BATON ROUGE, La. — Ciaja Harbison had 27 points, seven assists and four steals as Vanderbilt hung with No. 9 LSU early before the undefeated Tigers pulled away in the second half to beat the Commodores 88-63 on Sunday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The showdown between the Tigers (14-0, 2-0) and Vanderbilt (9-7, 0-2) featured the SEC’s top two scorers in LSU’s Angel Reese (24.2 points) and Harbison (17.8). Both delivered as advertised.
Reese, who also leads the SEC in rebounding (14.8), finished with 21 points and 17 rebounds for her 14th double-double in as many games. The sophomore forward led four players in double figures scoring for LSU. Fifth-year senior guard Alexis Morris had 15 points and 12 assists for her first career double-double. Freshman Flau’jae Johnson scored 20 points and graduate forward LaDazhia Williams had 12 points.
Harbison was the lone Commodore to score in double figures. The graduate guard finished 9 of 21 from the field and 7 of 9 from the free throw line in 38 minutes. Freshman Jada Brown scored nine points — all on first-quarter 3-pointers — and graduate guard Marnelle Garraud scored eight.
LSU outscored Vandy 48-14 in the paint and outrebounded the Dores 53-22. The Tigers shot 53 percent from the field (34 of 64) compared to 35 percent (22 of 62) by Vandy.
Brown and Harbison helped Vandy remain within striking distance in the first half. Brown knocked down two early 3-pointers to give the Dores an 8-4 lead. After LSU pulled in front 19-15, Brown’s third 3-pointer of the quarter narrowed the deficit to just a point.
The Tigers led 23-20 after the first 10 minutes and capitalized on Vanderbilt turnovers in the second quarter to gain some separation. But Harbison scored in a variety of ways to prevent LSU from taking full control. Vandy entered halftime trailing 45-34 with Harbison having scored 15 points on 6 of 11 shooting while adding four assists and two steals in the first two quarters.
LSU began to pull away in the third quarter to as Vanderbilt missed 7 of its last 8 shots to end the period, and the Tigers continued to build their lead in the fourth behind Reese and Johnson.
Vanderbilt played the final 2 minutes, 41 seconds with only six players after Bella LaChance and Ryanne Allen fouled out in the fourth quarter.
• Harbison scored in double figures for the 10th time in the 13 games she’s played this season.
• Harbison’s four steals equaled a season high. She’s had three or more steals five times this season.
• Harbison has tallied at least five assists nine times this season.
• Sacha Washington finished with seven rebounds and three blocks. The sophomore has tallied five or more rebounds eight times this season and has blocked multiple shots in three straight games.
• It was the first time that Brown has made multiple 3-point field goals since the Commodores played host to UT Martin on Dec. 4.
Vanderbilt’s lead in the all-time series narrowed to 26-25. LSU has won the last six meetings. The Dores have lost 10 straight to LSU on the road. Vandy’s last win in Baton Rouge came in the 2003-04 season.
Up Next: Vanderbilt travels to play Ole Miss on Thursday at 6 p.m. CT (SEC Network+) in Oxford, Mississippi.
Tickets: Students will continue to receive free admission to all home basketball games. In addition, single-game sales, mini-plans and group ticket options are available. To view the promotional schedule, click here.