MIAMI, Fla. – The No. 12/14 West Virginia women’s basketball team fell 71-63 to LSU in the opening round of the FIU Thanksgiving Classic in Miami, Fla., Friday.
In a back-and-forth game with 10 lead changes, the Mountaineers (3-1) tied the game at 59-59 with 3:35 left on a Jennie Simms
layup. The Tigers (2-2) pulled away three, when an Averee Fields
jumper from the top of the key brought the game within reach at 62-61 and 2:41 on the clock. WVU was held without a field goal to the buzzer, while LSU went on a 9-2 run to seal the win.
Despite three Mountaineers in double figures, WVU’s shooting was cold, making only 36 percent (18-5) from the floor to the Tigers’ 45.3 field goal percentage (24-53). Junior guard Taylor Palmer
led WVU in scoring for the first time this season with 15 points, including three 3-pointers, and a career-high five steals. Senior Ayana Dunning
held just below her season-leading average of 12.0 points with 11, while Simms also added 11 points, matching her career best. Dunning led the Mountaineers in rebounding with five boards, four of which were offensive. WVU barely edged out LSU in rebounding, 35-34.
The Mountaineers turned the ball over a season-high 28 times, which the Tigers capitalized on, gaining 16 points off turnovers. WVU also forced 23 turnovers, gaining 20 points from LSU’s turnovers. WVU held LSU to only 1-of-7 (14.3%) from 3-point range, while hitting 30 percent (6-20) of its own. The teams were about even in free throw shooting as WVU shot 70 percent (21-30) and LSU was 73.3 percent (22-30) accurate.
LSU had four players score in double digits, led by Danielle Ballard with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-9 from the free throw line. Ballard was also the game-leading rebounder with eight boards. Theresa Plaisance recorded 13 points with 7-of-7 from the free throw line, and also collected six rebounds for the Tigers. Adrienne Webb chipped in 12 points and Bianca Lutley added another 10 points.
The Mountaineers advance to face Iowa on Sunday, Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. Fans can tune into WAJR to hear the game live with Travis Jones on the call.