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WBB: Ags fall short in Baton Rouge 67-63

The Women’s Bouncy Ball team couldn’t complete another comeback at LSU

NCAA Womens Basketball: Connecticut at Louisiana State
Raigyne Moncrief iced the win vs A&M on Thursday
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Unusually, the Women and Men were both on the road on the same night, with the Men starting an hour earlier at Vandy, while the Women were getting ready in Baton Rouge.

First quarter

The game started sloppily for both teams with lots of turnovers. Down 8-6, the Ags went on an 8-0 run but LSU rallied at the end. Danni Williams had to go to the bench late in the quarter with 2 fouls. LSU had trouble defending when the Khaalia was able to get the ball in the paint, but turnovers kept it close.

16-14 Ags after 1.

Second quarter

The teams traded the lead early in the quarter. LSU found something on the offensive end by putting two posts, MItchell and Hyder, in the game together. Khaalia continued to be unstoppable when she got the ball. Blair put Walnatia Wright in with 5:08 to go to give Khaalia some rest before the media timeout. LSU went up 3 before Tyce drew a foul on Rina Hill to force the break. At that point the Ags were shooting 70..6% but had 10 turnovers.

Khaalia missed her first shot of the night after the timeout after starting 7-7. The Ags went on an offensive dry spell forcing Blair to call a timeout with 2:14 to go in the half down 32-25. The Ags cut into the lead but a late jumper by Moncrief made it a 5 point margin.

LSU 34 Ags 29 at half.

Hillsman had 14 points in the half. Moncrief had 12 for LSU. 12 turnovers and 9 offensive rebounds allowed LSU to take 10 more shots in the first half than the Ags, so that the Tigers led despite shooting a lower FG% (13-23 for 56.5% vs 16-33 for 48.5%).

It was the Breast Cancer game for LSU. Coach Starkey spent a good part of his career on the LSU coaching staff and so his wife was among the cancer survivors honored at halftime.

Third quarter

A 5-0 run by Danni erased the halftime lead. The Ags made it a 9-0 run to go up 4 at 38-34 with 6:46 to go in the third. It was 40-38 at the media timeout with 4:54 to go. LSU tied it at 40; the Ags went inside to Khaalia to go back up by 4. Moncrief got it back to even at 44 with 2:52 remaining in the quarter. LSU would finish the quarter converting a turnover by Cooper into a 3 point lead.

LSU 49, Ags 46 after 3 quarters

Fourth quarter

Aaliyah Jackson and Jasmine Lumpkin started the final quarter, giving Danni and Anriel a little rest. Danni would come back in for Aaliyah after 45 seconds. LSU would stretch the lead to 6 but the Ags have fought back throughout this season. Cooper 3 pointers would pull the Ags back to within a possession twice. LSU went up 6 again on a Hyder second chance with 5:40 remaining, but Knox and Hillsman traded assists to cut it to 60-59 with 4:42 left. The next several minutes were tense as each team was unable to take control of the game.

At 4:10, it looked like the Ags would take the lead when Khaalia got a great look under the basket, missed, got her own rebound and was fouled as the putback went in. But the refs called the foul before the shot and instead of leading with an and one opportunity, Cooper missed a 3 on the inbounds play. Anriel fouled out on the rebound.

The Ags got a stop and Danni missed a 3. The Ags got another stop and Taylor missed a 3. With 2:22 remaining and the shot clock running down, Moncrief tried to drive into the middle. Curtyce stole the ball and ran out on a fast break. But two LSU defenders were back and as she tried to turn and drop the ball off to a trailing Lumpkin, the pass was either off target or deflected. Moncrief ended up with the ball and LSU broke the scoring drought when Ayana Mitchell hit a layup off a nice spin move in the lane.

The Ags moved the ball well to find Danni in the left corner for an open look. The 3 ball was in and out but Lumpkin got the offensive rebound. The Ags reset. When LSU covered the other players, Curtyce was able to find Jasmine at the FT line on the left side of the lane. Jasmine made a strong move to the basket and cut the lead back to 1.

At 62-61 Hyder tried to drive the left side of the Aggie zone. She ran over Cooper for an offensive foul. A timeout by Blair moved the inbounds play to the front court with 43.2 seconds left. Cooper passed to Knox, who returned the ball to Cooper. Cooper tried to drive the split two defenders at the top of the key and then went behind her back to drive the left side. But she fell and Chloe Jackson got the steal. The Ags were forced to foul twice to send LSU to the line. Moncrief hit 1 of 2 to make it a 63-61 lead with 23.4 remaining.

A&M’s final timeout moved the ball to the front court again. Tyce saw an opening and drove the left side of the lane. LSU’s help defense cut her off and although she got a layup attempt off, it missed. The ball was deflected out of bounds on the rebound off of LSU; upheld after video review. 11.8 seconds left. Hillsman received a lob on the inbounds play but the short jumper went off the back of the rim. Moncrief rebounded. The Ags fouled her with 7.8 seconds left. 2 FTs iced the game. Hillsman scored with 1.1 seconds left. LSU timeout. Moncrief added a couple of FTs for the final margin. Jasmine Williams got on the floor after Curtyce fouled out.

Final Score: LSU 67, A&M 63

Overall

  • The story of the game was turnovers by the Ags. A&M had a total of 23 turnovers. 5 were in the 4th quarter. LSU got 25 points off turnovers to 13 for A&M.
  • The Ags were badly outrebounded in the first half, but won the battle of the boards in the second half, despite Anriel fouling out after only getting 5 rebounds.
  • It was a bit weird to have a game where both teams were efficient in their shooting, but the score was relatively low. The Ags shot 55.1% while LSU shot 47.4%. The score in the 60s reflected how both teams went relatively deep into the shot clock on most possessions. No fast break points were scored by either team.
  • Khaalia scored 24 points on 12-17 shooting. Cooper had 12 points including a couple of key 3 pointers to keep the Ags in the game. But LSU did a very good job of limiting Danni to just 7 shots and 9 points.
  • Moncrief led LSU with 23 points. Chloe Jackson had 17. Hyder had 12 points and 9 rebounds.

Up Next: Senior Day

  • Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs
  • Sunday February 19, 2017 4PM CST
  • Reed Arena
  • TV: SEC Network Radio 1150AM/102.7 FM

Senior Day activities will be before the game at 3:40. On his radio show, Coach Blair also talked about a tailgate for the fans at around 1:30PM on Sunday. I’ll add details in the comments when/if they show up on 12thman.com.

Only three games remain in the WBB regular season. The Ags return home to Reed for two games against likely #1 seeds. Up first is Vic Schaefer’s #3 Mississippi State team. See the previous preview for some players to watch. A&M played MSU tough in Starkville. MSU had to come from behind to beat Georgia on Thursday night.

Losing to LSU might hurt the Ags chance to host the first rounds of March Madness. Upsetting MSU would help. So it would be great to see strong fan support for the team. With Alyssa Michalke being honored as a senior, I expect a good turnout from the Corps. Curtyce Knox and Taylor Cooper are the other seniors who will be honored.