The question surrounding the LSU women’s basketball team entering the season was how the Lady Tigers would be able to replace the offensive production of former forward Theresa Plaisance and guard Jeanne Kenney.
Sixteen games into the season, the Lady Tigers are still looking for ways to solidify their offense and find consistency during a six-game stretch, featuring four top-15 Southeastern Conference opponents.
Although the Lady Tigers have dominated points in the paint and spread the ball around in particular games, LSU struggled to put all the elements together.
“Definitely, that’s what we’ve been focusing on [playing a 40-minute game],” said junior guard Anne Pedersen. “Can we find those five that are clicking at the moment? Once we have it, we’ve got to stick to it and utilize it as much as we can.”
LSU has struggled to score in SEC games so far, averaging only 57.8 points per conference game, ranked 11th in the conference as of Thursday.
Despite their undersized forwards, the Lady Tigers have established a presence in the paint in their SEC games, averaging 25.5 points in the paint per game.
LSU’s success has been led down low by an unlikely source: senior forward Sheila Boykin, standing at only 6 feet 2 inches.
Boykin averaged only 1.8 points per game coming into her senior year. She now averages seven points and 6.8 rebounds per SEC game, including a team-leading 11 rebounds against No. 1 South Carolina on Jan. 4.
“It’s just me having an aggressive mindset because I told [LSU coach Nikki Caldwell] this at the beginning of year; ‘I plan on being more of an offensive threat for this team,’” Boykin said. “If I have a shot that they are giving me, I’m going to take it. If I can take someone off the dribble, I’m going to go for it, and if they take it away from me, I know that my teammate is going to be open. It’s just reading what the defense gives you.”
Although the Lady Tigers recorded 18 assists against Vanderbilt on Jan. 8, they have struggled to consistently spread the ball around. LSU is tied for 10th in the SEC in assists as of Thursday, averaging 10.5 assists per conference game.
Sophomore guard Raigyne Moncrief leads LSU with an average 3.8 assists per SEC game as of Thursday. The dropoff between Moncrief and the second assist leader, senior guard DaShawn Harden, is more than two assists per game.
“[Caldwell has] been harping on being a giver,” said junior guard Akilah Bethel. “She’s been harping on when you make a teammate shine, you shine. That’s what we’ve been trying to do.”
You can reach Morgan Prewitt on Twitter @kmprewitt_TDR.