LSU women’s basketball bounces back from back-to-back losses, sets school record against Florida

LSU star Hailey Van Lith led the Tiger's in scoring in a dominate 106-66 win over Florida. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes

The stars were out for LSU women’s basketball as the Tigers blew away Florida 106-66 Sunday at the Pete Maravich Center to get out of its slump.

Each starter for LSU had at least 10 points and the Tigers bounced back from their two-game losing streak in dominant fashion.

It was the first time LSU had scored over 100 points since December when it dropped 110 points against Jacksonville. The 106 points scored by the Tigers set a new program record for most points scored in an SEC game.

“I thought you saw a team today that brought it,” Kim Mulkey said. “It wasn’t smooth, it started out rough, but they brought another level of intensity. They had a fire in their belly defensively. I was very pleased with how they responded.”

Hailey Van Lith and Mikaylah Williams both led LSU in scoring with 21 points. They combined to shoot an efficient 15/23 from the field. Aneesah Morrow also pitched in with 18 points and 20 rebounds. Angel Reese led the team in assists with six and contributed 10 rebounds and 14 points. Aalyah Del Rosario also added 11 points off the bench to make it six different players with over 10 points for LSU.

LSU didn’t show any signs of hanging its head after the back-to-back losses and answered any questions fans might have had about a slump early on with a strong start to the game.

The Tigers’ shots were falling early, and the Gators were quickly forced into calling a timeout down 12-6 with 4:26 left in the first quarter. The lead would eventually grow to 24-11 for LSU by the end of the first quarter thanks to a 14-0 run.

LSU kept things rolling in the second quarter, outscoring Florida 30-17 in the quarter to take a 54-28 halftime lead. Van Lith and Williams combined for 21 points while shooting 8/11 from the field in the first half.

Van Lith had struggled in recent weeks, scoring just four points on 16.7% shooting from the field and failing to make a single three in four attempts the previous week before the bounce-back performance.

“I think I just decided to be myself,” Van Lith said. “My teammates have been encouraging me too. My coaches have been encouraging me too.”

Van Lith said she had been inconsistent and had games where she played like herself and games where she didn’t.

“That’s on me,” Van Lith said. “It’s my job to bring it every game.”

The dominance continued in the second half as LSU built on its lead by outscoring the Gators 26-15 in the third quarter to take an 80-43 lead to the fourth quarter. LSU would lay off the gas in the fourth quarter, but still added to its lead by outscoring Florida 26-23 in the fourth.

Overall, LSU shot 49.3% from the field and 46.7% from three in an efficient scoring night. It also outrebounded the Gators 59-34 including 18 offensive rebounds.

LSU held Florida to just 35.3% from the field and 17.4% from three and only four made three-pointers.

“The bye week helped us focus on us,” Mulkey said. “We stayed on that floor as long as we needed to, to work on us.”

The performance comes after two straight losses for LSU against South Carolina and Mississippi State. The Tigers struggled from deep against Mississippi State in particular, going just 3/14 in that game. In comparison, LSU went 7/15 against Florida.

“The championship degree, it hasn’t gone anywhere,” Mulkey said. “We are 19-4, we’re relevant, we’re in the conversations.”

The result keeps LSU in third place in the SEC behind Tennessee and South Carolina.

LSU heads on the road for its next game. It’ll face unranked Vanderbilt on Thursday at 8 p.m.

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Will Nickel

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