No. 9 LSU and No. 1 South Carolina to Meet Thursday in PMAC
BATON ROUGE – No. 9 LSU is set to host No. 1 South Carolina on Thursday at 7 p.m. CT inside the PMAC as two of the nation’s highest scoring teams go head-to-head with each other on ESPN with College Gameday in attendance.
“I look at it as South Carolina has not been beaten,” LSU Head Coach Kim Mulkey said. “South Carolina is as good, in my opinion, as they were last year with new players. No one seems to have found the formula to beat them. We’re going to do what a lot of teams try to do and that is upset them. We’re the underdog. I love underdog roles and I know it will be one heck of an atmosphere.”
Doors to the PMAC will open at 5:30 p.m. CT to give fans time to be in their seat when ESPN’s College Gameday begins at the top of the hour. It will be an-hour long show that leads into the game featuring Elle Duncan, Holly Rowe, Carolyn Peck, Rebecca Lobo and Andrea Carter. Rowe will also serve as the game reporter on ESPN with Lobo and Ryan Ruocco.
Patrick Wright and Shaeeta Williams will call the game on the LSU Sports Radio Network, 107.3 and 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge. The broadcast will be streamed free at LSUsports.net/live and in the LSU Sports Mobile apps.
“I view this game as a tremendous challenge, a tremendous opportunity, it is great for LSU,” coach Mulkey said. “I’ve never had a College Gameday that I’ve been a part of. I think it’s the coolest thing ever.”
Beginning at 3:30 p.m., there will be a Party on the Plaza in between the ramps south of the PMAC. It will feature food trucks, a live DJ, and fan activities. There will be a marketing table with giveaways and games for fans to participate in. College Gameday will also have tables set up near the student entrance with giveaways for students and a space for students to create signs for the game. The video screen on the PMAC pad will show College Gameday as well as the game.
Both LSU and South Carolina feature talented teams that rank near the top of the nation in numerous stat categories. Both teams have five starters who average in double figures as LSU’s offense leads the nation with 91.7 points per game and South Carolina ranks No. 4 with 90.8 points per game. The Tigers and the Gamecocks played exceptional in their most recent games on Sunday. LSU took down Arkansas, 99-68, while South Carolina won at Texas A&M, 99-64.
When the two most recent NCAA Champions meet on Sunday, their teams will be led by Hall of Fame coaches in Mulkey and Dawn Staley. It will be the sixth time they will go up against each other. Coach Mulkey, while at Baylor won the first two matchups that took place in the 2018-19 season, one time in Columbia by 25 points and another during the NCAA Tournament again by 25, en route to a 40-0 season and national championship. Coach Staley has won the past four meetings – most recently last season when the two teams met in Columbia on Super Bowl Sunday as the nation’s final two unbeaten teams.
South Carolina has been one of the most tested teams in the nation, defeating every challenger up to this point with four wins against ranked opponents despite having no returning starters from last year’s Final Four team. Different from last year’s South Carolina team, this squad is more efficient from beyond the arc with transfer Te-Hina Paopao leading the SEC at 55.8-percent from three which leads the league. Raven Johnson runs the offense well with a 3.36 assist/turnover ratio to lead the conference. Defensively, South Carolina leads the SEC in points allowed and has Kamilla Cordoso and Ashlyn Watkins who rank 1 and 2 in blocked shots in the SEC.
“Obviously they don’t have the players that they had last year, they lost a lot,” Mulkey said, “but South Carolina just reloads.”
LSU has three players in Angel Reese, Aneesah Morrow and Mikaylah Williams who all rank inside the top-10 in the SEC in scoring. Those three plus Flau’jae Johnson also rank in the top-10 in field goal percentage. Morrow and Reese also rank in the top-10 in rebounds and both of them have collected over 10 double-doubles this season. Hailey Van Lith, coming off her best game at LSU, ranks No. 4 in the SEC with 4.6 assists per game.
The Tigers will look to snap a 14-game skid against the Gamecocks. As a team, LSU offense has been big, leading the nation with 91.7 points per game. LSU scoring margin of +30.2 is second in the nation only to South Carolina. The Tigers also get to the foul line and make more free throws than any other team in the country. LSU has nation’s second-ranked rebound margin at +16.0.