Predictable outcome? Mississippi State takes advantage of vulnerable No. 9 LSU, 77-73

Tigers suffer rare two-game conference losing streak

LSU's Aneesah Morrow (24) looks for room against Mississippi State's Erynn Barnum (5) during Monday's Southeastern Conference game in Starkville, Mississippi. The Bulldogs upset the No. 9 Tigers, 77-73. PHOTO BY: LSU athletics

LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey knew the task may be tall.

A year ago, the Tigers responded to a 24-point road loss against South Carolina with 11 wins in their last 12 games en route to their first NCAA national championship.

This time around Thursday’s six-point home defeat South Carolina morphed into a rare two-game losing streak when Mississippi State rode its terrific guard play from senior Jerkaila Jordan and freshman Miracle Sheppard to a 77-73 Southeastern Conference victory Monday over No. 9 LSU before a sold-out Humphrey Coliseum crowd of 9,121.

“It’s not surprising with the outcome, honestly,” Mulkey said. “When you play a game on the road after a big game like we had with South Carolina, you kind of watch your team and see how they react. We played in spurts again. (We) Had the lead, did some things early and then again in the second half. We can’t seem to defensively get stops with this team when they matter. That’s how we lost the South Carolina game. You have to make stops at this level, and we don’t seem to be doing it.”

LSU (18-4, 5-3 in SEC) dropped consecutive games for the second time in three seasons under Mulkey. The Tigers suffered back-to-back losses Jan. 23 to Florida (73-72) and Jan. 27, 2022 against Arkansas (90-76) and are now third in the league.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Mississippi State, they won,” Mulkey said. “We fought hard the last five minutes when you went to a (full court) press. Why don’t we play like that the whole 40 minutes? Some of them don’t understand that.”

Mississippi State (17-5, 4-3) won for the fourth time in five games. The Bulldogs broke a 12-game losing streak that dates back toi 2018..

Jordan, a New Orleans native and Tulane transfer, scored 15 of her game-high 24 points in third quarter and reached the 20-point mark for the third straight game and ninth time this season. Sheppard, who averaged 5.4 points off the bench, had her third double-figure game of the season with 12 points.

“She ate our lunch,” Mulkey said of Jordan, a former John Curtis standout. “Everybody that guarded her, she took it personal being from Louisiana. She ate our lunch.”

The guard duo combined for 11 steals and DePaul transfer Darrione Rogers scored a season-high 19 on the strength of four 3-pointers.

“She came to me and said, ‘I live for this moment. I want this moment’,” State coach Sam Purcell said of Jordan. “She was poised. I told her in the third quarter, I’m going to rest you, because in the fourth quarter we were going to ride your coattails. Boy, what a night did she have.”

LSU first team All-America forward Angel Reese contributed her 12th double-double of the season with 20 points and 18 rebounds. Flau’jae Johnson added 18 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Aneesah Morrow had 14 points, six rebounds and six steals and Mikaylah Williams 11.

The Tigers’ bench was outscored, 35-6.

State easily turned a 40-35 halftime deficit into a 63-57 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Jordan scored 12 points and helped the Bulldogs, who made 11 of 13 shots, outscore the Tigers 28-17.

State’s 52.6 field goal percentage (30 of 57) was the second highest allowed by LSU since its season-opening defeat against Colorado. The Bulldogs made 52.9% of their 3-point attempts (9 of 17) and forced 21 turnovers.

“Turnovers at this level will kill you,” Mulkey said. “Some don’t realize that (because) they’ve been good enough during high school or wherever that I’m going to get back on the other end. At this level you’re not getting it back. They’re going to burn you.”

LSU last led 53-51 in the game on Reese’s putback with 4:33 left in the third quarter.

State answered with a 9-0 run that provided a 60-53 lead when Quanirah Montague drove past LSU’s Aalyah Del Rosario in the lane for a layup with less than three minutes to go.

“We’re not fleet of foot on the perimeter,” said Mulkey, whose team shot 35.3% (6 of 17) from the field in the quarter. “I think most of their scoring came from the perimeter.”

Johnson scored on consecutive baskets, including a strip that Williams returned for an assist, to draw LSU to within 65-61 with 7:58 remaining.

Sheppard produced a steal and layup and Rogers followed with a 3-pointer to extend State’s lead to 70-61.

LSU went to full-court pressure in the last five minutes of play and got the score to 70-67 with 2:14 left on Reese’s basket and again to 76-73 on Williams’ 3-pointer with 16.7 seconds left.

Rogers put the game away with a free throw with 15 seconds to play.

“We made a good run at it, but I’ll say it again if you play that hard when you’re behind with five minutes to go,” Mulkey said, “why don’t you play that hard the whole game.”

2 Comments

  1. What I saw last night was the same thing I saw against the Auburn Tigers, how she’s inability unwillingness to shoot the ball from the outside and just stand around and off and wait for Angel to do something and Reese is triple coverage when they throw the ball into her she never kicks it out to a shooter. She always is going to shoot it. She never gives a ball up. I think she’s selfish with the ball. They had wide open shooters on the perimeter and she wouldn’t kick it out too, LSU stands around on offense too much just stand there. That’s the easiest player to guard as a person who stands there that needs to be fixed.

  2. The problems are throwing the ball away before getting a shot!!
    Each one robs team of a possession and gives the other team a freebie possession.
    Other problem is weak 3 point shooting.
    It was so painful we stopped watching gals and guys late in their games.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


+ 16 = twenty two