Rust could have been expected of the already depleted LSU women’s basketball team that took the floor Sunday afternoon. LSU dressed just eight healthy players for its first game in 12 days — the injury list growing longer and the bench shorter each day.

Depleted and with final exams finally behind them, the Lady Tigers missed six of their first eight shots and turned the ball over three times in the first five minutes. Then something changed.

“Akilah Bethel,” LSU’s Jenna Deemer deadpanned when asked what it was.

Buoyed offensively by Bethel’s career game, LSU pressured and trapped its way to a 68-50 win in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, holding UC-Santa Barbara to a 34 percent shooting clip while holding the rebounding advantage 43-29.