MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- The LSU women’s basketball team extended its win streak to five games with a 70-43 victory over North Carolina here at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center Sunday afternoon.
The Lady Tigers improved to 9-2 on the year and UNC fell to 8-2. This is the first time in its past eight games in Myrtle Beach that the Tar Heels were defeated. LSU is 3-0 over teams from the ACC this season with wins also over Wake Forest and NC State.
Raigyne Moncrief led LSU with 20 points and has scored in double figures in the last nine straight contests. Moncrief was 5-of-14 from the field and converted 10 of her 11 free-throw shots in the win. She also had seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Freshman Ayana Mitchell posted her second double-double of the season with 11 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Mitchell was 4-of-8 from the field and 3-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Also scoring in double figures were Chloe Jackson and Alexis Hyder, who each contributed 12 points. Hyder and Jackson also had seven rebounds apiece as LSU won the battle on the boards, 45-38.
The Lady Tigers had another strong showing on the defensive side of the ball, forcing UNC to turn the ball over 22 times and scoring 26 points off the miscues. LSU shot 40 percent (25-of-62) from the field and held the Tar Heels to 29.6 percent (16-of-54) from the field. LSU also had 28 free-throw opportunities and converted 20 of the shots, while UNC was 5-of-8 from the charity stripe.
“I will say that every player on our team brought positive energy today,” said head coach Nikki Fargas. “Today was our best defensive effort in the sense of our team guarding their play-action. (Stephanie) Watts is an unbelievable player. She really was a hard guard for us, but collectively as a group, we were able to shut down the other players. Offensively, our ability to have an inside-outside attack is always going to be key for us. I like the fact that it started on the defensive end in forcing those turnovers and allowing us to get our transition game going.”
LSU and UNC traded buckets to open the game before LSU jumped out to a 12-2 lead and went into the second quarter with a 20-8 advantage. The pace of the game slowed considerably in the second period as UNC chipped away at LSU’s lead, closing the gap to seven points, 24-17, with just over three minutes remaining by rolling off a 9-4 run. Shanice Norton and Tatum Neubert chipped in two buckets to put LSU up by 13 and the Lady Tigers ultimately went to the locker room up, 32-24, at the half as UNC outscored LSU, 16-12. Chloe Jackson led LSU in scoring at the half with 10 points while Ayana Mitchell led on the boards with six rebounds.
LSU won the third quarter, 15-11, before sealing the game with a 23-8 fourth quarter. The 23 points tied the most points for LSU in the fourth quarter this season, and the eight points also tied the lowest scoring output for an opponent in the fourth period.
Watts, who came into the matchup averaging 20.0 points per game, scored 20 points and led her team with 11 rebounds, 10 of which were defensive boards. She hit four of UNC’s six treys in the game. The only other Tar Heel in double figures was Paris Kea with 11 points.
The Lady Tigers return to the PMAC on Wednesday, Dec. 21, for their final game prior to the holiday break. LSU hosts Little Rock in that meeting at 7 p.m. The first 1,000 fans will receive an ugly holiday sweater-themed t-shirt and all fans wearing a holiday sweater will receive a general admission ticket for $2. LSU will have one final non-conference game against Alabama State on Dec. 28 before opening SEC action on the road at Mississippi State on Jan. 1.
NOTES & TRENDS
• Starters for LSU were Chloe Jackson, Rina Hill, Alexis Hyder, Raigyne Moncrief & Ayana Mitchell. This starting lineup is 4-0 so far this season.
• LSU is now 3-0 all-time against North Carolina, and 2-0 on a neutral court.
• Raigyne Moncrief scored 20 points today to extend her double-digit scoring streak to nine games.
• Raigyne Moncrief is the only Lady Tiger to score 20-plus points in a game this season and she has done so three times this year; and seven times in her career. She has scored 20 points in the last two-straight games with 22 points last Wednesday against Sam Houston State. This is the first time in her career that she has logged back-to-back 20-point games.
• Ayana Mitchell scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season.