The LSU women’s basketball team grabbed sole possession of second place in the SEC with a 66-61 win over Florida Sunday afternoon in front of a sold out PMAC.
The win pushes LSU’s record to 23-4 overall and 11-3 in conference. LSU also clinched a double-bye for the SEC Tournament in Nashville which will run from March 3-6.
Many times this season the LSU backcourt of Khayla Pointer, Alexis Morris, and Jailin Cherry has been the difference for LSU. Sunday was different however as Faustine Aifuwa and Autumn Newby were the difference makers and carried the Tigers in spite of the collective shooting woes from the guards.
Aifuwa had 10 points and six rebounds while Newby had 13 and eight. Even Hannah Gusters provided some value as she went for six points and two boards in 12 minutes off the bench.
Coach's reaction says it all @Faifuwa__ is going off.— LSU Women's Basketball (@LSUwbkb) February 20, 2022
Those aforementioned guard struggles would’ve been downright alarming had the Tigers not pulled off the win. Pointer, Cherry, and Morris shot a combined 9-47 (that’s 19% if you’re keeping score at home). But LSU was able to generate offense in other ways, like converting 15 Florida turnovers into 16 points and shooting 22-32 at the free throw line.
“Y’all know what I preach,” Mulkey said. “Field goal percentage defense and rebound the ball. That’s how we won today. We didn’t shoot well today.”
The Tigers may have a double-bye for the SEC Tournament clinched but there’s still work to be done in the regular season. LSU has two more games to play (Thursday vs. Alabama in the home finale and Sunday at Tennessee) to secure seeding. They won’t be able to win the league’s regular season championship even if South Carolina (two games up with two to play) loses out because the Gamecocks own the head-to-head tiebreaker. But LSU could still slip down to the four seed if they have a bad week and potentially play Carolina in the tournament semifinals as opposed to the championship game.
There’s also the matter of seeding for the NCAA Tournament. Sitting 11th in the AP Poll LSU is in great position to earn a top-four seed and get to host NCAA Tournament games in the PMAC. I am by no means a bracketologist but I would think LSU, currently 16th in NET rankings, needs to avoid a home upset against Bama, beat Tennessee in Knoxville, and win at least one game in Nashville to lock up a top-four NCAA Tournament seed.
The journey continues Thursday night.