Information provided by LSU Sports
BATON ROUGE, La. - The Lady Tiger women's basketball team closed out their non-league schedule with a 47-44 loss to Samford Monday evening at the Maravich Center. Senior Anne Pedersen led LSU's efforts with a career-high 15 points.
LSU falls to 6-7 on the year and Samford improved to 8-6. The series between the two teams is now tied 1-1.
LSU was down 26-18 at the half and used a 6-0 run to open the third quarter and cut the deficit to two points but did not manage to swing the momentum in their favor despite outscoring Samford 14-11 in the third period. The Lady Tigers clawed their way through the fourth quarter and managed to tie the score at 44-44 with just under a minute left in the game on a layup by Alexis Hyder. Samford's Brittany Stevens pushed the Bulldogs ahead by two with a layup with 31 seconds left in the game. Coming out of a timeout, Ann Jones' three-point attempt fell short and LSU then was forced to foul and Taylor Reece hit the second of two free throws for the three-point lead and the eventual 47-44 victory.
"A lot of credit goes to Samford for coming out and playing with a lot of hustle," said LSU head coach Nikki Fargas. "I thought they did a great job of running down a lot of those 50-50 balls. We had opportunities to not only take the lead but also to push away. We didn't capitalize on the defensive stops that we did get. We had a lot of good looks, but we weren't scoring the basketball."
The Lady Tigers used a new starting lineup combination of Rina Hill, Jasmine Rhodes, Jones, Pedersen and Shanice Norton. Hill is the only Lady Tiger to start all 13 games this season. Jones and Rhodes made their first starts of the season versus the Bulldogs.
Pedersen scored 15 points off a 6-of-10 effort from the field. Her previous career high was 14 points last season against Florida. She hit her only three-point attempt and was a perfect 2-of-2 from the free-throw line in 30 minutes of action. She also led the squad with six rebounds.
"Anne did a much better job for us of rebounding the basketball and was our leading rebounder tonight," said Fargas. "She shot the ball well and she was aggressive to basket. She was a little beat up, but she did what she had to do to try and will our team to victory."
"Rina Hill played well for us," added Fargas. "She played 40 minutes. She lays it on the line every night. Every day, you know that you are going to get a player that is going to work hard for you. She came up with a huge charge for us, which is a momentum play. She just brings that type of energy to our team."
Hill, who has played more than 34 minutes in the last six games, was second on the team in scoring with eight points. She also led the team in assists with four, and hauled in three rebounds.
The Lady Tigers outscored Samford, 26-21, in the second half, but the first half deficit was too much to overcome. LSU was 18-of-54 from the field and 6-of-6 from the charity stripe for the game. Samford outrebounded LSU, 38-32. Samford's lead was also aided by the long ball, as the Bulldogs hit 8-of-26 three pointers. Kassidy Blevins and Taylor Reece had multiple treys with three and two, respectively.
LSU only turned the ball over nine times in the contest for the third game this season that they have limited the miscues to under 10. LSU did score nine points off 14 Samford turnovers.
The Lady Tigers struggled to get into an offensive rhythm in the first half, shooting just 26.9 percent (7-26) from the field. LSU was 2-of-2 from the free-throw line and 2-of-5 from three-point range. Jones hit the first trey of her career in the first quarter. Pedersen led LSU in scoring in the first half with five points. She snapped a first-quarter scoring drought hitting a three pointer with one second remaining on the clock. The Lady Tigers went over five minutes without a score in the first quarter, going 1-of-10 during that span.
Samford was 8-of-20 from the field in the first half, including a 6-of-16 mark from three-point range. Samford outrebounded LSU, 20-13. Reece led Samford in the first half with eight points.
The Lady Tigers will open SEC action at Alabama on Sunday, Jan. 3. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. in Tuscaloosa. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.