LSU women’s basketball is heading back home for a rematch with Alabama after a successful road trip to Vanderbilt.
After a two-game slump where it lost consecutive games to No. 1 South Carolina and Mississippi State, Kim Mulkey’s squad bounced back with big wins over SEC opponents. Now, No. 13 LSU (20-4, 7-3 SEC) will host Alabama (19-6, 6-4 SEC) at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in a crucial SEC clash.
LSU and Alabama first played on Jan. 18 in Tuscaloosa. LSU easily won that game 78-58 with Angel Reese and Aneesah Morrow both scoring 20 points and double-doubles. Reese added 16 rebounds and Morrow had 12. Mikaylah Williams pitched in with 14 points and Flau’jae Johnson added another 10.
LSU held Alabama to just 28.8% shooting from the field and forced 19 turnovers.
Despite LSU coming away with a 20-point victory, Alabama proved that it could give LSU a difficult test. Alabama played the Tigers close in the first half and even had a slim lead at halftime. The Tide went into the break up 35-34 on LSU.
LSU came out after the break and played a championship-caliber third quarter to pull away from the Crimson Tide and take a 60-45 lead into the final quarter. LSU would continue to build on its lead in the final quarter, but the first half from Alabama showed that it won’t be a pushover for the Tigers.
Both teams are coming into the game playing some of the best basketball they’ve played all season.
Alabama is currently on a four-game win streak, winning three of those games by at least 16 points and having a +57 point differential over that stretch. Alabama is also giving up just 66.5 points per game over that period.
During that run, Alabama managed to beat a team it had lost to earlier in the season. Alabama lost its first game against Arkansas 77-59 in January but returned the favor and beat the Razorbacks 86-70 in early February. The Tide will be looking to repeat that feat by beating LSU after dropping the first meeting.
Alabama’s leading scorer this season is Sarah Baker. Baker is averaging 16.9 points per game while shooting 52% from the field. She also averages 6.1 rebounds per game, second on the team behind Essence Cody with 6.7.
Baker has been playing some of her best basketball during the Tide’s win streak. She’s averaging 23 points per game over the four-game stretch. That includes a 34-point game against Kentucky where she shot 66.7% from the field.
Aaliyah Nye is also playing well during the win streak. She’s averaging 19 points per game during the four-game stretch. Together, Nye and Baker are putting up 42 points per game over the last four games.
LSU is also coming into the rematch hot. The Tigers set a school record for most points in an SEC game with 106 in its 40-point win over Florida.
The Tigers also quickly jumped out to a 16-2 lead at Vanderbilt and never let it get much closer than that on their way to a 23-point win over the Commodores.
Reese has put up a double-double in seven of the last eight games for LSU and leads LSU in points per game with 19.1 and rebounds per game with 12.3. LSU has outrebounded its last two opponents by a combined 116-69. That includes 44 offensive rebounds. It also outscored its last two opponents 86-46 in the paint.
In the first meeting between the two teams, LSU outrebounded the Tide 53-37 with 25 offensive rebounds. It also outscored the Tide 38-14 in the paint.
LSU continuing to dominate the glass and the paint could be the deciding factor in the rematch between the two teams. Mulkey commented on her team’s physicality after the win over Vanderbilt.
“When you talk about physicality, we’re pretty big,” Mulkey said. “So, we’re going to bang with you. Angel is physical in there, Morrow for her size is physical. I don’t have a problem with it being physical.”
LSU’s rematch with Alabama is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. on Feb. 11.