11-6-2018 Whoops v Sam Houston

LSU forward Ayana Mitchell (05) holds the ball during the Tigers' 52-66 win over Sam Houston on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 in the PMAC.

The LSU Lady Tigers started its season on a strong note with a 66-52 route of Sam Houston State behind a double-double from senior forward Ayana Mitchell.

LSU came out firing in the first quarter by running up and down the court and wearing out the Bearkats. The Tigers road this momentum all the way to a 24-14 lead going into the second period.

The second period frustrated the Tigers as they slowed the pace down and paid for it. They went from forcing turnovers to giving up the ball and shot 37.5% from the line in the second.

The lack of physical play on both sides of the ball caused the Tigers to only maintain a 31-28 lead going into halftime.

“I talked to the team [at halftime] and asked who are we,” coach Nikki Fargas said. “If we want this game, then we have to go get it.”

The Tigers came out and got it by applying pressure and funneling the ball to forward Ayana Mitchell, who scored 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

She and the rest of the Tiger squad buckled down and ran the Bearkats into foul trouble with great drives from sophomore guard Khyala Pointer and post play by sophomore center Faustine Aifuwa.

The Tigers grabbed a lead of 52-41 and never looked back.

The fourth quarter brought much of the same game plan of pace and allowed the Lady Tigers to grab the first game of the season at home.

The ability to close the game out in the fourth is a skill that coach Fargas wants to instill in her team.

“We have something called fourth quarter Fridays,” Fargas said. “We train with the Louisiana Police Department every Friday, and we hope that will translate into the fourth quarters of basketball games.”

It certainly did in this contest as they pulled away early in the fourth with pace that is hard to attain late in a defensive game.

As the young season continues, Fargas will keep with a certain play style in hopes of keeping the win streak going.

“We want to run the basketball,” Fargas said. “I want the pace to be up tempo and try to score easy baskets.”

The Tigers will look to continue to use their speed for victory as they face Northern Colorado on Sunday, Nov. 11 at the PMAC.

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