BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)Angel Reese had a school-record 28 rebounds and 26 points as No. 7 LSU matched its best start to a season with its 15th win, beating Texas A&M 74-34 on Thursday night.
The unbeaten Tigers (15-0, 3-0 SEC) joined the 2002-03 team with a 15-win start. LSU, which leads Division I in scoring average and victory margin, also won its 12th game of the season by 25 points or more.
Reese, who missed her first four shots and went on to shoot 8 for 15 from the field, eclipsed the rebounding mark of 27 set twice by Maree Jackson in 1977 and 1978.
”I have a good eye for the ball, I kind of get that from Mom who was a great rebounder,” said Reese, a sophomore transfer from Maryland whose mother finished second nationally in Division 1 rebounding for Maryland-Baltimore County in 1991-92. ”I feel like once the ball goes up, I know exactly where it’s going to drop.”
Reese’s huge night, which concluded with her grabbing an A&M 3-point miss with 2:34 left for the school record, is the first 25-plus points/25-plus rebounds performance by an SEC player in the 20 seasons, according to ESPN stats and info.
Georgia first-year coach Joni Taylor, whose roster was limited to seven players because of injuries, admired her team’s effort and Reese’s rebounding.
”She’s just relentless in her pursuit to rebound,” Taylor said. ”She rebounds out of her own area, and she rebounds her own shots a lot. … She goes hard every time she’s on the floor.”
Reese’s first half – she opened the game by missing a layup and ended the first half with a steal leading to her buzzer-beating 3-pointer – was typical of LSU’s uneven performance.
The Tigers won by 40, but coach Kim Mulkey clearly wasn’t pleased with her squad scoring a season-low eight points in the first quarter and then allowing A&M to score eight points in the final 2:05.
”The second and third quarter were fine,” Mulkey said. ”But how we start the game and how we finish the game is not good.
”We are more talented than the last two opponents (LSU beat Vandy by 25 on Sunday), so you can slop around and win those games. But that doesn’t win you championships, that doesn’t allow you to b become an elite program.”
The Tigers, who often have five or six players score in double figures, just had three vs. A&M. Besides Reese, guard Flau’jae Johnson had 18 points and forward Last Tear Poa had 10.
Texas A&M (5-8, 0-3 SEC), which lost its fourth straight, was led by Sydney Bowles’ 11 points. Forward Aaliyah Petty and guard Emily Kindred each added seven points.
The Tigers shot just 22 percent (4 of 18) from the field in the opening period. Thet got their offense in gear with 26 points each in the second and third quarters and kept a defensive grip on the Aggies.
A&M didn’t get above the 20% field goal plateau until 3 1/2 minutes remained in the third quarter. The Aggies finished shooting 21.2% (14 of 66) from the field, including 2 of 21 (9.5%) from 3-point range.
LSU: Reese, a Maryland transfer who was named on the midseason top 25 watchlist for the John R. Wooden Award on Wednesday night, recorded her 15th consecutive double-double of the season. She accomplished that vs. the Aggies by halftime with 13 points and 17 rebounds in the first 20 minutes. She ended the first half with a steal leading to her running 23-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer. Her 17 first-half rebounds were more than any LSU player had in an entire game (besides Reese herself) since 2018-19.
Texas A&M: Because first-year Aggies head coach Joni Taylor brought with her from Georgia the nation’s seventh-best recruiting class, A&M has the second-youngest roster in the SEC. The inexperience is showing. After a 4-1 start, A&M has lost its last seven of eight games.
LSU: Visits Kentucky on Sunday.
Texas A&M: At home vs. Ole Miss on Sunday.
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