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LSU women’s basketball beats Ragin’ Cajuns

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Nov. 19, 2021

Click here for game photo gallery.

Kim Mulkey‘s first visit to the Cajundome as coach at LSU did not start pretty, but it did pay for the SEC team that drove 60 miles across Interstate 10 to Lafayette.

In front of an announced crowd of 2,711, LSU (2-1) rolled to a 70-41 win over UL (2-1) on Thursday behind 17 points from Awa Trasi that included 6-of-7 field shooting and Autumn Newby’s game-high 12 rebounds. 

"Thank y’all for being here and thank you for staying," Mulkey said. "If I had paid to watch that in the first quarter I’d have left.

"That was some bad basketball, OK? But, nonetheless, we’re gonna keep grinding and we’re gonna build our program, and hopefully one day we’ll be much better than that."

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Mulkey, whose Tigers opened with a home win over Nicholls but lost Sunday in Baton Rouge to Florida Gulf Coast, won three national championships at Baylor in 21 seasons.

Up 30-14 after a first half in which it committed nine turnovers, LSU extended its lead to 51-33 after three quarters. The opening half was even sloppier, though, for UL, which had 17 turnovers including six traveling calls and shot just 22.7 percent from the field before the break.

The Cajuns finished with 26 turnovers and LSU 19.

"The first couple games it was all about hand-checks, and today it was all about just do whatever you want to do to the dribbler, you know?" UL coach Garry Brodhead said of the loosely called game. "So, to me, that made a difference. I don’t think our kids were used to that. We don’t allow that in practice, you know? The first couple games we got in so much foul trouble because we were reaching and hand-checking. I guess it disappeared."

Mulkey, however, did not buy into the assertion that was the game was physical.

"Where I’ve been, honey, that’s not physical," she said. "Where we want to go, that’s not physical. I don’t know that us being physical was any different than how we play. If it’s a foul, call a foul." 

UL and LSU were tied 10-10 after one quarter.

Brandi Williams, Tamera Johnson and Makayia Hallmon had three points apiece for UL in the quarter; former Baylor, Rutgers and Texas A&M guard Alexis Morris had four for LSU.

"We couldn’t shoot it," Mulkey said, "and UL kept turning the ball over."

But LSU pulled away during a second quarter in which the Tigers outscored UL 20-4 behind seven points each from Trasi and Ryann Payne, who had a game-high nine points with 4-of-5 field shooting at halftime.

Payne ended up with 11 points; Williams and Alabama transfer Destiny Rice led UL with 10 each.

"I thought we played halfway decent the first quarter, and then the turnovers just killed up the first half," Brodhead said. "Seventeen turnovers; it’s difficult to win games against size to begin with when you’re gonna get out-rebounded and then turn the ball over.

"So we didn’t really have an answer. We had to kind of rotate some people in in that second quarter, and I think they took advantage of it with their speed and athleticism."