Morris leads No. 4 LSU into SEC semis, beating Georgia 83-66
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Alexis Morris savored her first Southeastern Conference tournament victory with LSU. She’s ready to keep that going.
“This is my last year,” said Morris, a fifth-year senior at her third school. “It’s do or die for me.”
Morris scored 28 points with five 3-pointers to lead the fourth-ranked Tigers into the SEC semifinals with an 83-66 victory over Georgia on Friday night.
Morris had three of her triples in the first four minutes as LSU (28-1) opened a 10-point lead it never relinquished.
“I just took what the defense gave me,” Morris said. “And fortunately enough, I was able to hit them tonight.”
SEC freshman of the year Flau’jae Johnson had 21 points and also made five 3s for LSU.
Morris said Johnson is hungry and a raw talent.
“I think you all can see that,” Morris said. “She is not your typical freshman.”
The second-seeded Tigers, who play in their first SEC semifinal since 2015, will take on third-seeded Tennessee on Saturday night for a trip to Sunday’s championship game. The Lady Vols ended the six-game tournament win streak of defending champ Kentucky, 80-71
SEC scoring and rebounding leader Angel Reese missed a double-double for just the second time this season with 15 points and six rebounds. She also was called for technical as she sparred with Georgia’s Diamond Battles. Battles was also called for a technical in the third quarter.
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LSU coach Kim Mulkey pulled Reese after her fourth foul with 9:02 left in the game. She did not return.
Mulkey said Reese didn’t have her usual flow during the game.
“I just think she couldn’t get in a groove,” the coach said. “But that happens.”
Georgia (21-11) will wait out the next nine days to see its NCAA Tournament destination.
The contest also featured a weather delay of about 45 minutes due to a bad storm and a leaky roof at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena that sent the teams to their locker rooms for a stretch of the second quarter.
LSU, which averages five 3s a game this season, kept up its barrage from long distance throughout and ended with 11 to tie its season high.
The second quarter included a bizarre delay as water leaked onto the floor due to a strong storms passing over the area.
Mulkey and Georgia coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson were called together by officials with 4:23 left before halftime and were soon looking up at the ceiling as the water dripped. The delay lasted about 45 minutes.
Mulkey thought it was a few drops they might quickly wipe up and get back to playing. “It was a pretty good flow of water coming,” she said.
The game resumed without additional leaks or stoppages.
Alisha Lewis led Georgia with 14 points. Battles, the Bulldogs leading scorer, finished with just seven points on 2-of-12 shooting.
Georgia: The Bulldogs had come in winning six of their last seven and most likely have done enough in Kim Abrahamson-Henderson’s debut season to make the NCAA Tournament. It would be Georgia’s third straight trip to the field of 68.
LSU: The Tigers had a close call with Georgia in the regular season — they beat the Bulldogs 82-77 in overtime — but didn’t let that past meeting impact them here. Morris and Johnson took care of the outside shooting, while Reese and LaDazhia Williams handled things inside by combining for 25 points and 13 rebounds.
Georgia first-year coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said she’s not used to losing at the conference tournament and people thinking her team is safely in the NCAAs. That’s the situation she’s in with the Bulldogs. In previous stops at Missouri State, Albany and UCF, Abrahamson-Henderson said her teams had to win conference tournaments to move on in most cases. “So now being in the SEC it’s a whole different feeling and waiting time, so I’m kind of adjusting too,” she said.
Georgia will await its NCAA Tournament destination.
LSU will play either Tennessee or defending champion Kentucky in Saturday’s semifinals.
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