Auburn women's hoops falls to LSU, 57-41

BATON ROUGE, La. – An LSU run midway through the second half proved to be the decided factor as the Auburn women's basketball team (11-16, 3-11 SEC) fell to the Lady Tigers (19-8, 9-5 SEC), 57-41, Sunday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La.

The game was LSU's WBCA Pink Zone game for breast cancer awareness, bringing out a crowd of 6,763. The crowd was the largest for the Bayou Bengals since Auburn beat LSU 66-55 on Feb. 1, 2009.

Auburn struggled from the field in the game, shooting just 30.9 percent and 16.7 percent from 3-point range. The Tigers were kept in check by LSU's long zone defense.

"It was a bad day for Auburn and a good day for LSU," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "We just could not find many baskets out there today, but credit LSU because they can get long and tough with that zone defense."

A pair of scoreless droughts plagued the Tigers in the game, one coming in the first half and another midway through the second half. Both produced 9-0 LSU runs that enabled the Bayou Bengals to put the game out of reach.

"We missed some great opportunities in the first half and the burden got heavy with LSU shooting the ball so well," said Fortner. "LSU can get really long on you when they want and that was difficult for us today."

Freshman Hasina Muhammad led Auburn, coming off the bench for 12 points, four rebounds and a pair of steals. Senior Chantel Hilliard also came off the bench and added nine points and three steals.

LaSondra Barrett notched a double-double for LSU with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Jeanne Kenney also finished in double figures with 11 points. LSU shot 54.1 percent from the field, including 50.0 percent (5-of-10) from 3-point range.

The game was even early on in the first half with Auburn tying it up at 9-9 with 13:28 to play, but LSU went on a 9-0 run over the next five minutes to take the lead for good. Auburn cut the lead down to three with a little under two minutes left, but the Lady Tigers scored the final four points to take a 33-26 lead into the locker room.

Najat Ouardad scored her seventh point of the game to start the second half, cutting the LSU lead to five. The Tigers were down six, 37-31, with 12:50 to play when LSU went on its second run. Auburn was held scoreless for a little over six minutes as LSU went on a 9-0 run, extending the lead to 15 with 6:27 left to play.

Auburn would never recover from the run, getting no closer than 13, as LSU held on for the 57-41 win.

The Tigers will return home for the final two games of the regular season, taking on in-state rival Alabama at 8 p.m., Thursday and Ole Miss at 2:30 p.m., Sunday.