Litmus test: No. 13 LSU women’s basketball hosts No. 1 South Carolina in key SEC matchup

LSU's Khayla Pointer became the only player in school history - male or female - to ever score at least 1,500 points, grab 500 rebounds and hand out 500 assists.

After picking up a pair of Top 25 wins last week No. 13 LSU gets the ultimate test of the regular season when the Tigers host top-ranked South Carolina at 7 p.m. Thursday in a key Southeastern Conference matchup at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

LSU (14-1, 2-0 in SEC) is riding a 13-game win streak and is atop the league by a half game where South Carolina, which was upset last week at Missouri, is 13-1 overall and 1-1 in league play. The game, which is billed as a ‘White Out’ with fans encouraged to wear white, will be streamed by SEC Network+ and broadcast locally by 107.3-FM.

“We look at it as a tremendous challenge,” LSU coach Kim Mulkey said. “But we also look at it as a tremendous opportunity. Just do what you do and if it’s not good enough, you hope you walk of that floor saying, they had to play to beat us.

“I feel like this group I get to coach, they’re giving the fans, they’re giving the community, they’re giving everything they have. I don’t expect it to be any different Thursday. Let’s hope it’s good enough.”

Prior to the game at 6:50 p.m., LSU will honor Seimone Augustus on the court in recognition of her WNBA retirement as a player which she announced last May. Former LSU baseball and current Houston Astros star Alex Bregman will also be in attendance and the Tigers will recognize him at halftime of the game.

There are $1 general admission tickets available at the LSU ticket office for healthcare workers and first responders.

Guard Khayla Pointer is LSU’s top scorer at 17.4 points. She also averages 6.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. Backcourt mate Alexis Morris, who averages 14.5 points, is coming off a career-high 30 points in the Tigers’ 75-66 win on Sunday over No. 23 Texas A&M.

“You’ve got to rebound the ball,” Coach Mulkey said about the matchup against South Carolina. “You’ve got to be physical. That’s the biggest thing right now. They’re going to have to defend people bigger than them.”

LSU’s rotation of post players, Faustine Aifuwa, Hannah Gusters and Autumn Newby, will be challenged against National Player of the Year candidate Aliyah Boston of South Carolina, who averages a double-double (16.9 points, 10.4 rebounds).

In the backcourt, South Carolina has Preseason All-American Zia Cooke, Brea Beal and Destanni Henderson who is No. 2 in the SEC with 5.3 assists per game.

“We can’t allow them to dribble-penetrate all day,” Mulkey said. “We can’t allow them to get a lot of transition layups all day. We’ve got to make them beat us in the half court.

“We’re very aware of the fact that they’re the No. 1 team in the country,” Mulkey said. “They’re supposed to win the league. They’re supposed to win the national championship. Listen, we understand that, but we also understand that if we win the game we still haven’t arrived yet. If we lose the game the sky is not going to fall in. We’ve got a lot of basketball in this league left to play and our goals will remain the same.”

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Tiger Rag News Services

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