No. 7 LSU takes 73-50 win at Southeastern
HAMMOND, La. — Flau’Jae Johnson led the Tigers past Southeastern, 73-50, on Friday night in head coach Kim Mulkey’s return to Tangipahoa Parish as she secured her first double-double of the season. Johnson led all scorers with 17 points with 11 rebounds and 4 steals.
“Flau’Jae is recovering from the flu and she’s come off the bench like a superstar,” Coach Mulkey said. “That’s what I tell kids all the time – it’s not about starting, it’s about production. She was our spark against Kent State. She was our spark tonight.”
There was a record crowd inside the Pride Roofing University Center of 7,500 to see Coach Mulkey in her homecoming.
“Let’s talk about this great crowd,” Coach Mulkey said. “Kudos to Southeastern, their athletic department. I was proud of Southeastern. I was proud of my team. I was proud of everybody in that arena. When I took the job at LSU, I said I wanted to come back to this state and be a positive and I felt like tonight, this was a positive for women’s basketball in our state.”
Three other tigers eclipsed double figures in LSU’s 23-point win over the Lady Lions. Mikaylah Williams dropped 13 after breaking the LSU freshman scoring record on Tuesday earlier this week. Hailey Van Lith added 12 on 5-7 from the field with 2 three-pointers.
Transfer Annesah Morrow wasn’t the only player to earn her first double-double of the season. She joined Johnson as she put up 10 points and 10 boards in her fifth game at LSU. Last-Tear Poa broke a record of her own as she had a career-high six rebounds.
SLU’s Hailey Giaratano, a distant relative of Coach Mulkey’s, and Kennedy Paul each had 12 points to lead their squad. Giaratano went 4-14 and added 4 rebounds while Paul was 5-10 with a three and six boards.
The Tigers totaled 41-percent from the field compared to SLU’s 37-percent. LSU out rebounded SLU 44-29 and scored 34 points in the paint. LSU made 17 of its 20 free throws while the Lady Lions only made 5-9. The game was tied four times but LSU never trailed and had its largest lead of 29.
“Angel (Reese) was not in uniform tonight,” Coach Mulkey said. “Angel is a part of our basketball team and we hope to see her sooner than later.”
LSU will return to action on Monday night as it hosts Texas Southern at 7:00 p.m. inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center as the team travels to the Cayman Islands Classic over the Thanksgiving break. The Tigers are slated to play Niagara on Friday at 12:30 p.m. and Virginia on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
The Tigers battled early as SLU hit three-pointers on its first two attempts from the field to tie it up 6-6. After things were knotted up 8-8, Williams and Johnson combined for a 8-2 run to make it 16-10 with four to play. LSU extended its lead to 10 as it held the Lady Lions scoreless for the final five minutes of the opening quarter.
LSU extended its margin through the start of the second as four Tigers scored in the first three minutes of the quarter. Johnson crashed the offensive board for a put back lay to push LSU to the 30-point mark. Rebounds on the offensive glass allowed LSU to keep at least a ten point lead for the most of the quarter. SLU outscored the Tigers 21-20 in the second to head into the break down by 9.
LSU scored 14 of its first half points from the free throw line and 16 of its total was secured inside the paint. SLU was 4-9 from three point range while LSU connected on 2-9. The Tigers hauled in 22 boards and only allowed SLU to pick up 3 of its rebounds on the offensive glass. Johnson came off the bench to lead all players with 11 points on 5-7 and 7 rebounds.
The Tigers held its lead as they did not allow an SLU field goal in the first five minutes of action. LSU earned its largest lead of the night as it outscored SLU 12-2 in the first five minutes of the Third quarter. After the media timeout Johnson found Van Lith in the corner for a pull-up trey and gave LSU a 22-point advantage. Johnson followed a play later with a coast to coast finish to bring her total to 17. LSU went on to hold the Lady Lions without a free throw until the final minute of the quarter. The Tigers headed into the final quarter with a 62-38 lead.
Johnson secured her first double-double of the season with just under eight minutes to play as she picked up her sixth defensive rebound, tenth total. Van Lith eclipsed double digits as she hit her second trey of the night to add 12 points total for LSU. The Tigers were outscored 12-11 in the final quarter but its 22-7 third quarter boosted LSU to its fourth straight victory.
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