LSU falls to Kentucky in SEC women’s tournament _lowres

LSU head coach Nikki Fargas shouts instructions to her players during the second quarter against Alabama in an NCAA college basketball game in the first round of the Southeastern Conference women's tournament, Wednesday March 2, 2016, in Jacksonville, Fla. (Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Alexis Hyder scored 23 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough for the LSU women’s basketball to pull out the upset over No. 13 Kentucky on Thursday at the SEC tournament, falling 79-71 to the Wildcats.

The Lady Tigers closed out their season with a 10-21 record, while the Wildcats (22-6) advance to face fourth-seeded Florida on Friday. The 21 losses is the most in school history.

“Obviously the game didn’t play out the way that we had hoped for, but I am extremely proud to be the head coach of these LSU Lady Tigers,” LSU coach Nikki Fargas said. “They have shown what it means to play through and handle adversity. They have shown what it means to stay together and the true meaning of family. They have shown that even through tough times that you still have to have less quit in you, and that’s what today’s game was about.”

Hyder led the Lady Tigers and tied her career-high in points, including a 9-of-10 effort at the free throw line and a 7-of-16 effort from the field. Along with Hyder, the Lady Tigers saw double-digit points from Akilah Bethel, Rina Hill and Shanice Norton with 17, 13, and 10 points, respectively.

In addition to her 17 points, Bethel also hauled in 10 rebounds.

Both teams had double-digit turnovers with LSU picking up 17 points off 17 turnovers and Kentucky scoring 24 points off 14 LSU miscues. UK scored 42 points to LSU’s 32 points in the paint and out-rebounded LSU 36-32.

Hyder had 16 points and five rebounds in the first half as UK went into the locker room up 41-29.

Closing the third quarter, the Lady Tigers went on a five-point run to trail 56-42, but the Wildcats scored a late basket for a 58-42 lead.

Trailing by 16, the Tigers never gave up their intensity in the fourth quarter. A jumper by Hyder, followed by a 3-pointer from Hill sparked the shot-for-shot battle for the last minute of the game. Bethel’s last shot of the game with two seconds to go gave LSU 29 points, the most points score in the fourth quarter this season.

“We were struggling offensively, so we were trying to get anything possible,” Hyder said. “Personally. I was trying to do everything to help the team to get us going. You only need so many plays to get our momentum going. That was my intent. I didn’t really want this to end for our seniors. I wanted them to have a longer push. That was my motivation.”

Makayla Epps and Thompson led Kentucky with 17 points each. Evelyn Akhator posted a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Wildcats.