It wasn’t just No. 18 Arkansas blistering start that beat the LSU, but also the Lady Tigers’ inability to take advantage of the visitors’ late cold streak.
The Razorbacks jumped on top quickly and led by as many as 22 points and survive a fourth-quarter drought to hand LSU a 74-64 loss at the Maravich Assembly Center Sunday.
Arkansas’ point total was the most allowed by LSU this season, including four overtime games. Still, LSU had a chance when turned up the defensive intensity to hold Arkansas to one point in a five-minute stretch. But LSU was only able to trim five points off a 14-point edge and got no closer than nine points on a 3-point basket by Khayla Pointer with 15 seconds left.
Pointer led LSU with 24 points and Jailin Cherry had 16. The rest of the team scored only 24 points on nine of 37 shooting. Cherry, who had a career-high 19 points in the previous game, added a team-high nine rebounds two steals and an assist.
“We came out and got punched in the mouth,” Pointer said. “We knew Arkansas could shoot the three and we had a lot of defensive breakdowns. We made some adjustments to run them off the 3-point line and cut into the lead. But we’ve got to be better down the stretch, and we can’t get ourselves in that deep hole.”
LSU (8-11, 6-7) saw its hopes for an NCAA Tournament berth take a blow with its fourth consecutive loss and is in danger of its first losing season since 2015-16 with one regular season game left. The Lady Tigers went 10-21 in Fargas’ fifth season.
Arkansas (17-7, 7-6) moved out of a tie with LSU in the league standings in winning its third consecutive game.
Destiny Slocum nearly doubled her season average with 29 points, Chelsea Dungee had 20 and Erynn Barnum 12 for Arkansas.
One of the top 3-point shooting teams in the nation, Arkansas connected on its first four treys and shot 59.3% from the field — 6 of 9 from 3-point range — in the first half to lead 43-29. Fargas had to call timeout only 2:32 into the game after a third consecutive wide open 3-pointer fell.
“When you play a team that shoots the 3 like Arkansas, you have to be locked in to the scouting report defense,” LSU coach Nikki Fargas said. “We did exactly the opposite of what we practiced. I was disappointed at how we guarded.
“You can’t come out starting 10 down and playing catchup. I changed our defense and our lineup and went with players who I thought would be more disciplined. We did some good things in the second half. We were more efficient than in the first quarter.”
LSU adjusted and forced the action inside, allowing only two 3-pointers after halftime. But the visitors made numerous layups for 28 paint points and made 12 of 15 from the free throw line.
A layup by Dungee made it 57-35 midway through the third quarter, but LSU didn’t quit with Pointer getting 16 of her points in the second half. LSU forced nine turnovers in the fourth quarter pressing full court and trapping in the halfcourt, but on the other end, the Lady Tigers missed 10 of their 16 shots.
LSU was hurt by the loss of sophomore guard Tiara Young, who injured an ankle with 2:11 left in the first quarter and did not return. Sarah Shematsi hit two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to finish with eight points but it wasn’t enough.