Morris helps No. 5 LSU weather lull in 77-57 win over Mizzou

Sports

Alexis Morris hit five 3-pointers and scored 24 points, Angel Reese overcame early foul trouble to score 20 points with 12 rebounds, and fifth-ranked LSU weathered a second-half lull for a 77-57 victory over Missouri on Thursday night.

Jasmine Carson also had 12 points for LSU (17-0, 5-0 SEC), which extended the best start in school history.

Lauren Hansen hit four 3-pointers and scored 22 points to lead Missouri (14-4, 3-2), which has now lost back-to-back games after three straight wins to open league play. Mama Dembele also had 11 points.

LSU has dominated first halves this season, leading by double digits in each game, and Thursday was no different.

Kim Mulkey’s team jumped to a 9-2 lead, built it to 19-7 by the end of the first quarter — the second game in a row Missouri failed to score 10 points over the first 10 minutes — and eventually pushed its advantage to 37-21 by halftime.

All of that sounds familiar. How the Tigers of the bayou got to that point was a little bit different.

Player of the year candidate Reese, with double-doubles in every game so far this season, picked up two early fouls and had just four points and four boards at the break. LaDazhia Williams, who transferred to LSU after spending the past two seasons at Missouri, also sat most of the first half with two fouls.

So instead of dominating inside, LSU began pitching in 3-pointers. Morris was 4 for 4 from the arc, two of them in a span of three possessions, and her team was 7 of 11 on 3-pointers over the first 20 minutes.

LSU tried to get Reese going when she returned in the third quarter, but Missouri kept doubling her in the paint, and she produced a series of turnovers and missed shots. Pingeton’s team took advantage of LSU’s offensive letup, outscoring its top-5 opponent 17-5 to start the third quarter and claw back into the game.

But after watching an 18-point lead dwindle to a 42-38 advantage with 4:43 left in the third quarter, LSU responded with a 14-3 run to regain control. And Mulkey’s team was never seriously threatened over the final 10 minutes.

BIG PICTURE

LSU was able to overcome 19 turnovers with hot shooting from the perimeter and, when Missouri finally extended to the 3-point line, easy baskets in the paint. Those turnovers will be harder to overcome against the nation’s top teams.

Missouri, which hit 15 3-pointers in an overtime loss to LSU last season, needed more sharp shooting to hang around. But after missing 23 straight shots in a loss to Arkansas last weekend, the Tigers finished just 6 of 23 from beyond the arc.

UP NEXT

LSU begins a two-game homestand with Auburn on Sunday. Missouri visits the Gamecocks the same day.

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AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25