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LSU Women’s Basketball Silences Hawaii With Dominant Defense In March Madness Victory

BATON ROUGE — If LSU women’s basketball and Kim Mulkey have committed to anything since their loss to the Tennessee Lady Vols in the semifinals of the SEC tournament almost two weeks ago, it’s on the defensive end.

From Angel Reese to freshman guard Flau’jae Johnson and reserve Kateri Poole, the Tigers’ entire roster was active on defense Friday afternoon, limiting No. 14 Hawaii’s offense en route to a 73-50 win at the Pete Maravich Congregation Center.

LSU forward Angel Reese (10) celebrates with guard Last-Tear Poa (13) and guard Flau’jae Johnson, right, during the first half of the team’s first round college basketball game against Hawaii at the women’s NCAA tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, March 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

LSU (29-2) is advancing to face No. 6 Michigan (23-9) in the Round of 32 on Sunday.

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Kim Mulkey campaigns for defense. LSU women’s basketball epitomized it against Hawaii

Keeping the Rainbow Wahine (18-15) at 30% shooting is one thing. But how the Tigers did it – and who – raises eyebrows at the stage.

LSU forced the Wahine to have more turnovers (12) than field goals (eight) while leading 35-22 at halftime. In the opening period, newcomer Flau’jae Johnson had two steals, was down 4 points and had a block. Sophomore star forward Angel Reese played in two of the Tigers’ three blocks.

But Mulkey’s pile forced shot-clock violations and the steals broke Hawaii’s offensive rhythm of placing many shots from the perimeter, where it went 7-of-32. Hawaii had 21 turnovers for the game.

Angel Reese helped the Tigers break the zone

The Rainbow Wahine knew they were a serious disadvantage in the suit as Kallin Spiller tried to deal with what put Reese on both ends of the floor.

The 6-4 forward allowed LSU to break through Hawaii’s 2-3 zone defense with an efficient offense, which she recorded with 34 points and 14 rebounds in her 29th double-double of the season while senior guard Alexis Morris and others brought them into play again and again.

The story goes on

Reese would find opportunities to pass out to open teammates, which eventually led to good shots.

What’s next for LSU women’s basketball in March Madness?

No. 6-seeded Michigan (23-9), who defeated No. 11 UNLV 71-59 in Friday’s early game, awaits the Tigers after winning the NCAA tournament’s first first-round matchup.

LSU and the Wolverines meet Sunday at PMAC in the Round of 32 for a chance to reach the Greenville, South Carolina regional location for the Sweet Sixteen.

Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his coverage of Tigers and Cajuns on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz. Have questions about LSU/UL Athletics? Send them to Cory Diaz at [email protected].

This article originally appeared in the Lafayette Daily Advertiser: LSU Women’s Basketball Dominates Hawaii in March Madness Victory