LSU To Meet Utah Friday In Sweet Sixteen
GREENVILLE, S.C. – LSU will play Utah Friday at 4 p.m. CT on Friday in the Sweet Sixteen in Bon Secours Arena as the Tigers look to advance to their first Elite Eight since 2008.
The game will air on ESPN with Courtney Lyle and Carolyn Peck. The game will also be broadcast by Patrick Wright and Shaeeta Williams on the LSU Sports Radio Network, 100.7 FM in Baton Rouge.
“I wanted this year for our team to show progress, and we have,” said Coach Kim Mulkey who, in her second year at LSU, has led the Tigers to the Sweet Sixteen. “We’ve shown progress. I don’t think there’s any area that we went backwards. That’s what you want to keep doing.”
LSU handled its business and took down Hawaii and Michigan in the first two rounds and advance to its first Sweet Sixteen in nine years. Angel Reese put up huge numbers, leading the Tigers in the two victories. She averaged 29.5 points, 19.5 rebounds, 4.5 blocks, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals in the first two rounds. Reese tied the LSU NCAA Tournament record with 34 points against Hawaii and set the LSU NCAA Tournament record with 24 rebounds against Michigan.
Reese enters the weekend with 30 double-doubles this season, one shy of the SEC record that is held by Mississippi State’s Teaira McCowan who had 31 during the 2018-19 season. Reese is also climbing towards to LSU single-season rebounding record, 37 away from setting the record. She also enters the game ranked No. 6 on LSU’s single-season scoring list.
“We’re not just an Angel Reese one-man show,” Coach Mulkey said of her team. “If you watch us play, everybody has a role to play. We’re a mixture of transfers, one returning starter, freshmen, go eight deep, and everybody just does what they do.”
LaDazhia Williams stepped up in the second-round with a 10 point, 10 rebound double-double to compliment Reese in the post. Kateri Poole started in place of Jasmine Carson for her defense and helped lock down Michigan and hold the Wolverines to a season-low scoring total. Carson came off the bench and hit three big threes in the second quarter.
Alexis Morris, the only returning contributor on a team with nine new pieces, has led LSU’s offense efficiently all season, scoring the ball for the Tigers and distributing it. The freshman Flau’jae Johnson has also played a key role, starting every game for the Tigers as their third leading scorer.
Utah features both the PAC 12 Coach of the Year in Lynne Roberts and the PAC 12 Player of the Year in Alissa Pili as the Utes claimed the PAC 12 regular season title. Pili averages 21.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
Pili and Reese are No. 2 and 3, respectively, for points scored among all players through two rounds of the NCAA Tournament this year.
Utah’s 103 points against Gardner-Webb in the opening round were the most points scored in an NCAA Tournament game by the Utes. Pili had 33 in the win. In the second-round, Utah took Princeton down behind Pili’s 28 points.
Both the Tigers and the Utes average just over 83 points per game, but LSU has held opponents to nine less points per game defensively. Utah can be dangerous when it gets hot from behind the arc as it shoots 23.5 threes per game, making 8.3 per game.