Information provided by LSU Sports
ESTERO, Fla. – The LSU women’s basketball team dropped to 3-3 on the year with a 69-52 loss to undefeated Purdue (4-0) in the first round of the Gulf Coast Showcase here at the Germain Arena.
Senior Akilah Bethel led the Lady Tigers in both scoring and rebounding tonight. She posted a career high with 17 points and hauled in nine rebounds, eight of which were defensive boards. Bethel’s previous career high was 16 points versus Tulane last season, and this is her second game with nine boards, having also recorded nine against Long Beach State. She was 8-of-10 from the field and 1-of-3 from the free-throw line.
“I was definitely pleased with the play of Akilah Bethel,” said head coach Nikki Fargas. “She is somebody who is really grasping being that competitor and she is having to do a lot for us.”
Jenna Deemer, who had led LSU in scoring the last three-straight games was held scoreless in the first half and hit her first bucket, a three pointer, at the 5:55 mark in the third quarter. She finished the game with four points.
The Lady Tigers were again without Raigyne Moncrief and Ayana Mitchell who are out with injuries. Deemer made her third consecutive start to replace Moncrief. With just nine players in the lineup, LSU struggled to get into a rhythm with Rina Hill and Alexis Hyder getting into early foul trouble. Both had two fouls within the first five minutes of the game. Bethel fouled out with just over a minute remaining in the game.
“It’s going to be a challenge any time you are down to nine players, nine healthy bodies,” said Fargas. “Early in the first quarter, Rina Hill and Alexis Hyder both were called for two fouls each and so now you don’t have that depth that you need, and you have seven players trying to go the distance in the first half. Obviously, we didn’t have enough to sustain it.”
The score was tied 13-13 following the first quarter but Purdue went on a 13-3 run to open the second quarter to take the eventual 33-24 advantage going into the locker room at the half. Purdue outrebounded LSU, 14-5, and outscored LSU, 20-11, in the second quarter. Bethel had 11 of her 17 points at the half.
The Lady Tigers were able to get as close as three points twice early in the third period before closing the deficit to one, 43-42, with 1:53 left in the third quarter but they could not regain the lead that they had not held since the first quarter. Purdue opened the fourth period with a 7-2 run and held a double-digit lead in the final four minutes of the game.
“I thought in the third quarter we made a nice push to come back and played some quality basketball,” added Fargas. “Some of the calls did not go our way and we broke down in some areas where defensively we’ve got to be in tune. I thought we did a much better job of taking care of the basketball tonight.”
The Lady Tigers will face Marist on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. CT in the second round of the tournament. Marist (0-5) lost to Louisville, 65-53, in their first-round game. LSU leads the series against Marist, 1-0, after a 68-49 victory in the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament held in Baton Rouge.
LSU’s Gulf Coast Showcase games will be carried by Cox Sports Television with Lyn Rollins handling play-by-play duties and Leah Secondo providing the color commentary. Check this link: http://lsul.su/1SZ0nFj for a local channel listing for CST.
The LSU Sports Radio Network will broadcast the tournament games on its flagship station Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. The broadcast featuring Garrett Walvoord also will be available for Geaux Zone subscribers at www.LSUsports.net/live.
The Lady Tigers return home to the PMAC on Dec. 1 at 11 a.m., against Texas Southern. This matchup is the 5th-Annual Field Trip game. All elementary schools in the greater Baton Rouge area are invited to attend this game for free. The first 5,000 EBR students in attendance will receive an LSU Lady Tigers pencil pouch. Fans will also be treated to the antics of the popular ZOOperstars! at halftime of the game.
For all of the latest news and information on Lady Tiger basketball, visit www.LSUsports.net/womensbasketball. Fans also can follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/LSUwbkb, @LSUwbkb and @NikkiCaldwell on Twitter, @LSUwbkb and @LSUNikkiCaldwell on Instagram.