HAMMOND, La. (AP) — Sophomore Flau’jae Johnson scored 17 points and 11 rebounds and junior Annesah Morrow added 10 points and 11 rebounds as No. 7 LSU raced past SE Louisiana 73-50 on Friday night in their first game of the season without All-America forward Angel Reese.
Kennedy Paul and Hailey Giaratano led SE Louisiana with 12 points each.
Reese, who had an NCAA record 34 double-doubles and led LSU to its first national championship, was not with the Tigers for their 47-mile road trip. LSU coach Kim Mulkey was expected to address it after the game.
Even without Reese, LSU (4-1) had enough firepower to handle the Lady Lions (2-2) in Mulkey’s homecoming game in SE Louisiana’s sold-out 7,500-seat arena.
The 61-year-old Mulkey, who was raised 10 minutes from the SE Louisiana arena and led Hammond High to four straight titles as an all-state point guard from 1977-80, anticipated Friday’s rematch of LSU’s 63-55 win last season in Baton Rouge over the Lady Lions would be a challenge.
LSU never trailed SE Louisiana, even without Reese, a junior who had started 40 straight for the Tigers.
The bigger, stronger and faster Tigers bullied the Lady Lions from the opening tip. Aggressive drives resulted in a sizeable free throw discrepancy — LSU made 17 of 20 compared to SE Louisiana’s 5 of 9.
LSU: Friday was the third time Mulkey walked out of SE Louisiana’s University Center a winner. As a Louisiana Tech senior point guard, she led the Lady Techsters to an 88-45 victory in January 1984. Then, Mulkey was in her third season as Baylor’s head coach in 2002-2003 when her Lady Bears beat the Lady Lions 70-55 in a November 2002 matchup.
SE Louisiana: The Lady Lions are without senior guard Alexis Horne until Southland Conference play starts in January. Horne, a Baton Rouge native who scored a career-high 28 points in last year’s loss at LSU, is still recovering from a torn ACL she sustained in the SLC tournament in March.
LSU: The Tigers host Texas Southern on Monday.
SE Louisiana: The Lady Lions host Jackson State on Monday.
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AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball
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