No. 11 LSU women’s basketball moves into second place in SEC’s regular season

LSU guard Ryann Payne (10) drives the baseline in Sunday's game against Florida. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes

The No. 11 LSU women’s basketball team took over sole possession of second place in SEC going into the final week of the season, defeating No. 17 Florida, 66-61, Sunday in front of 13,620 fans in the PMAC – the fourth largest crowd in LSU Women’s Basketball History.

The Tigers will be back home on Thursday to host Alabama at 7 p.m.

LSU (23-4, 11-3 in SEC) atoned for a loss to Florida earlier this season behind a team-high 20 points from Alexis Morris, who also had five rebounds and three assists. Senior forward Autumn Newby added 13 points and eight rebounds and two steals, while senior center Faustine Aifuwa added 10 points, six rebounds and five blocked shots.

With LSU leading in the final minute, Aifuwa blocked two shots on the same possession to help the Tigers, who made 12 of 16 free throws in the fourth quarter, hold on for their fifth ranked win of the season.

“​​The message was that since we don’t play again for four days, we had the opportunity to be in sole possession of the second ranked spot in the SEC,” LSU head coach Kim Mulkey said. “I don’t think the seniors have ever been in that position. The message was that today could be one of your most memorable games in basketball.”

Florida had won 10 of its past 11 games with its only loss in that stretch coming against South Carolina before Sunday’s game. The Gators, who allowed LSU’s leading scorer Khayla Pointer to score a career-high 35 in their win over the Tigers in Gainesville, limited the graduate student guard

With five minutes remaining, Aifuwa scored in the paint to get LSU to a five-point lead followed by scores from Pointer and Newby, the game looked for a six-point lead.

The teams were tied four times during the third quarter before reserve center Hannah Gusters’ layup for a 44-39 lead going into the fourth quarter.

 

 

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