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BATON ROUGE – Matchups were at a premium Monday night inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, which welcomed its largest crowd since it was reconfigured years ago.
A few minutes in, it was apparent what Kim Mulkey said about the Tennessee Lady Vols was true: They were going to be a nightmare for No. 3 LSU women's basketball, playing in front of a crowd that included LSU football coach Brian Kelly, Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards, WNBA star Te'a Cooper and LSU baseball great Kramer Robertson.
Tigers star sophomore forward Angel Reese was hindered by the mix of defenders and more skill than she had seen up to this point. While waiting for its star to get going, LSU needed someone else to step up.
Enter Alexis Morris. The experienced, senior point guard dropped 13 first-half points to keep the Tigers ahead of the game. LSU went on to win, 76-68, for its biggest victory of the season.
ANGEL REESE DANCES VS. LADY VOLSBehind LSU women's basketball star Angel Reese's TikTok dance during game vs. Lady Vols
Morris finished with a game-high 31 points for LSU (21-0, 9-0).
LSU Tigers, Kim Mulkey stay unbeaten, SEC Tournament seeding starts to take shape
With No. 1 South Carolina on a program-best 27-game win streak, continuing to roll with no end in sight, Monday's Southeastern Conference undefeated showdown felt like a matchup about SEC Tournament seeding as much as anything.
LSU staked its claim as the second-best team in the SEC with the victory, handing Tennessee its first league loss while remaining undefeated itself.
Both teams still have to face the Gamecocks, LSU at South Carolina on Feb. 12 and Tennessee (16-8, 8-1) hosts the Gamecocks on Feb. 23, and that could throw a wrench into things.
Angel Reese starts slow, extends double-double streak to 21 games
After the first quarter, Reese had one rebound. At the half, she sat at just four points and four boards.
But Reese got it going in the second half, hitting the glass hard to start before some windows opened up for her as the Tigers got more tempo going. With 2:17 left in the third, Reese nailed two free throws to collect her 10th point on the night.
She finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds.
LSU shuts down Lady Vols star Jordan Horston
Things start and end with Jordan Horston for the Lady Vols. Defensively, that's where things started and ended for the Tigers.
The message was received by LSU, which gave Horston a mix of defenders and looks. The variety kept Horston off balance for much of the night, as she had just two points entering the fourth period.
After a star-studded performance where she put up 27 points against UConn, Horston was limited to 11 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his Tigers and Cajuns coverage on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz. Got questions regarding LSU/UL athletics? Send them to Cory Diaz at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Kim Mulkey leads LSU women's basketball past Tennessee Lady Vols