TAMPA, Fla. — Maria Jespersen scored 20 points, Kitija Laksa added 16 and No. 23 South Florida held off LSU 61-55 in the season opener on Friday night.
Raigyne (Moncrief) Louis, who scored LSU’s last seven points, scored five straight points, the last three from the foul line, to pull the Tigers within 55-53 with 1:13 to play. But LSU missed its last three shots in the final minute while the Bulls were making 4 of 6 free throws and Jespersen drove through traffic for a layup.
South Florida made 14 of 16 free throws in the second half, including all 10 in the third quarter, to overcome 27 percent shooting after the break, which included going 1 of 11 behind the 3-point line.
With Laura Ferreira grabbing 10 rebounds and Laska, who surpassed 1,000 career points, getting nine, the Bulls had a 47-39 advantage on the boards.
Chloe Jackson had 21 points for the Tigers and Louis, who married former LSU football player Lamar Louis over the summer, had 11.