Lady Tigers fall to Miami in tournament final

Matt Dunaway

The LSU women’s basketball team battled back to erase a 16-point halftime deficit and took the lead midway through the second half before the Lady Tigers were dealt a 76-71 loss by Miami during Monday’s championship game of the Miami Holiday Tournament at the BankUnited Center.

Jenna Deemer and DaShawn Harden fueled LSU’s comeback effort and poured in 22 points ignited by a quartet of 3-pointers during the second half. Deemer, an All-Tournament Team pick, racked up a season’s best 17 points over her 20 minutes of action whereas Harden came away with 18 points and three steals. For Deemer, it was third consecutive game in double figures.

Raigyne Moncrief turned in a solid all-around effort with 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists playing through foul trouble for a majority of the second half. LSU’s post play was led by Sheila Boykin’s nine points and Akilah Bethel’s six rebounds, while Rina Hill tacked on four points and two assists.

As a team, LSU (6-5) was an efficient 30-of-56 from the floor and converted on 18 of its 32 shot attempts in the second half. The Lady Tigers also buried 8-of-13 from 3-point territory. The 53.6 percent shooting clip and eight triples were a season-highs for LSU.

Miami (10-3) was led by Adrienne Motley, who tallied 16 points and five rebounds en route to the tournament’s MVP award. The Hurricanes also received 15 points from Necole Sterling. A big difference for Miami was a 14-point advantage at the free throw line where the Hurricanes made 17-of-22 opportunities compared to LSU’s 3-of-7.

“We got off to a very flat start,” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “A lot of credit goes to Miami for being very intense on the defensive end and turning us over during the first two segments of the game. Again, we’re a team that knows that we can come from behind. We know we have the capabilities of getting our defensive stops. Once we’re able to do that, we’re able to thrive offensively. We have the start the game that way. We have to play for 40 minutes. Right now, we’re about a 30-minute basketball team, and we have to decide not to let those two segments get away from us.”