BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Aneesah Morrow and Flau’jae Johnson tied their season highs with 17 points apiece and No. 7 LSU defeated Texas Southern 106-47 on Monday night while star forward Angel Reese missed her second straight game.
Hailey Van Lith scored a season-high 16 points for LSU (5-1), which has won five straight since its season-opening loss to then No. 20 Colorado, which has since moved up to third in the AP Top 25.
“We’re playing faster because we’re more comfortable with where each other are at on the floor,” Van Lith said. “The pace will continue to get faster as we play together, but I’m happy with where we’re at right now.”
Freshman Mikayla Williams scored 14 points, reaching double figures in scoring for the fifth time in what was her sixth college game. Aalyah Del Rosario also added 14 points for LSU.
LSU coach Kim Mulkey has so far declined to elaborate on why Reese — who was an All-America last season for LSU’s national title team — has been away from the team. She also was absent for last Friday’s victory at Southeastern Louisiana and was benched for the second half of last Tuesday’s victory over Kent State.
“I’m going to protect my players — always. They are like a family,” Mulkey said. “Those kids are like my children and I’m not going to tell you what you don’t need to know, and that’s just the way I address things.”
Daeja Holmes and Taniya Lawson each scored 11 points for Texas Southern, which was plagued by a season-high 35 turnovers that led to 48 LSU points.
“One thing I love about us is we are smart defensively and we know what teams want to do and we’re going to capitalize on that,” Van Lith said. “We figured ’em out pretty early, that where they were looking was where they were passing, and as you could see we were able to pick off a lot of those.”
Van Lith scored eight of her points in first quarter, hitting three of her first five shots, including a 3. She had 12 points by halftime, when LSU held a 49-18 lead.
Texas Southern: Less than eight minutes in, Texas Southern was down by 11 and didn’t appear ready to offer LSU much resistance. Holmes, who is her team’s leading scorer, was held below her average of 15 points and committed six turnovers. Texas Southern was outrebounded 49-33 and outscored 60-20 in the paint.
LSU: Whether Angel Reese plays or not likely won’t affect LSU’s chances of success in many of their games this season. This was the latest example of how how much scoring they have as they shot 48.1% (38 of 79). Against elite competition, however, Reese’s ability to defend and rebound could tip the balance of a game.
Mulkey declined to say whether Reese would join the rest of the team in the Cayman Islands for a tournament this weekend.
Texas Southern: Hosts Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday.
LSU: Plays Niagara on Friday at the Cayman Islands Classic.
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