Aifuwa Ties Career-Best, Comeback Falls Short At Auburn

Geaux Nation

AUBURN, Ala. — The LSU women’s basketball team came up short in its comeback bid on Sunday afternoon at Auburn, losing 65-60. LSU is now 18-6 overall and 8-4 in the SEC. Auburn moves to 9-14 overall and 3-9 in conference play.

Redshirt junior Faustine Aifuwa totaled a double-double, collecting a season-high 20 points to match her career high. She led the team in rebounds with 10 and shot a 55.6 field goal percentage. Junior Khayla Pointer was the second Tiger to score in double digits with 18 with a strong night at the free throw line, shooting 9-11, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out seven assists.

HOW IT HAPPENED

·         LSU won the jumpball but Auburn struck first with a layup that was quickly answered by Aifuwa to tie it at 2.

·         Following two straight 3-pointers by Auburn, LSU called a timeout with 7:16 left in the first, down 8-2.

·         Auburn and LSU continued to battle. Aifuwa helped to close the gap down 14-7 with a made layup at 2:57.

·         At the end of the first, senior Jaelyn Richard-Harris made a key three and LSU was down only four, 17-13.

·         Auburn came out strong to start the second quarter but Pointer and Aifuwa had answers. Auburn led 25-19 with 5:17 left to play in the half.

·         Pointer made a three to bring LSU within six at the media timeout. Auburn led 28-22 with 3:38 left in the second.

·         Auburn had a 5-0 run following the timeout and the Tigers were down 33-22 at the half.

·         The teams traded points at the start of the second half which led to an Auburn timeout with 7:15 left in the third quarter. They led 36-24.

·         Aifuwa and junior Awa Trasi made a layup and long-range jumper respectively, immediately following the timeout to bring LSU within seven.

·         At the media timeout, Auburn led 40-31 with 3:38 left in the third.

·         After swapping free throws, LSU headed into the fourth quarter down 42-34.

·         Despite a slow start in the fourth, LSU had a 10-0 run by Pointer, Tiara Young and Jailin Cherry to bring them within four at 62-58 with 1:12 left to play.

·         After more battles at the line, Auburn led 64-60 with six seconds left.

UP NEXT

LSU will be on the road again this Thursday, February 20. The Tigers will take on No. 1 South Carolina at 6 p.m. CT in Colonial Life Arena. The game will air on SECN+ and live stats will be available.

Head Coach Nikki Fargas Post-Game Quotes

On how the game played out…

“I think it started when you look in the first half, our defensive efforts to guard was not as on point as it has been. We allowed (Lauren) Hansen and (Robyn) Benton to get going on the three-point line just by us breaking down. Now you’re playing catch up because you’re down 11 at the half and you have to now muster up enough points to score the basketball. We had enough possessions when you look at the team having 38 possessions in a half but were only converting on 12 of those. It was a very poor image to have the ball that many times in a half and only score 12 times. To me that was the difference in the game. Even when you look at the fourth quarter, we had 11 more possessions then Auburn and couldn’t convert. We missed a lot of opportunities to score some layups and to just settle in and fight off the first half deficit. Our percentage was not as good and efficient as it needed to be to come away with a win on the road.

On how the team was strong defensively in the second half but missed chances…

“We had six more possession than they did but we only shot at 27 percent. You got a lot of wide open looks and a lot of wide open layups. When you go on the road, and we talk about this all the time, the ball may not bounce your way, but you have to always bring your defense and your board play. We didn’t come out with the same level of intensity on the defensive side of the basketball as we had in the past and so now, we’re playing this catch up game and that’s not how we play and that’s not how we are. I feel like we took a step back here in how we want to play but again we had a lot of good looks and we just needed more from this group to be able to compete against a team like Auburn who’s defense really tries to turn you over. In the first half we gave away too many possessions and we had 10 or 11 turnovers. The second half we took care of the basketball a little bit better and that, to me, helped a little bit, but this is still a team that is adapting and figuring out. We had opportunities and we just didn’t convert. Now we have to focus back in on the little details of the game. This team had been rebounding the ball extremely well and we only had one offensive rebound. As poorly as we shot in the first half, we only had one offensive rebound and that’s not who we are. In the second half we were able to get 14 offensive rebounds. There’re some highlights with this group, but the season is winding down and every game that you play matters.

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(Press Release Provided by LSU Athletics)

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