Recap: Alexis Morris speeds her way to career-high 31p in front of record crowd

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Alexis Morris scored seven of her career-high 31 points in dominant fashion over an 11-0 fourth-quarter run for her No. 3 LSU Tigers that made the difference in a 76-68 victory over the Tennessee Lady Volunteers (receiving votes, 13 points) in the White Out Game Monday night at the PMAC in Baton Rouge.

The 11-0 run left LSU with a 64-52 lead and 5:20 remaining. The Tigers would match that lead margin, their largest of the fourth, with 3:57 to play. Lady Vol Jordan Horston made a three that cut it to 68-62 at 1:38 remaining, but LaDazhia Williams answered with a short jumper in the paint and then the Lady Vols were forced to foul.

To kick off the run, Morris converted on a 3-point play that gave the Tigers a bit of breathing room at 56-52. About two minutes later, she put her stamp on the game by simply sprinting through the Tennessee defense for a layup, stealing the ball on the ensuing possession and then doing the exact same thing for back-to-back layups 18 seconds apart that made the score 64-52.

Morris showed off her speed all night, slicing through the Lady Vol defense at will, and that 18-second stretch just epitomized it. She was also deadly from mid-range, with multiple pull-ups in transition, and added a 1-of-3 performance from beyond the arc.

Angel Reese struggled early, but finished with her 21st double-double in a row (18 points, 17 rebounds). She broke Sylvia Fowles’ LSU record for most in a row in the Tigers’ previous game, which was last Monday. She added her own spark to the 11-0 run with a steal-turned-fast-break-layup-and-free-throw that made it 60-52 at the 6:10 mark of the fourth.

Morris added six rebounds, three assists and five steals to her stat line, while Reese added three swipes to hers. Both were 8-of-9 from the free throw line.

LSU made just three triples to Tennessee’s eight and the Lady Vols even had a slight edge in field goal percentage, but the Tigers attempted 19 more free throws and made 17 more.

Down 48-34, Tennessee started altering momentum by forcing LSU into a shot clock violation at the 4:50 mark of the third. The Lady Vols failed to score on the ensuing possession, but quickly forced a jump ball and gained possession after the Tigers’ defensive rebound. Tennessee again failed to score, as a bad out-of-bounds call turned the ball over to LSU, but again, the Tigers wouldn’t make it all the way up the court before the Lady Vols regained possession because Jordan Walker stole the ball near mid-court. That led to a Rickea Jackson layup that finally cut it to 48-36.

It may have been a dragged-out sequence just to get two points, but it sparked a 13-2 run that closed the third. On the ensuing possession, Reese committed an offensive foul and Jillian Hollingshed then hit a three from the left corner for Tennessee to cut it to 48-39. LSU turned it over again on its next possession and Jackson followed with a layup that cut it to 48-41. Reese may have made it 50-41 with free throws and reached a double-double in the process, but Lady Vol Sara Puckett would score the game’s next six points after that. She made a layup to cut it to 50-43 and later on committed an offensive foul, but was rewarded two technical free throws because Last-Tear Poa taunted her. She made 1-of-2 free throws and then buried a three on the ensuing possession to cut it to 50-47.

After Jackson made a short shot in the key to open the second half, the Tigers went on a 14-3 run to lead 48-34. Threes, one from Jasmine Carson and one from Morris, highlighted the early part of the run and then Reese got herself going with the final four points of it to get her up to eight on the night. On the last basket, she drove from the top of the key and finished with a layup.

After a back-and-forth first 15:45, one team finally went on a run and it was LSU, 9-0. Sa’Myah Smith and Morris converted on back-to-back 3-point plays and then Poa buried a three to make it 32-23 Tigers.

Tennessee immediately answered with a 5-0 run of its own. Jasmine Franklin made a layup at 2:25 remaining in the second and Tess Darby followed with a trey that cut it to 32-28 with 1:58 to go in the frame. However, the Lady Vols wouldn’t get any closer over the remainder of the first half.

Jackson finished with 17 points, eight boards and five helpers. Jordan Walker (3-of-5 from deep) added a Tennessee-high 19 points, three assists and three steals.

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