Lady Tigers pushed to the limit by Southeastern in an 8-point win
The one indisputable fact about LSU Lady Tigers head basketball coach Kim Mulkey is she never minces words about her team’s performances good or bad.
After unbeaten 11th ranked LSU had steamrolled its first seven opponents of the season by an average victory margin of 55.7 points, the Lady Tigers felt fortunate to slip past Southeastern Louisiana 63-55 Tuesday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Only the sheer brilliance of forward Angel Reese with 25 points and 11 rebounds backed by Jasmine Carson’s 16 points and 11 rebounds kept LSU (8-0) from collapsing.
The Lady Tigers saw a 21-point lead with 6:06 left in the third quarter shrink to just four points at 56-52 with 5:21 left before LSU closed the game on a 7-3 run.
Mulkey was asked afterward if maybe her team had a bit of a hangover from last Saturday when it won the Goombay Splash Bimini Division Championship.
“No, I thought they left it on the floor yesterday. . .our practice wasn’t worth a crap,” she said.
And in Mulkey’s eyes, it carried over to a game against an in-state opponent who Mulkey knew would give its best.
“Let's start with what I knew before I had to watch that mess tonight,” Mulkey said. “I knew Southeastern would come in here play like that. I knew she (Ayla Guzzardo) coaches her butt off. I knew that to those players it meant something to play LSU. I grew up in this state, but I only have two in that locker room that understand that and are from the state of Louisiana.”
Southeastern (4-3), led by Baton Rouge native Alexius Horne’s game-high 28 points held LSU to multiple season-lows, including points, field-goal percentage (41 percent) and rebounds (41).
"We had a great game plan and our team executed,” SLU’s Guzzardo said. “We gave everything we could and even though it wasn't enough for the actual victory, it was a victory in our book.”
For the first time this season, LSU trailed at the end of the first quarter. Though the Lady Tigers led 37-26 at halftime, the Lions rallied back as LSU’s wide-open outside shooters missed 6 of 7 second-half 3-point attempts.
“Oh my gosh, did we get exposed tonight,” Mulkey said. “When the game gets tight, you have to have five players on that floor that know and can execute a play. Two would do it and and three wouldn't do it.”
The Lady Tigers should have some intense practices for the next four days before they play their first true road game at Tulane at 4 p.m. Sunday.
“Tonight humbled us,” Reese said. “There are things that we need to get back in the gym and work on.”