Lady Tigers Fall to No. 5 South Carolina
Communications Student Assistant
BATON ROUGE, La. --- The LSU women’s basketball team snapped a seven-game home winning streak with an 84-61 loss to No. 5 South Carolina here at the Maravich Center Sunday afternoon.
LSU dropped to 14-4 overall and 3-2 in the SEC with the loss, while South Carolina improved to 15-1 overall; 5-0 in conference action. The Lady Tigers are 9-2 at the PMAC this season, with both losses coming to Top 5 opponents.
Chloe Jackson led LSU with 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field, marking her fourth-consecutive game with at least 20 points while playing the full 40 minutes for her second straight game. Jackson has scored 20 or more points five times this season, and has led the Lady Tigers in scoring seven times. She extended her double-digit scoring streak to nine games.
LSU’s only other double-digit scorer was Raigyne Moncrief, who contributed 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
South Carolina was led by senior center Alaina Coates who had a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds. The Gamecocks’ guard combo of Allisha Gray and Biance Cuevas-Moore each hit two three-pointers and combined for 38 points.
The Lady Tigers began the game step-for-step with the Gamecocks, trading baskets evenly until just under three minutes left in the first quarter when South Carolina went on a 10-2 run to give them a 27-18 lead.
Cuevas-Moore and Coates combined for 17 of South Carolina’s 27 points in the first quarter, the most the Lady Tigers have given up in the first quarter this season, while Moncrief kept LSU in the game early with eight first-quarter points.
Jackson quickly took over scoring duties for LSU with 10 points in the second quarter, but the Lady Tigers still could not find an answer to containing Coates in the paint as South Carolina increased their lead to as many as 14 before going into the half with a 49-36 advantage.
In a relatively low-scoring third quarter for both teams, five different Lady Tigers put points on the board but were held to just 13 points while South Carolina scored 15 to put the Gamecocks up 64-49 heading into the fourth.
South Carolina pulled away for good in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lady Tigers 20-12, tied for LSU’s lowest-scoring fourth quarter since the UConn game on November 20.
LSU forced 16 turnovers, but gave up 18 turnovers of their own, leading to a 20-10 advantage in favor of the Gamecocks in points off turnovers.
Defensively, the Lady Tigers held their own in the paint, only being out-rebounded, 31-30, by South Carolina. Offensively, however, LSU was outscored in the paint 38-24.
The Lady Tigers host Kentucky on Thursday at 7 p.m., in LSU’s “We Back Pat Game” in support of the late Pat Summitt. In its fifth season, the week-long initiative is focused on bringing awareness and recognition to The Pat Summitt Foundation, a fund of the East Tennessee Foundation, and its fight against Alzheimer’s disease. SEC member institutions are supporting The Pat Summitt Foundation during home basketball games, January 15-23.
The first 1,000 fans in attendance Thursday will receive a Seimone Augustus bobblehead commemorating the Baton Rouge native’s three Olympic gold medals.
NOTES & TRENDS
• Starters for LSU were Chloe Jackson, Rina Hill, Alexis Hyder, Raigyne Moncrief & Ayana Mitchell. This starting lineup is 9-2 so far this season.
• Chloe Jackson led LSU with 24 points to extend her double-digit scoring streak to nine games. She has scored 20 or more points five times this season and has led LSU in scoring seven times. Jackson’s 24 points is the second-highest scoring output for the sophomore this year. Her high is 34 vs Florida.
• Chloe Jackson is first Lady Tiger to score 20 or more points in four-consecutive games since Allison Hightower in 2009-10.
• LSU is now 22-11 in the series against South Carolina, but the Gamecocks have won the last seven-straight meetings. USC has also been ranked in the Top 5 in each of the last six games against LSU.
• South Carolina had 12 steals to LSU’s eight steals tonight, marking only the second time this season that LSU did not hold the advantage in steals. The other opponent to tally more steals was Mississippi State, which had 13 to LSU’s 10. LSU came into the game ranked No. 1 nationally in steals with a total of 240.
• All four of LSU’s losses this season have come to teams all currently ranked in the AP Top 25 - #1 UConn, #4 Mississippi State, #25 Kansas State and #5 South Carolina.
• LSU came into the game having won its last seven-straight home contests, dating back to the win over TCU on Dec. 4. The Lady Tigers are 9-2 at the PMAC this year, with both losses coming to teams ranked in the Top 5 – UConn and South Carolina.
LSU HEAD COACH NIKKI FARGAS
“South Carolina did an amazing job of executing. Offensively, they were very accurate and took advantage of our breakdowns that we had defensively. On a positive note, I thought Chloe Jackson’s ability to score the basketball was tremendous. She looked like a player that belonged. She really carried us from an offensive standpoint. This is a game that we need to go back and re-evaluate and look at the areas that we need to improve upon. I think the thing that I’m going to take away from this game is that I think there’s more we could have done. We could’ve been more disciplined in some of our play action. I think defensively we could have really dialed up our intensity, especially in the half court, a lot better.”
“We had some breakdowns especially in transition. I thought they executed their transition game well. We turned the ball over 11 times in the first half and then we had only seven turnovers in the second half. I thought those turnovers and some of our shot selection led to transition baskets for them and they executed well.”
“We definitely could have (gone into the half within reach). There were opportunities for us to really cut into that lead. There were times where we had turned them over, but we didn’t necessarily convert when we got those turnovers. They are one of the better teams in our league that does a great job of taking care of the basketball and we knew that coming in. We talked about how we would have to generate some of our turnovers through our half-court defense. We missed some trapping opportunities that I thought played into their run. We needed to change up the pace of their offense and we missed those opportunities.”
LSU GUARD CHLOE JACKSON
On whether South Carolina’s height took a toll on the team…
“They had the height advantage over us. We knew that coming into the game. I feel like we didn’t execute our defensive plan, so I think that took a toll on us.”
On Coach Fargas’ message after a game like this …
“She told us a lot of things. We just have to move forward because we have a game Thursday against Kentucky. We need to keep moving forward.”
On her ability to score a lot of points in recent games …
“My confidence is up. I’m shooting the ball well, but I don’t think it matters too much since we lost. It is what it is.”
On how the team can put this game behind them and move forward toward Kentucky …
“We just have to move forward. It’s happened before against UConn and we’ve bounced back. We bounced back after the Mississippi State game. It’s the same thing, we just need to bounce back.”
LSU GUARD RAIGYNE MONCRIEF
On what they can take away from playing competitively against a Top 5 team …
“We didn’t play any defense. We started to turn the ball over and they got transition points and once they gained momentum, it was over from there.”
On South Carolina’s ability to get points in the paint …
“(Alaina) Coates is big and she’s a great player, but we weren’t able to take away their points in the paint or their transition points, and so the game got out of hand.”
On what they need to do to be successful against other good SEC opponents …
“We need to take care of the basketball. We need to stop their transition points because that’s where so many of their points are coming from. You have to take away the paint too. We have to help our post players down there. We have Kentucky next so we have to get ready for that.”
On if they thought they had a great chance to pull off an upset based on USC’s game vs. Georgia …
“Absolutely. We just didn’t do what we needed to do and like I said we didn’t take care of the ball and they got transition points. Nothing changed. They had the same players that played against Georgia playing against us. We just need to play better.”
SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH DAWN STALEY
“We were really concerned about the amount of times they (LSU) turn people over. Obviously we have practice players that do a great job simulating their presses, trap us, and press us a little bit more than what they did, but since they did not I think it alleviated the aches we could have had coming into the game. For us we knew that we needed to take care of the basketball and make good decisions out there whether they were going to trap us, play man on their matchup, zone I just thought we were well prepared. We just had to make sure that we executed and did not turn the ball over.”
“They are much better (than last year). Anytime you have the services of a Raigyne Moncrief you get better on both sides of the ball. She has been in our league for a few years now and she has a pretty good reputation. They are much better on both sides of the ball. They know exactly where they want to get their shots. They wreak havoc on the defensive side of the ball, they just play with a lot more cohesion and that comes with just having your team healthy being able to practice and not have to patch together when you have injuries.”
SOUTH CAROLINA CENTER ALAINA COATES
“I think the matchups just worked in our favor. They stayed in a zone and we were able to see where the weak spots were, getting into the weak side really helped us out and we practiced that so we pretty much knew to find the person on the weak side and take them out and we should be successful.”