LSU women’s basketball controlled most of Saturday’s game against Florida State, but in the end it was not enough to overpower the 12th-ranked Seminoles.
The Lady Tigers led after the first, second and third quarters but could not close the deal, falling 70-62 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. In the last 10 minutes of the game, LSU was 0 of 4 from the field and missed five free throws. Florida State went on an 8-0 run during the last 1:15 of the game to secure a victory.
“I think this group is going to learn from this,” Fargas said. “It’s always good to test your team early on. They’re capable, and they know they are. Florida State is a really good basketball team that’s got some really good players. This has been a good test for us, but the real test is how do we handle this afterwards and how do we respond to this.”
LSU point guard Khayla Pointer led all scorers with 22 points, while Florida State’s Nicki Ekhomu led the Seminoles with 21. LSU forward Ayana Mitchell was not as effective on the offensive end, but took three charges in addition to 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Lady Tigers opened the game competitively and led 17-15 at the end of the first quarter. While the Seminoles tried to limit Mitchell’s effectiveness, Pointer was able to assert herself on the dribble drive multiple times throughout the game.
LSU ended the first half 7 of 7 from the field in the last three minutes and held a 40-35 lead at halftime.
The Lady Tigers came out slow to start the second half, with Florida State outscoring them 14-13 in the third quarter. Despite that, LSU roared back at the end of the third to take a 53-49 lead going into the final 10 minutes.
The LSU offense struggled more in the second half, when Florida State switched to a zone defense and the Lady Tigers struggled with shooting on the outside. The Lady Tigers shot just 2 for 10 from beyond the arc.
“We were trying to find the gaps, but we just couldn’t get a rhythm,” Pointer said. “We came out flat in the third quarter and on the other end we were giving up baskets. You can’t do that against Florida State. You’ve got to at least trade baskets."
LSU had success on the press in the first half, forcing 17 turnovers, but Florida State made adjustments in the second half that cleared out most of the help.
“I felt that we had too many defensive breakdowns,” Fargas said. “Especially in the third quarter. When you’re teaching the matchup to a young group, you want to make sure that they’re not confused, so we’re going to continue to work on our man-to-man defense.”
Once again, the Lady Tigers struggled with free throws. While they shot almost 20 percentage points better than in the season opener against UNO, they still missed several in crunch time.
Both Fargas and Mitchell said they were happy with the look that LSU got at the free-throw line, and many were uncharacteristic misses. The Lady Tigers said free-throw shooting is more about focus than form, and they expect it to be better going forward.
“It was a game that came down to the wire,” Fargas said. “One team made plays and the other one didn’t, and that’s what the name of the game is. You’ve got to take your possessions and convert on them. You’ve got to be able to score and get stops. That’s what we have to focus on moving forward.”