LSU basketball came up big Tuesday night in a historic 133-44 win over McNeese State.
The Tigers set program records for points in a game and margin of victory. Their previous scoring record stood at 125, set in November of last year in a win over Bellarmine. The previous margin of victory record was much older, with the Tigers eclipsing a 76-point win over Prairie View in 1995.
In the win, LSU showcased its defensive skills, forcing 36 turnovers, which turned into 52 points. In the second quarter, the Tigers shut out the Cowgirls entirely, part of a stretch of 13:36 in which they held their opponents scoreless.
In that time, LSU went on a 47-0 run.
“I told them at half, I don’t know if I’ve even been part of that,” LSU head coach Kim Mulkey said. “And a run like that you don’t think about it in the moment. I don’t care who you’re playing. That’s crazy.”
LSU had 20 steals, led by Angel Reese who had six. Flau’jae Johnson had five while freshman Mikaylah Williams had four. Reese added 21 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman Aalyah Del Rosario led the team in scoring with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Aneesah Morrow had 18 points, while Williams had 26.
After missing 10 of their first 13 shots, the Tigers quickly turned their game around – even without Hailey Van Lith, who is out with a foot injury. Still, if you ask Mulkey, the defense is “still catching up” after dealing with player absences. (Reese recently missed four games for undisclosed reasons, and Sa’Myah Smith suffered a season-ending knee injury.)
“You don’t have Angel, then you don’t have Hailey and you don’t have Sa’Myah. So that sets you back temporarily until you can get back on that floor and prepare every day without them,” Mulkey said. “I think when Hailey gets back and if you can keep everybody healthy, I think you’ll start to see some good stuff out there.
“I’m not saying you’re not seeing good stuff now. I see improvement. But I’ll say it again, we can score the ball with a lot of people. But you got to defend and you got to rebound if you want to win championships.”
Still, allowing just 44 points in a game showcases a team’s defensive abilities – regardless of which opponent is on the other side of the stat sheet.
“Their defensive pressure got to us,” McNeese head coach Lynn Kennedy said. “We just didn’t handle it well. LSU caught fire. The fast break really opened it up for them, they [made] some transition shots and that got them going.”
For Del Rosario, the performance serves as an indicator of what she can bring to the Tigers from the bench as the season continues.
“It changed my perspective of the game,” she said. “I knew I was going to have to step up, play big-time minutes on the court and take advantage of the minutes. When I came here, I was not in the best of shape. Now, I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been.”
The Tigers went on a 47-0 run from the first-third quarters on their way to a record-setting win! pic.twitter.com/b3hzvJqcxe— LSU Women's Basketball (@LSUwbkb) December 13, 2023
The Tigers went on a 47-0 run from the first-third quarters on their way to a record-setting win! pic.twitter.com/b3hzvJqcxe