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WBB: Ags fall in Baton Rouge 78-80

BTHO Breast Cancer and Florida Thursday

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 02 SEC Women's Tournament - LSU v Ole Miss
Chloe Jackson and Raigyne Louis had season highs to lead LSU past the Ags
Photo by Doug Buffington/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Women’s Bouncy Ball team and a group of supporters went to Baton Rouge to play a rematch with the LSU Tigers on Sunday afternoon. The two teams delivered a dramatic and exciting game, but the result was unfortunate for A&M fans.

The Ags have been playing a lot of 2-3 matchup zone this year. LSU beat whatever defense to create a quick shot after the opening tip but it looked like we were in man D to open the game. LSU came out hot but the teams stayed close to start the game. Then in the middle of the quarter, a run of misses and turnovers allowed the Tigers to go up 9. The Ags fought back to get within 2 by as Chennedy Carter hit a late 3 pointer to make it 23-21 LSU after the 1st quarter.

Carter picked up her second foul early in the second quarter and went to the bench with 6 points on 2-6 shooting (1-3 from 3) plus going 1-2 from the FT line. Lulu McKinney came in and Carter went to the bench; later Blair would go with Danni Williams as the PG and had Kayla Wells in the lineup. The Ags started going inside more and despite having their leading scorer on the bench (and Hillsman out with an injury for a span), A&M erased the lead and went ahead by 4 at 35-31 with 1:09 left in the half. LSU’s Chloe Jackson hit a 3 pointer to cut the lead to 1 with 44 seconds to go in the half.

On the next A&M possession, Raven Farley was called for a foul while wrestling for position with Hillsman in the lane with 23.3 seconds left. The foul led to the shot clock being turned off and Blair decided to gamble by putting Carter back in for Wells with 2 fouls. The gamble didn’t work. Carter refused a screen on the left side and tried to do her patented split the double team drive. But Ayana Mitchell had good position and tipped the ball away. As Raigyne Louis sprinted down the court, Carter got her 3rd foul reaching in from behind.

Halftime: A&M 35, LSU 34. The different emphases of the two offenses were reflected in leading scorers for each team. Hillsman led the Ags with 13, followed by Howard with 7. For the home team, guards Chloe Jackson and Raigyne Louis had 14 and 10 respectively.

The fouls situation meant that Wells started the second half along with Williams, Howard, Lumpkin, and Hillsman. Anriel opened the half with a strong drive to lay it up off the glass from the left side. That started a 7-0 run for A&M and led Coach Nikki Fargas to call timeout with 6:43 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

Coming out of the timeout, Coach Fargas had the Tigers apply more pressure in the backcourt. Looking at the box score, one might think this led to steals and transition offense, as the Ags ended up with four turnovers after the timeou - three in a run that erased the A&M lead. But here’s how the Aggie possessions went:

  • Ags break the press. Wells gets the ball in the right corner and drives the baseline. She tries to get the ball to Khaalia. It’s deflected. Danni gets it at the top of the key and goes back to Kayla in the right corner. Kayla drives the baseline again and is called for a charge at 6:18. Replay shows Mitchell is moving her feet to slide to the left as the collision happens.
  • After a 3 pointer makes it 42-38, the Ags break the press and move the ball around. Lumpkin gets the ball and starts a move into the lane. Offensive foul called for a pushoff with her off arm. Marginal call. She did it but much worse is routinely not called.
  • After Louis hits to make it 42-40, the Ags break the press. Wells drives the lane and is called for another charge. Mitchell draws the charge. She’s got both feet inside the arc. Even the LSU announcers say “the Tigers might have caught a break on that”

Blair put Carter back in the game for Wells after the foul. Less than 2 minutes after the timeout, another Louis bucket tied it at 42. Anriel and Khaalia would regain the lead, but the momentum was gone and a Louis putback layup gave LSU their first lead of the second half at 49-48 with 1:40 to go in the 3rd. Carter hit a stepback jumper from the right of the key to regain the lead, but with the shot clock running down, Carter committed a bad foul on Chloe Jackson as the LSU guard hit a fadeaway jumper from the right wing. Carter went back to the bench. After the FT it was 52-50 LSU. Kayla Wells hit a banked jump hook to tie the game and it went into the final period tied at 52.

LSU scored first in the fourth quarter.The teams traded baskets and the Kayla Wells’ second basket of the game was a three point play off of a very nice mid-air fake and scoop as she was fouled. The FT gave A&M the lead with 8:45 remaining. The Ags had a chance to stretch the lead, but after Anriel missed a shot in traffic, Louis grabbed the rebound and pushed the ball aggressively downcourt. For reasons that escape me, Danni fouled her by grabbing her around the waist, but not hard enough to stop the RS Senior from making an acrobatic basket as she was falling down. The Ags were down 4 after the intentional foul led to the basket, a FT, and a second chance basket. Although that fired up the crowd and the LSU bench, Williams made up for her mistake by draining a 3 pointer to cut it to 61-60 with 7:03 to go. The fatal run happened later.

Blair called timeout and brought Carter back in with 4 fouls with 4:47 remaining and LSU up 66-62. After the timeout, Khaalia was called for an offensive foul that led to a lengthy video review. Khaalia’s elbow hit Mitchell high in the neck/throat area, but in my biased view it should have been a no-call, even ignoring the multiple fouls that could have been called on Mitchell before the entry pass. Hillsman takes the pass high and extends her left elbow as she brings the ball down. She’s also moving toward the basket. To me, it’s a basketball move. At least they didn’t call it a flagrant but it wiped off a basket.

In the next stretch of possessions, LSU stretched the lead to 8. Carter took some quick shots that led to transition opportunities for LSU. At 2:28 she broke the press and streaked down the sideline but uncharacteristically missed the layup. With 1:23 remaining it was 74-66 LSU after a pair of FTs by Louis. The Ags had to foul to extend the game and were subbing in Carter for offense and Wells for D. It looked like it might out of reach, but then there was one more run of drama left.

  • After the FTs, Carter quickly found Danni in the right corner for a 3. 74-69. 1:14 left
  • Williams fouled Mitchell who made 1 of 2 FTs. 75-69
  • Mitchell fouled Khaalia, leading to Carter hitting Danni for the inbounds play where Danni jumps for the pass and shoots in the lane. 75-71 0:59 left
  • Danni fouls Jackson, who makes both 77-71
  • Hillsman in the lane. 77-73 0:40 left
  • Lumpkin fouls Louis, who makes 1 of 2 78-73
  • Jaz gets a second chance bucket after Anriel misses a 3 78-75 24.5
  • Anriel fouls Jackson, who makes 1 of 2 79-75
  • Carter to Danni in the right corner again for 3. 79-78 15.9
  • Khaalia fouls Louis, who makes 1 of 2 80-78. 14.5

Ags could tie or win with a score. Carter fed Hillsman in the block. Khaalia put the ball on the floor and Khayla Pointer came off of Lumpkin from the baseline, ran around Khaalia and Mitchell to help and grabbed the ball. Held ball. Possession arrow to LSU. Watching the replay, Lumpkin was wide open for a layup if Khaalia had seen her.

LSU gave A&M one more chance by trying to burn the Ags with a length of the court pass with 5.1 seconds left. Raigyne Louis barely got a touch before it went out of bounds meaning the Ags, out of timeouts, had to go the length of the court. LSU forced Carter to bring it up the left side and Chennedy almost lost control of the ball as Richard-Harris challenged her (possibly fouling her, but they were never going to call that). By the time she recovered, it was too late to find anyone else and Carter had to heave a long desperation 3 that was off line.

Final score 80-78

  • Khaalia led the Ags with 23 points despite being held without a FG in the third quarter. She was 1 rebound short of a double-double
  • Danni Williams had 21 points, 16 coming in the second half
  • Anriel Howard had another double-double with 13 points and 11 boards
  • Both teams shot well: A&M shot 56.9% for the game; LSU 53.3%. 3 pointers were dead even. LSU had an advantage at the FT line, going 11-20 while the Ags were 7-10. A lot of that was due to the late tactics, though. When Fargas called the timeout in the third quarter, the Ags had a 7-1 edge in FT attempts.
  • Chloe Jackson and Raigyne Louis both had season highs for LSU with 27 and 16 points, respectively.

The loss dropped the Ags into a tie for 5th with LSU. Mizzou is a half game behind but should be favored to win vs Arkansas on Monday night. Tennessee beating Georgia means that 3 teams are tied for second, 3 games behind Miss State with 4 games left. This means the Ags will need help getting a double bye in the SEC tourney. But we are the only one in the top 7 that hasn’t played Miss State yet.

Up Next

  • Florida Gators
  • Thursday Feb 15, 2018 7PM CST
  • Reed Arena
  • BTHO Breast Cancer Game
  • Streaming: SECN+ Radio: 1150AM/102.7FM

This will be the first meeting with the Gators under new coach Cam Newbauer. Florida fired Amanda Butler after 10 seasons. Butler was 190-136 with Florida, made the NCAAs 4 times and the WNIT 4 times. But the Gators never made it past the first weekend of the NCAA tourney and she had an overall 71-85 record in the SEC. Last season was the second time in 3 years that they finished with a losing record overall and finished 11th in the SEC. She is now part of the color commentary group for the SEC Network.

With new AD Scott Stricklin coming over from Mississippi State, Gator WBB fans hoped for a splash hire. Florida was rumored to have made an offer to Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon. After she (allegedly) turned them down late in March, Stricklin hired Belmont HC Cam Newbauer, who had just finished his 4th year as HC of the Bruins. Newbauer took Belmont to the NCAAs by winning the Ohio Valley tourney in his last two years and while they exited in the first round both times, Newbauer’s last game at 27-6 Belmont was a squeaker vs Kentucky in Lexington.

The transition year has been tough on the Gators. Florida went 8-5 in nonconference play, but started SEC play by getting beat by losing 6 in a row against 5 teams currently below .500 in conference play, plus LSU. They then won at rebuilding Arkansas and avenged the OT loss to Ole Miss. But facing only one upper half team in the first half means having to face the rest of the upper half at the end. Florida comes to Reed in the midst of a stretch where 7 out of 8 opponents are ranked, and before the Ags lost at LSU, Florida fell at S. Carolina for their fifth straight loss. But Florida’s W-L record understates how dangerous they are. They had a shot to upset Mizzou on the road and led S. Carolina in the first half by 10 before fading at the end.

We played Florida twice last season, winning both.

Florida starters vs S. Carolina have started every game they’ve played in. One missed 2 games but started the other 23. They are all averaging more that 10 ppg.

  • #44 6-3 Sr F Haley Lorenzon is the leading rebounder at 9/gm. She’s averaging 12.3 ppg.
  • #12 6-3 Sr Tr F Paulina Hersler is a grad transfer from UCLA. She’s from Sweden. She’s averaging 11.7 ppg. Both of the bigs can shoot the 3, but Hersler takes many more attempts than Lorenzon.
  • #11 5-10 Sr G Dyandria Anderson started at Reed but came off the bench at their place.
  • #3 5-8 RS Jr Tr G Funda Nakkasoglu came from Utah State and sat out last season. She grew up in Australia and has dual citizenship with Turkey. She’s the lading scorer at 14.7 ppg and had 21 vs the Gamecocks, going 5-8 from behind the arc.
  • #00 5-10 So G Delicia Washington was the leading scorer for the Gators in last year’s game at Reed. She had 10 points in Gainesville.