. Anriel almost lost the ball but Cooper recovered and handed off to Knox with just over 10 seconds remaining. Curtyce started on the right side of the key, crossed over and went into the lane dribbling with her left hand. Khaalia was being double teamed on the right block. Anriel was posting up on the left side. As Anriel’s defender moved to help on Knox, Curtyce saw an opportunity and slipped a bounce pass to Howard, who laid it up from the left side of the bucket as Hyder tried to rotate off of Khaalia.
Afterward, Coach Blair said that the call was for Curtyce to either find Hillsman or take it herself. Coach Starkey said Curtyce saw Anriel when the coaches on the bench didn’t see her come open. 54-52 Ags. A&M’s first lead came with 3.6 seconds remaining and was the first time they led since 2-0 in the first quarter. LSU had held the lead for 37 minutes.
LSU still had a chance to tie or win with 3.6 seconds remaining and the ability to use a timeout to advance the ball. Coach Fargas used a second timeout after seeing the D. Moncrief took the ball out on the sideline. She found Hyder, who had come across the baseline to set up on the left side of the key. Hyder evaded Taylor’s double team and got a shot off in the lane over Khaalia. It hit the back of the rim, bounced a couple of times, and fell harmlessly off the side as the buzzer went off.
Final Score Ags 54, LSU 52
After the War Hymn Coach Blair took the PA mike and thanked the remaining crowd for taking the time to come instead of watching “that damned football game” (Packers-Falcons).
- The comeback was the largest of the season in a year when the Ags have come back from double digit deficits several times already. The last time they came back from down 15 to win was against Duke in 2014.
We've done this too many times, and when you look at it, we shoot 46 in the third and 58 in the last quarter. I'm tired of going back there and giving the halftime speeches that Coach Starkey, Kelly (Bond-White) and I have to give, but so far it works. - Blair in the postgame
- Three Ags finished in double digits for points. Khaalia led the team with 13 points. 10 were in the first half but her last basket tied the game near the end. Hillsman was 1 rebound short of another double-double. Curtyce and Danni had 12 apiece. Anriel only had 7 points but had the game winner. She led the Ags with 11 rebounds.
- Raigyne Moncrief led LSU with 18 points and tied for the lead in boards with 9 boards. She also blocked 3 shots and had 2 steals. When not playing the Ags it’s not hard to root for Moncrief. She’s a great player, has overcome the adversity of last season’s knee injury, and she’s an Electrical Engineering major. Chloe Jackson was also in double digits with 12. Both Moncrief and Jackson played all 40 minutes.
- The win put the Ags in third place in the SEC at 5-2. Kentucky shares the W/L but we have the head to head win. This is good, but we still have all 3 of our games with top 5 teams Miss State and S. Carolina ahead, starting next Sunday. LSU falls to 14-6 overall and 3-4 in the SEC. All 6 of their losses have come to teams that have been ranked at some point during the year.
- It was not just we back Pat day, but also the day when players parents and families are honored.
- #4 Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs
- Sunday Jan 29, 2017 3PM CST
- Humphrey Coliseum, Starkville, MS
- TV: SEC Network Radio 1150AM/102.7FM
The first half of conference play ends with another edition of Vic vs Gary, two coaches whose careers have been intertwined for decades. The mentor dominated when Vic was starting his rebuilding at MSU, but Vic will have higher rated team at home next Sunday, with a lot more depth. Both teams have byes on Thursday, but the #4 Bulldogs will be coming off a Monday showdown in Columbia with #5 South Carolina for the top spot in the SEC standings. Likely starters:
- #35 6-1 Jr F Victoria Vivians (17.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg) is an easy choice for the All-SEC team and is a candidate for All-American. She is strong both inside and outside, leading the team in 3 pointers made and attempted, as well as in FG attempts overall.
- #45 6-5 Sr C Chinwe Okorie (9.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg) has had a solid career for MSU and will be able to defend Khaalia one on one. Her backup, 6-7 soph Teaira McCowan leads the team in blocks.
- #2 5-5 Jr G Morgan William (11 ppg) is a lightning quick point. She averages 4.1 assists/game.
- #00 5-9 Sr G Dominique Dillingham (6.3 ppg) is a glue player who always seems to be around the ball. She’s a hustle player and defender.
- #3 6-1 Sr F Breanna Richardson (7.6 ppg, 5 rpg) is easy to overlook but is solid
As you’d expect from a Vic Schaefer team, MSU is known for defense, holding opponents to an average of 53.5 ppg. Opponents are averaging 22.5 turnovers/game, with the Bulldogs getting an average of 10.4 steals.