The problem for the LSU Lady Tigers’ struggling basketball team this season hasn’t been effort.
It’s been a lack of offensive execution, resulting from a roster that has been decimated by injury, illness and dismissals.
LSU (7-11, 1-4 Southeastern Conference) picked up its only conference win over Ole Miss, 76-57, on Jan. 7. Since then, the Lady Tigers have lost to Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Florida, not scoring more than 45 points in those games.
More scoring is the goal against Arkansas (8-10, 3-2), which visits the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Thursday for a 7 p.m. tip.
But LSU will again be without guard Jenna Deemer, its second-leading scorer and top 3-point shooting threat, for a third straight game with an unspecified illness.
Her absence puts LSU without four potential starters from the preseason with dismissed guard Danielle Ballard, and injured guard Raygine Moncrief and forward Ayana Mitchell. That means the Lady Tigers have to find some ways to invent offense.
“We need to be creative in our ability to put points on the board,” LSU coach Nikki Fargas said. “We are doing enough defensively and holding our opponents in the 50s. I know the last couple of games with the loss of Jenna Deemer, our second-leading scorer, someone has to pick up that slack. When you are only playing seven players, nobody can have an off night shooting. We have to be very diligent in our execution on the offensive end.”
Despite their offensive woes, which have led to the Lady Tigers losing seven of their past eight overall, Fargas said her team’s effort has been good.
“We are getting the effort,” Fargas said. “They are giving me everything they have.”
LSU’s top healthy scorer is 5-foot-11 junior forward Alexis Hyder, who leads the team with 10.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
Jessica Jackson, a 6-3 junior forward, averages 17.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game to pace the Razorbacks.
Thursday’s game has been designated as LSU’s “We Back Pat” game for this season, part of an SEC initiative to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. Former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, whom Fargas played and coached under, suffers from Alzheimer’s. … LSU leads the Arkansas series 29-15, but the Razorbacks have won three straight, including a 57-53 win in Baton Rouge in 2014. … Arkansas is led by second-year coach Jimmy Dykes, a former ESPN basketball analyst.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.