No. 14 LSU Set To Host Mississippi College In First Exhibition
BATON ROUGE – Coach Kim Mulkey and the No. 14 LSU Tigers will host Mississippi College Thursday at 7 p.m. CT in the PMAC in their first of two exhibition games to tipoff the 2022-23 women’s basketball season.
“When you have nine new players, they have to learn to trust each other,” Coach Mulkey said. “They have to mesh. Our theme is ‘Piece It Together’ and we’ve got to piece it together. When it will happen and they’re all on the same page, I don’t know. That’s the beauty of coaching.
“I know that they are working extremely hard and it’s fun to go to practice when you’ve got a group so talented that just gives you everything they have.”
Thursday’s matchup is free for fans to attend and can be streamed on the SEC Network +. Patrick Wright and Shaeeta Williams will call the exhibition on the LSU Sports Radio Network, 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge.
Entering Coach Mulkey’s second year in Baton Rouge, LSU will take the floor for the first time against another opponent with nine newcomers and five returners as the Tigers look to piece it together. Guard Alexis Morris is the only returning starter from last year’s squad after averaging 15.0 points last season. She was on Wednesday’s Coaches Preseason All-SEC First Team, as was newcomer forward Angel Reese.
“I think some of them are separating themselves,” Coach Mulkey said. “You want to be in the rotation of eight or nine. What I don’t know is combinations together against certain man-to-man or zone defenses. I know what I see in practice against the Dream Team, but (these exhibitions) give you a different perspective of when you’re really in a game-type situation.”
Guard Ryann Payne (5.6 ppg last year) is the only returner other than Morris to average more than five points last year. Forward Amani Bartlett and guard Timia Ware are both entering their sophomore seasons and will look to take a step up after one year in Coach Mulkey’s program. Walk-on senior Emily Ward is the fifth returner.
Along with Reese, LSU added numerous talented pieces in the transfer portal and freshmen. LaDazhia Williams is a grad transfer from Missouri who has four years of experience in the SEC, having also played for two years at South Carolina. Jasmine Carson is a sharp-shooting senior guard who transferred from LSU and Kateri Poole is a physical sophomore guard who came from Ohio State and has experience playing in the PMAC from last season’s NCAA Tournament. Last-Tear Poa is a dynamic guard who was the top JUCO transfer during the offseason.
The freshmen class is led by dynamic guard Flau’jae Johnson, a McDonald’s All-American who is also a budding rap star. Sa’Myah Smith is a lean post player who has a winning mentality having won back-to-back 6A Texas State Championships to close out her high school career at DeSoto. Alisa Williams is a lefty forward with a high basketball IQ and one of the top players out of the Dallas area. Izzy Besselman is a Baton Rouge native walk-on.