The Lady Tigers opened the season with a loss, falling to Wake Forest 60-57 in Winston Salem. With just over three minutes left in the game, the score was tied at 51. Unfortunately, the Tigers were unable to take the lead although they were able to keep it a one possession game up till the final whistle.
The Tigers may have been victims of a Wake team which found its offense in the second half. After going 32% from the field and 50% from the line in the first, Wake proceeded to go to 44% from the field and 88% from the line in the second period. Wake’s Ariel Stephenson had a particularly strong game, with a game-best 21 points. By contrast, the LSU offense was okay from the field shooting 42.4 percent in the second half, but left lots of points at the free throw line, going just 10-23 in the game and 7-13 in the second period.
Despite the loss, there are several positives. Mainly, the big three of Raigyne Moncrief, Ayanna Mitchell and Alexis Hyder all having solid performances in the opener Moncrief was arguably the most valuable player for the Tigers, leading the team in rebounds with six and assists with three and points with 14.
Aside from Moncrief, the Tigers got a good performance from freshman Mitchell who matched Moncrief’s 16 points while adding five rebounds. The transfer Hyder also posted five rebounds in her LSU debut, although she didn't flash her scoring ability, logging just four points. The Tiger bench added 22 points, compared to Wake’s eight.
Although the Tigers were outrebounded 48-32, the Tigers still outscored the Demon Deacons in points in the paint and 2nd chance points. Additionally, the Tigers won the battle of turnovers. In her post game, Nikki Fargas cited a lack of execution on her team late in the game as a cause for the loss. The Tigers certainly have some issues, free throw shooting being the most prominent, that need to be fixed, but this was a generally solid performance even if it was a loss.
LSU plays its home opener Sunday against UL-Monroe.