LSU women's basketball escapes overtime thriller against Georgia
It's felt like over the last couple of weeks that a performance like this was coming for Kim Mulkey's team.
In its biggest game to date, No. 3 LSU women's basketball fought off any stumble against the Tennessee Lady Vols on Monday night to grab an emotional win in front of a record crowd.
But the Tigers came out flat against Georgia on Thursday, sputtering all night and rarely gaining any traction inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The lead between the two changed roughly 20 times throughout, including five times in overtime.
Despite its anemic performance, LSU escaped the Bulldogs with the 82-77 win in overtime.
LSU (22-0, 10-0) extended its program-record win streak and best start to 22 games largely thanks to the play of sophomore star Angel Reese and senior guard Alexis Morris.
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After Monday's emotional win over Tennessee, the Tigers came out flat against Georgia, managing just 10 points in the opening period. They went the final eight minutes without hitting a basket as the Bulldogs took control early, 15-10.
For Mulkey's group, the energy arrived late in the fourth quarter. Trailing 59-50 with less than seven minutes remaining, LSU turned it on. Led by Reese, who secured her 22nd straight double-double in the last period, the Tigers outscored Georgia 22 to 10 in the final stretch.
Reese ended up with 23 points and 14 rebounds while Morris had 15 points.
Bench play critical for LSU
Freshman forward Sa'Myah Smith scored back-to-back baskets midway through the second quarter and her free throw later gave the Tigers the lead. Her play, along with sophomore Kateri Poole off the bench in the first half, was critical.
Smith led the team with eight points at halftime and finished with 10 while Poole and Last-Tear Poa had five and six points, respectively.
Defense lets Mulkey, LSU down
Mulkey has stated that one of her team's goals in every game is to hold their opponent to below 40% from the field.
Led by Diamond Battles' 22 points, Georgia made 55% of its shots.
The Bulldogs lived in the paint for much of the night with Battles and other guards slashing into the lane and finishing or dishing to an open post. Javyn Nicholson and Brittney Smith combined for 23 points.
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: LSU women's basketball escapes Georgia in overtime thriller