The LSU women's basketball team entered Sunday's matchup looking to defend its eight-game home winning streak against No. 5 Mississippi State, but went down 83-70.
Excluding the final few minutes of the first half, the game was a high-energized back-and-forth affair. Each team was evenly matched, trading the lead 12 times within the first half.
After a solid first quarter, senior guard Raigyne Louis was stricken by foul trouble and sat out most of the second quarter. Once coming back into the game, Louis picked up her third foul seconds before the end of the first half.
“Louis is such an important part of what we do offensively,” LSU coach Nikki Fargas said. “She makes other players look good. We missed her on the defensive side of the basketball. She’s our spark. She’s the one that can cover a lot of ground and really get us going. That hurt us from a defensive standpoint.”
Louis’ foul trouble called for junior guard Chloe Jackson to take over the offensive duties for LSU. Jackson scored the bulk of the points for the Lady Tigers and ended the first half with 19 points.
After experiencing offensive struggles for most of the first half, Mississippi State ended the first half on a 10-0 run and went into halftime with a comfortable 44-35 lead.
Coming out of the break, LSU struggled to find any offensive rhythm, making only one basket in the first five minutes. Mississippi State began to assert its dominance on the inside, revolving its offense around getting to the rim at will.
Mississippi State’s star junior center Teaira McCowan finished with a double-double (31 points, 20 rebounds). McCowan is the only player in the SEC to produce a 30+ point and 20+ rebound game since 1999-2000. LSU never had an answer for her and she controlled the inside for the entire game.
“We have to challenge our team in practice to play defense like we are playing McCowan every night,” Fargas said. “You’re not going to face another five as good as her, especially on the low block. If we can take the positives in the way we played her and when she was not successful and drill that into our post game, then you’re going to be ready.”
LSU made a late-game surge that ignited the crowd in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center momentarily, but it proved to be too late.
The Lady Tigers (10-4, 2-1 SEC) will host Auburn (10-5, 1-2 in SEC) on Jan. 18 at 7 p.m.