Sunday didn’t look like many of the other games LSU women’s basketball won this season.
The Tigers relied heavily on offense, didn’t produce an abundance of turnovers and lost the battle on the boards after shifting to a much smaller lineup than it usually plays.
It didn’t matter.
LSU staved off a last-minute comeback attempt from No. 14 Texas A&M to take down the Aggies 80-78 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The win is the third consecutive home game in which the Lady Tigers (19-7, 8-4 Southeastern Conference) upset one of the nation’s top-ranked teams, including then-No. 10 Tennessee and No. 18 Georgia two weeks ago.
In both of those games, LSU outrebounded opponents by 10 or more and kept them under 38 percent shooting from the field.
Sunday was a different story.
Texas A&M shot 56.9 percent from the field and 6-foot-5 center Khaalia Hillsman was able to control the post for 23 points and nine rebounds. The Aggies outrebounded LSU 33-23.
But thanks to LSU’s offense producing its second-highest point total of the season behind a 53.3 percent shooting clip — the best for a conference game since coach Nikki Fargas’ first season in Baton Rouge in 2012 — the Lady Tigers held on to a narrow victory.
Still, Fargas disagreed with the assessment Sunday wasn’t traditional LSU basketball.
“We didn’t give up a lot of transition baskets to them,” Fargas said. “Our board play, we settled in a little better and kept them off the glass. We didn’t allow (Anriel Howard) to kill us on the boards. We didn’t allow (Jasmine) Lumpkin — these are kids who did that to us last game (against Texas A&M).”
Also different from the two previous upsets, the win was far from secured by the final minutes.
Texas A&M coach Gary Blair did not mince words when he said the Aggies’ game plan down the stretch was to put LSU at the free-throw line and let them lose the game themselves.
Considering LSU entered the game shooting 61.7 percent from the free-throw line this season — the tied for the 18th worst in the country — it made sense.
Sure enough, LSU went 3 of 6 from the line in the final 36 seconds, opening the door for Texas A&M to make a comeback. That, combined with a late turnover on an inbounds pass with five seconds remaining, and it took Texas A&M missing a 3-point attempt at the buzzer for LSU to keep the home-winning streak alive.
“It’s an exciting moment,” said senior Raigyne Louis of another ranked win. “We’re still just as hyped as when we beat Georgia or Tennessee here. It’s just a good win after a loss at Auburn.
“We put fear in people when they come here.”
The one thing that didn’t change on Sunday was who generated the offense.
Louis and Chloe Jackson combined for 53 points for LSU, including 20 in the fourth quarter.
Jackson’s 27 points and Louis’ 26 were both individual season highs.
“We both just came into the game with confidence and that showed in our play,” Jackson said. “We stepped up and made big-time shots.”