Down two, less than 10 seconds left and with their star guard struggling, LSU coach Nikki Fargas kept the typical late-game situation.
“Get Ray the ball,” Fargas yelled to Rina Hill, asking her to pass to Raigyne Moncrief.
Moncrief, who started the game 0-for-7 from the field, buried an elbow jumper as time expired in regulation, pushing the game to overtime, where she gave LSU the lead for good as it staved off an upset threat from UL-Monroe 61-54 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
“I was forcing it at the beginning, not letting the game come to me,” Moncrief said. “I was able to dribble, pull up. That was probably the best shot attempt I took all game because everything else was forced. I think the Lord helped me out on that one.”
Moncrief and Hill teamed to reignite an offense that was bogged down by 25 turnovers and inefficiency in the halfcourt.
Hill hit a runner along the baseline as time expired in the third quarter to cut the LSU deficit to 41-37. Moncrief, who made three of her final four shots, drove to the basket two minutes later, laying in her first field goal to bring the Tigers within two and force ULM into a timeout.
But the Warhawks, as they did for most of the afternoon, took back any momentum with a quick Alayshia Hunter basket, stretching the lead back to five before LSU uncorked a 7-0 run to take a brief two-point lead on Moncrief’s steal and score.
Now trailing 46-44, the Warhawks, who were 8-for-19 on 3-pointers, got another from Aundrea Davis to reclaim the lead. Moncrief traveled on the next possession before a foul put Emery Wilson at the line for two free throws.
She split them, but Daja Chase corralled the offensive rebound, and LSU fouled Wilson again. Again, Wilson split the foul shots, and again the rebound went to the Warhawks — this time a kick out to Davis, who hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give ULM a 52-46 lead.
Free throws then became the Warhawks’ undoing: They missed three of their last four in regulation to keep LSU close and were 1-of-4 in overtime as what once was a promising upset bid slipped away. LSU finished 20-for-25 at the line.
“I certainly don’t mean any disrespect to LSU,” said ULM coach Jeff Dow, whose team committed 27 turnovers. “But I feel like we handed them that game. That game was ours.”
Keeping LSU close during the second and third quarters, when it made just five field goals, were Hyder and Ann Jones inside. Hyder battled foul trouble for 15 points to go with 15 rebounds to lead the Lady Tigers while Jones added 11.
“A lot of credit to UL-Monroe for really making shots,” Fargas said. “Sometimes we don’t know how to shift gears. We go all in and all out, and it comes up a goose egg. Once settled and we realized we did have numbers and we weren’t forcing things, we were able to get into some of our action and get ourselves to the free-throw line.”