lsumisswomen.010818 201.jpg

LSU’s Ayana Mitchell (5) looks to take a shot as Mississippi State’s Teaira McCowan (15) defends in the second half of LSU's 70-83 loss to Mississippi State Sunday in LSU's Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

PATRICK DENNIS

Mistakes were made last Sunday.

It's hard to sugarcoat a double-digit loss to a conference rival in which an opposing player posts one of the single best performances of the last 20 years.

But the LSU women’s basketball team is determined to not let losing to Teaira McCowan and Mississippi State derail the season.

This time last week the Lady Tigers were riding high on confidence after upsetting then-No. 15 Missouri on the road as part of an eight-game win streak.

The hope is that they can return to that level of success, beginning with a road trip to Alabama on Thursday.

To do that, they’ll need to first figure out what went wrong this weekend.

“We talk about how we’re going to tighten up our defense a little better,” said coach Nikki Fargas after the game. “What we’re going to take away from it is how we can be better with our post defense. How can we be better disrupting best players.”

Ayana Mitchell won’t deny the fact she got beat on Sunday, despite having one of the better performances of her college career.

The Lady Tigers’ post player was the primary defender on the 6-foot-7 McCowan, but with almost a half foot height difference, there were limitations to what she could do.

Luckily for LSU, Alabama doesn’t have a McCowan on their roster, and neither do most other teams in the country, with the only exception possibly being A’ja Wilson at South Carolina.

Mitchell believes she’s better suited to play the smaller, quicker Tide.

Alabama has one player listed taller than 6 foot 3.

“Make every opportunity and possession count,” Mitchell said of what the team can take away from the loss. “I think some possessions we had we didn’t take what they gave us. And then on the defensive end, making sure I’m in the right spot all the time and not the majority of the time. If I was there all the time, we probably never would’ve lost.”

McCowan may be an outlier in the personnel LSU is likely to see this season, but Fargas doesn’t want her to be treated as such.

Ideally, the Lady Tigers will keep McCowan in the forefront of their mind moving forward, capitalizing on the pieces that did work for them.

For about six minutes into the game, McCowan was largely held in check and Mitchell was controlling the boards.

Mitchell said Mississippi State adjusted their game plan after LSU took an early lead to focus more on McCowan’s height advantage, which eventually led to her dominating for 31 points and 20 rebounds.

Mitchell had 17 points and 11 rebounds for her seance double-double of the season.

“You’ve got to challenge our team in practice to play defense like we’re playing a McCowan every night,” Fargas said. “You’re not going to play another five as good as her, especially on the low block. If we can take the positives in the way we played her and the ways she wasn’t successful and we drill that into our post game, then when you do maybe an undersized post player, maybe a player not as good around the rim as she is, then you’re going to be ready.”

Follow Mike Gegenheimer on Twitter, @Mike_Gegs.