Lady Tigers crushed by top-ranked South Carolina

Matt Dunaway
LSU's Danielle Ballard. Photo by LSUsports.net.

The LSU women’s basketball team had its four-game winning streak come to a close as top-ranked South Carolina defeated the Lady Tigers, 86-62, on Thursday evening as 12,342 fans gathered at Colonial Life Arena.

With the loss, LSU (14-10, 8-4 SEC) dropped into a fourth place tie with Mississippi State in the SEC standings. South Carolina (23-1, 11-0 SEC) remained tied for the SEC’s top spot with Tennessee.

“I give a lot of credit to South Carolina,” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “They were able to come back after a tough game at UConn and play with a lot of intensity and play with a lot of focus during tonight’s game. A’ja Wilson did an unbelievable job of establishing herself again as one of the best players in the country. I want to give credit to our team. I thought we fought in the second half. We tried to execute our game plan offensively, and we did a nice job of distributing the basketball. We also had offensive rebounds come into play for us. We’re going to take this game, learn from it and move forward.”

Danielle Ballard and Sheila Boykin secured double-doubles to pace LSU. It marked the first time on the season that two Lady Tigers picked up double-doubles in the same game.

Ballard tallied 14 of her team-leading 16 points as LSU outscored the Gamecocks by a 42-38 margin during the second half. She extended her run to eight consecutive games with 10-plus points and hauled in a season’s-best 12 rebounds to go along with five steals.

For Boykin, she turned 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting and matched her career-high with 12 rebounds. She dished out three assists coupled with two blocks and two steals.

Anne Pedersen came away with 11 points on 5-of-10 from the floor. She has collected double figures in two of her last three outings.

Raigyne Moncrief tacked on 10 points and five assists to give LSU four starters in double figures for the first time on the season. The last time the Lady Tigers accomplished that feat was during their SEC Tournament victory over Alabama last season.

As a team, LSU amassed a 25-for-70 shooting clip and misfired on six of its seven 3-point attempts. The Lady Tigers knocked down 11-of-13 at the free-throw line. LSU worked its way to 19 offensive rebounds and held a 16-8 edge in second-chance points.

South Carolina was fueled by A'ja Wilson's career-high 26 points and eight rebounds. The freshman standout was 7-of-12 from the floor and 11-of-15 at the charity stripe. The Gamecocks also received 12 points from Khadijah Sessions followed by 11 points courtesy of Tiffany Mitchell.