By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU’s Angel Reese sprinted back on defense to prevent a breakaway layup, her team leading by 14 points in the fourth quarter. Auburn passed out to the perimeter, had a pull-up jumper blocked and Reese got the rebound.
It’s another example of why Reese’s relentless, end-to-end dominance has her on the cusp of setting LSU records.
“I love defense. I try not to take any plays off,” Reese said. “No matter what the score is, I’m going to hustle back.”
She scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to maintain her streak of double-doubles in every game this season, and No. 5 LSU improved its program-record best start to 18-0 with an 84-54 victory over Auburn on Sunday.
Watching from the stands was Seimone Augustus, one of LSU’s most decorated players ever, was watching from the stands. Earlier in the day, Augustus became the first female student-athlete at LSU to have a statue of her unveiled on campus.
“Being able to come to LSU and play at LSU and follow her legacy is really important,” said Reese, a sophomore transfer from Maryland who as a child got a cherished photo with Augustus.
The 6-foot-3 player now has 11 games with at least 15 rebounds this season and is one double-double short of tying Sylvia Fowles’ LSU record of 19 straight, set during the 2006-07 season.
“I’m just doing whatever it takes to win,” she said. “I’m happy just to be mentioned with Sylvia Fowles, Seimone Augustus. It’s really a blessing.”
Jasmine Carson scored 18 points, and Alexis Morris had 12 points and 10 assists for LSU, which led the entire way while improving to 6-0 in Southeastern Conference play and winning each league game by 19 or more points. LSU freshman Flau’jae Johnson added 10 points to give her at least that many in seven of nine games.
Still, coach Kim Mulkey opened her postgame remarks by harping on rebounding deficiencies (LSU outrebounded Auburn 45-38) and later downplayed what is LSU’s winning streak.
“We haven’t done anything really,” said Mulkey, who won three national championships at Baylor. “We’ve won 18 games and that’s impressive, I get it. We have beaten, I guess you would say, teams we were supposed to beat and we have beaten them handily.
“But this is only my second year here, guys. We’ve got a long way to go.”
Precious Johnson scored 13 points and Kharyssa Richardson added 10 for Auburn (10-7, 0-5), which lost its fifth straight since opening SEC play.
“We definitely have some rebuilding. We’re a really young team,” Auburn coach Johnnie Harris said. “I just felt our kids battled and the things we made mistakes on are fixable.”
Auburn has been struggling without leading scorer Honesty Scott-Grayson, who has missed four of five games since being injured in a car accident during the holidays. That made it even more difficult to keep up with LSU and the dynamic Reese, whose short turnaround off the glass while being fouled for a 3-point play made it 76-50.
“She’s arguably the best player in the league and one of the best players in the country,” Auburn coach Johnnie Harris said. “We knew she was going to bring it. We just had to try to guard her by committee.”
LSU opened scoring with the first of Carson’s four 3-pointers less than 30 seconds and took its first double-digit lead when Carson’s layup made it 23-12 late in the opening period. LSU widened its lead to 19 by the end of the second quarter.
Auburn: Has looked overwhelmed in four of its five SEC games. It’s lone single-digit loss came by six against Missouri. Auburn lost by 32 to Mississippi, by 52 to No. 1 South Carolina and by 31 to Alabama before its lopsided loss at LSU. … Auburn shot 37% (23 of 63), was 2 of 13 from 3-point range and 6 of 16 on free throws.
LSU: Reese has scored 19 or more points in 15 straight, eclipsing the 20-point threshold 14 times in than span. … Reese was 9 of 12 on free throws. … LSU shot 47.8% (32 of 67), including 6 of 16 from deep and hit 14 of 21 free throws.
Auburn: At Mississippi State on Thursday.
LSU: Hosts Arkansas on Thursday.
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
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