Lady Tigers Fall to No. 6 Mississippi State
Sr. Assoc. Communications Director
GREENVILLE, S.C. --- Despite 25 points by junior Raigyne Moncrief, the LSU women’s basketball team fell to No. 6 Mississippi State, 78-61, in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament here at Bon Secours Wellness Arena Friday evening.
The Lady Tigers (20-11) now await their NCAA Tournament fate. Selection Monday is March 13, and will air live on ESPN at 6 p.m. CT.
“I am extremely proud of the LSU Tigers,” said head coach Nikki Fargas. “I thought we came here with the mindset of really competing against some of the best players, not only in our conference, but in the country. We fell short of our goal today, but for the most part, our fight and our determination to win today was there.
“I don’t think our kids played scared or not to lose,” added Fargas. “I think we had some great opportunities, but down the stretch, we fell short but we are going to learn from this and we are going to get better. I can’t say enough about the play of our team, stepping up in this hostile environment and competing at a high level.”
Moncrief was 11-of-20 from the field and 3-of-5 from the free-throw line en route to her second-most career points. With the 25 points, Moncrief extended her double-digit scoring streak to 15 games. She is the first Lady Tiger to string together 15 consecutive double-digit scoring games since Theresa Plaisance posted 31-straight in 2012-13. Moncrief has scored in double figures in 29 games this season; and in 66 career games. This was her 11th 20-point game this season. Moncrief also had three rebounds and five assists.
Chloe Jackson was the only other Lady Tiger in double figures with 12 points off a 5-of-11 effort from the field and a 2-of-2 showing from the free-throw. Alexis Hyder led in rebounding with nine boards. She also had eight points and four assists.
LSU, which has been strong defensively all season, only registered two steals today and forced just 12 turnovers. The Lady Tigers only committed 12 turnovers as well. MSU held the 29-21 advantage on the boards. The Lady Tigers shot 52 percent (28-54) from the field and the Bulldogs shot 56 percent (28-50). Mississippi State hit 20 of its 21 free-throw attempts and LSU was just 5-of-9 from the line. State converted all 15 of its charity shots in the second half.
LSU’s post game was in trouble early as Alexis Hyder picked up her first foul just 1:03 into the game. Ayana Mitchell had to spend a majority of the first half on the bench after she was whistled for her third foul with 5:32 left in the first quarter. Moncrief kept LSU in the game with seven points and three rebounds. LSU turned the ball over five times, which led to seven MSU points as the Bulldogs took a 21-15 lead into the second quarter.
The Lady Tigers opened the second quarter on a 6-2 run and tied the score up, 23-23, on a bucket by Hyder. LSU kept it close the remainder of the quarter, holding the Bulldogs without a field goal for nearly six minutes, and MSU would only get out by as much as three points before LSU closed the gap to just one point with buckets by Tatum Neubert and Jackson. MSU went into the locker room up 30-29 at the half. Moncrief had 13 points, three rebounds and four assists at the half. Each team registered seven turnovers and Mississippi State held the slight advantage on the boards, 14-10. LSU shot 59% (13-22) from the field and held MSU to 46% (12-26) in the first half.
LSU jumped ahead by three with consecutive buckets by Raigyne Moncrief to open the third quarter. The score was tied three times in the third before MSU took the slight, 45-41, lead at the end of the quarter. Ayana Mitchell, who sat out the entire second quarter and much of the first in foul trouble, re-entered the game with 3:28 left in the third period.
Mississippi State controlled the game in the fourth quarter, outscoring LSU, 33-20. The Bulldogs jumped out to their largest lead of the game, 10 points, with 2:27 left in the game. MSU continued the run with five free throws and ultimately jumped ahead by 19, 78-59, with just seconds remaining.
MSU had four players score in double figures, led by Morgan William’s 21 points. Teaira McCowan scored 15 points and Breanna Richardson added 12 points. Ketara Chapel rounded out the scorers with 10 points. LSU held Victoria Vivians, who came into the game averaging 17.2 points per game, to just five points.
For all of the latest news and information on Lady Tiger basketball, visit www.LSUsports.net/womensbasketball. Fans also can follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/LSUwbkb, @LSUwbkb and @LSUNikkiFargas on Twitter, @LSUwbkb and @LSUNikkiFargas on Instagram.