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Reese creates double trouble for Hawaii, LSU forward gets 34 points, 15 rebounds

Reese creates double trouble for Hawaii, LSU forward gets 34 points, 15 rebounds

Published Saturday, March 18, 2023 at 10:00 am

From The Associated Press

BATON ROUGE – A dynamic and productive All-America power forward like Angel Reese can cover up some mistakes.

Take freezing perimeter shooting, for example.

LSU missed 13 of 14 3-pointers, but Reese had 34 points and 15 rebounds, and the third-ranked Tigers defeated No. 14 Hawaii 73-50 in the first round of the women’s NCAA tournament Friday night.

“I’ve always been blessed to have good aftermath,” said LSU head coach Kim Mulkey, who won a national title as Baylor’s coach in 2012 with Brittney Griner at center. “I’ve never had to coach a team that jacks 3s and shoots 30+ a game. How many of these teams ever win national championships? Man or woman? They may be pros… but at the pro level it’s a different game.”

Flau’Jae Johnson scored 10 points for LSU (29-2), which had a double-digit lead in the first quarter and maintained a comfortable lead most of the time.

The Tigers reached a second-round matchup on Sunday with Michigan (23-9), a 71-59 winner over Friday’s 11-seeded UNLV.

Reese was a force in the paint when she registered her 29th double-double and also defended effectively at the perimeter. She was 13th of 20 shooters, hit 8 of 12 free throws, and also had three blocks and three steals.

“Reese will get what she gets,” said Hawaii head coach Laura Beeman. “She’s going to be No. 1, No. 2 in the WNBA (draft); We don’t have a professional in our team at the moment.”

Reese seemed unfazed as several defenders rushed at her. Help defenders were often late with their explosive cuts and drives anyway. She was also cunning and creative enough to score when the lane filled up, exemplified by her spinning drive causing a bullet shot out of the glass when she was fouled.

“I’ve seen doubles teams all year. I’ve seen Post players get aggressive with me downstairs,” Reese said. “A lot of teams get physical with me and I just can’t let that get to me mentally.”

LSU beat Hawaii 44-16 in the paint and beat Rainbow Wahine 40-33.

Meanwhile, LSU’s defense forced Hawaii to play slower than planned on offense.

“We couldn’t drive and drive and kick downhill, and they closed so fast that if they had shots, they would fall right in our faces when we thought,” Beeman said. “It wasn’t our game plan to turn down the clock. It was our game plan to run downstairs and get great shots. They make it very, very difficult.”

Kallin Spiller and Daejah Phillips each had 13 points for Hawaii (18-15), which was 10 points below the season average. Lily Wahinekapu scored 11 for the Rainbow Wahine.

“It was difficult guarding Angel Reese,” said Spiller, a center. “As a Post (player) who focuses on rebounds, I know how hard it is to collect those double doubles at her level.

“It’s clear they’re going to make a run,” Spiller added. “I cheer them on – for those who blew us away. I hope they go far.”

Mulkey won her 20th straight NCAA game in the first round, improving to 20-1.

This wasn’t the first time LSU had a bad night and still won comfortably. The Tigers won 14-0 from 3 in a 74-59 win over Mississippi State on Feb. 26.

“We will not live and die by the three balls. That doesn’t mean we don’t have kids who can shoot with it,” Mulkey said, noting that her team hadn’t played in almost two weeks since losing to Tennessee in the SEC tournament. “We were a bit rusty and missed a few open looks. … I would say: ‘Let’s open. Leave us open if you think we won’t make it.’ We’re not afraid to shoot it.”