We're undersized, and that obviously hurt us at times, but we had multiple possessions where we shot three or more times. The ladies crash the boards hard, and they play a very tough man defense - every player gets a wide base and displays good lateral movement, and they constantly have a hand in the face of any offensive player with possession away from the basket.
LSU played much better in the second half, and they did a good job of forcing their tempo. We held them to 20 points in the first half, and they scored 19 in the first nine minutes or so of the second half.
We went through an extensive slump for most of the second half. Our shooters went ice cold from the perimeter, and LSU finally began to use their height advantage to alter our shots on the interior.
However, LSU also made it to the bonus in about 6 to 8 minutes of play, while we struggled to get a single 50-50 (or even 60-40) call our way. I don't know if the LSU booster club took over officiating at halftime or what, but our season high in turnovers was partially the result of an extremely one-sided second 20 minutes from the crew. Not only did the style of play obviously tilt to LSU as a result, but our best players soon found themselves in foul trouble and on the bench.
The officials twice fell for Laimbeer-esque flops from LSU Lady Tigers. The second flop negated a Carolina basket and led to the 5th foul on our leading scorer. It also finally set Coach Staley off. She picked up the quickest double T I've seen in some time, and LSU shot six FT's to ice the game. The hostile game environment did not intimidate our girls, but it obviously overwhelmed the officials.
I was the only South Carolina fan in my group, but everyone in our party was impressed with the Lady Gamecocks. Several of the young players with us ended up studying the technique of the Carolina players while cheering for the LSU team.
This team is very impressive in person. Defense doesn't slump, and the squad has a great chance of winning multiple games in the NCAA tournament. More importantly, it is a group built around disciplined team play rather than a single player or recruiting class. The program is obviously on the verge of becoming a consistent national force, and should be for as long as we can keep Coach Staley in Columbia.