Khayla Pointer is getting exactly the experience she wanted when she decided to come to LSU — starting experience.
For the past three games, Pointer, a true freshman, orchestrated the Lady Tigers' offense. She will likely do so again when LSU (3-3) plays Texas Tech (3-2) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Lubbock, Texas.
Having a true freshman at point guard isn’t always ideal, but for a team that has just one senior and three juniors, it was almost inevitable that an underclassman would step into a prominent role early on.
Pointer is more than happy to jump into the vacancy.
“I’m very thankful to be in that role,” Pointer said. “I know not many people come in and start as a freshman. I’m still learning. Definitely a learning process coming from high school to college because the game is very different — a lot faster, a lot more you have to know in the point guard role. I’m still taking things in and learning from those around me.
“I’ll get better.”
Pointer was always a front-runner to start at point guard for LSU coming into the season. She was in the lineup for all three exhibition games during the Lady Tigers’ trip to Italy over the summer.
Pointer did not start the first few regular-season games, but she was also dealing with the unexpected death of her father just days before LSU opened the season at South Florida.
Pointer and Fargas — her maternal aunt and her father’s sister-in-law — attended the funeral the day after the game before immediately returning to Baton Rouge for the home opener against Southeastern Louisiana the next day.
In the next two games, Pointer posted 14 points, five assists, three rebounds, one steal and only one turnover once in 45 minutes.
Pointer struggled last weekend during the team’s trip to Las Vegas for the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout. Her only stats were one steal and three turnovers against Texas. She only played 10 minutes in the win over Saint Louis.
With those struggles, there is, of course, a possibility that LSU continues to change up the lineup, but Fargas said at the beginning of the season she would like to find a starting lineup she’s comfortable with early and ride that for the remainder of the season in favor of too much tinkering or experimenting.
That could be good for Pointer.
“I think the thing that’s stood out is that she’s come in every day trying to get better and wanting to help her teammates,” Fargas said. “Even in the midst of everything she’s gone through she's getting, going to classing, she’s staying focused, she’s staying on point with what she needs to do from a student athlete standpoint. I think that takes a lot of courage to do that.
"She's not been a distraction for our team. If anything, they’ve helped more than you could imagine in getting her through this difficult time in her life.”