PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico — Despite cutting an 11-point halftime deficit to three with less than two minutes to play, the LSU women’s basketball team was unable to complete the comeback and fell to Santa Clara, 69-67, in the opening game of the Hardwood Tournament of Hope.
Guards DaShawn Harden and Anne Pedersen combined for five 3-pointers in the second half to get the Lady Tigers within three, 66-63, with 1:51 to play.
After a missed 3-pointer by Pedersen, Santa Clara guard Raquel Avila split two defenders for a layup with 36 seconds to play that extended the lead back to five.
LSU’s Sheila Boykin answered with a quick layup with 28 second left, but a Nici Gilday was able to make 1-of-2 free throws to keep the Lady Tigers in a two-possession game. Raigyne Moncrief’s layup with two seconds to play was the Lady Tigers’ final basket before time ran out.
Boykin led the Lady Tigers with 14 points, while Harden and Akilah Bethel each had 12, and Pedersen added 11.
Gilday, who made six 3-pointers in the first half, finished with a game-high 29 points to lead the Broncos to victory.
LSU (2-4) returns to action on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. against UTEP before completing the tournament on Thanksgiving Day at 5 p.m. against Kansas State.