TUSCALOOSA The Crimson Tide women’s basketball team hung tough with eighth-ranked LSU for nearly 26 minutes, but the Tigers were too strong down the stretch and eventually overcame Alabama in a 61-54 win in Coleman Coliseum this afternoon.
“LSU is such a solid basketball team, with great athleticism, size and the ability to cause a lot of problems,” Tide head coach Stephany Smith said. “We are making strides, not giant ones, but I think today showed that we have made some improvements and are moving in the right direction.”
The Tide, searching for its first win of the Southeastern Conference schedule, came out fighting against the highly-ranked Tigers. Alabama trailed by nine at the half, but pulled within three with just over 14 minutes to play.
Utilizing a zone defense that denied touches to LSU’s All-American candidate Sylvia Fowles, the Tide forced the Tigers into a 1-of-9 performance from the three-point line and held LSU to 32.4 percent shooting in the first half.
“I was pleased with how we played in the first half,” Smith said. “I thought we executed and did what our game plan was designed to do. We failed somewhat, though, in the second half and our zone turned into five players standing outside the three-point line.”
The Tiger post players were too strong for Alabama on the boards, however, and helped LSU put the game out of reach in the final 12 minutes of the game. LSU pulled down 18 offensive rebounds on the afternoon behind five from Ashley Thomas and four from Fowles and outscored the Tide in the paint, 42-14, to key the victory.
Those efforts helped LSU shoot an even 50 percent in the second half and the Tigers outscored Alabama, 27-14, in the final 14 minutes of the game.
Alabama lost its sixth-straight league game despite the offensive efforts of Navonda Moore and Talisha Chandler. Moore poured in a game-high 19 points, 17 of those coming in the second half, and drained three treys on the afternoon. She also tallied four steals and three rebounds in the loss.
“Navonda is the player on our team that matches up best with LSU’s athleticism,” Smith said. “It was unfortunate that she struggled in the first half, but it was good to see her come back and have the second half that she did.”
Chandler scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds to go with a pair of assists. Tamara Williams posted seven boards to lead the Tide on the glass, while guards Kate Mastin and Nikki Davis tallied four assists apiece.
Fowles finished with another double-double to lead LSU, as she scored 15 points, collected 11 rebounds and blocked three shots. Quianna Chaney scored 11 points for the Tigers.
Alabama faces its second-straight ranked team in its next outing when the Tide plays host to top-five Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 28 in Coleman Coliseum.