Pointer scores 23, No. 8 LSU women top Alabama 58-50

Feb 24, 2022, 5:07 AM | Updated: 8:41 pm
LSU guard Jailin Cherry (1) and center Hannah Gusters (20) defend against Alabama guard Megan Abram...

LSU guard Jailin Cherry (1) and center Hannah Gusters (20) defend against Alabama guard Megan Abrams (1) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Baton Rouge, La. (Hilary Scheinuk/The Advocate via AP)

(Hilary Scheinuk/The Advocate via AP)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Khayla Pointer laughed off the miserable shooting that defined her previous performance and returned to her usual form in time to help LSU emerge unscathed from its first game as a top-10 team since 2009.

Pointer had 23 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and No. 8 LSU clinched at least a share of second place in the Southeastern Conference with a 58-50 victory over Alabama on Thursday night.

“How I get through stuff is I just make jokes about myself,” said Pointer, who after making just one of 17 shots in the Tigers’ victory over Florida last weekend told her mother, “I was just out there building my dream house.”

Against Alabama, she made more shots than she bricked, as it were, hitting 10 of 19.

“It’s a new game for me, a new day,” Pointer said. “Even though I can joke about the last game, I know I can lock in the next day and have a completely different game.”

Faustine Aifuwa scored 12 points for the Tigers (24-4, 12-3 SEC), who led for all but the opening 1:19 and by as many as 14 points en route to their seventh straight victory.

LSU can take sole possession of second place with a victory in its regular-season finale at No. 16 Tennessee on Sunday. No. 1 South Carolina won the SEC title on Thursday night when it beat Texas A&M.

LSU coach Kim Mulkey, in her first season back in her native state following her illustrious two-decade stint with Baylor, praised her players for their dramatic one-year improvement.

“Do you realize this team won nine games last year and they just finished (one spot) behind the No. 1 team in the country in the SEC?” Mulkey said. “What a year it’s been.”

LSU starting guard Alexis Morris played just one minute before leaving with a knee injury. She was hurt on the Tigers’ defensive end in a collision with Alabama’s Brittany Davis as the Crimson Tide guard drove the lane.

Morris needed help leaving the court and was on crutches after the game. Mulkey said a doctor’s preliminary prognosis was a sprained knee but that an MRI was likely needed to confirm that.

“Some good news, really,” Mulkey said. “Let’s just hope for the best.”

Davis had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Alabama (14-12, 5-10), which came in having won two straight, including a victory over Tennessee. Megan Abrams added 16 points and Hannah Barber had 11 for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama got as close as three points twice in the fourth quarter. But when Abrams’ 3 cut it to 46-43, Poynter answered with a layup. After Davis’ layup made it 48-45, LSU’s Ryann Payne, filling in for Morris, made a jumper to ignite an 8-0 run that Aifuwa capped with a short jumper to make it 56-45 with 3:27 left.

“Khayla just got the ball in her hands and made some plays. We couldn’t keep her in front,” Alabama coach Kristy Curry said. “She did what a fifth-year player does.”

Alabama didn’t get within eight after that.

BIG PICTURE

Alabama: Showed why it can be a tough out in the upcoming SEC tournament by methodically getting back in the game in front of a loud, hostile crowd on senior night. But the Crimson Tide were done in by 34% shooting (18 of 53) and 18 turnovers that led to 14 LSU points.

“We missed a lot of shots in the paint,” Curry said. “We’re in the SEC and we’ve got to make layups.”

LSU: Shot 43.9% (25 of 57) and committed relative few turnovers with 10, which helped the Tigers hold on against an Alabama squad that refused to capitulate.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The victory over unranked Alabama won’t likely push LSU up the rankings, but the Tigers shouldn’t fall, either.

UP NEXT

Alabama: Hosts Vanderbilt on Sunday.

LSU: At No. 16 Tennessee on Sunday.

___

More 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

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

This cover image released by Gallery Books shows "Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and ...
Associated Press

ESPN’s Stephen A Smith has memoir coming in January 2023

NEW YORK (AP) — Dallas Cowboy fans be warned: ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has a memoir coming out next year. 13A, an imprint of Gallery Books, announced Tuesday that Smith’s “Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes” is scheduled for January 2023. According to 13A, Smith will share stories about growing up […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

UK watchdog probes police stop of sprinter dos Santos

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s police watchdog is investigating after armed officers pulled over Portuguese sprinter Ricardo dos Santos’ car in London two years after a traffic stop of the athlete led to accusations of racial profiling. The Metropolitan Police force said officers on a routine patrol pulled over a car in west London early Sunday […]
1 day ago
FILE - Australia's Ellia Green, front, scores a try as Fiji's Raijieli Daveua, tries to defend duri...
Associated Press

Olympic champion Ellia Green finds liberation in transition

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Ellia Green realized as a young child — long before becoming an Olympic champion — that a person’s identity and a gender assigned at birth can be very different things. Now, about 20 years later, one of the stars of Australia’s gold medal-winning women’s rugby sevens team at the 2016 Olympics […]
1 day ago
Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus runs with the ball against Everton during the first half of a pre-season fr...
Associated Press

World Cup Watch: Jesus out to reclaim Brazil’s No. 9 jersey

It’s one of the biggest honors in soccer: Playing as the center forward for Brazil at a World Cup. Gabriel Jesus knows all about that, having been handed the No. 9 jersey at the 2018 tournament in Russia and — as every Brazilian is acutely aware — failing to score a goal. Will he get […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Indian court urged to settle issues that led to FIFA ban

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s top court is expected to take up a government plea to settle issues that led to the national soccer federation’s suspension by FIFA and the possible loss of its hosting rights for the Under-17 Women’s World Cup in October. The FIFA suspension follows the Supreme Court’s appointment of a three-member […]
1 day ago
FILE - Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud throws during the first half in the Rose Bowl NCAA colleg...
Associated Press

AP Top 25 Reality Check: Pouring caution on that optimism

Low expectations rarely disappoint. That’s not to say your favorite team will fail to live up to the promise that comes with landing a spot in The Associated Press preseason Top 25 college football poll presented by Regions Bank that was released Monday. But numbers suggest it is best to sprinkle a healthy amount of […]
1 day ago
Pointer scores 23, No. 8 LSU women top Alabama 58-50