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LSU’s Mulkey discusses “timing” when the national champions return home

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – The LSU women’s basketball team returned to campus Monday, where thousands of fans gathered to welcome them back.

“Timing is everything in our lives,” LSU coach and Louisiana native Kim Mulkey told the cheering crowd. “It was time for me to come home.”

Mulkey and her players, including star forward Angel Reese and standout guard Alexis Morris, climbed onto a metal stage at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and held up the NCAA national champion trophy, which they won Sunday with a 102-85 triumph over Iowa had captured in Dallas.

The championship was LSU’s first in women’s or men’s basketball. It was Mulkey’s fourth national championship as a coach. She won three at Baylor University before agreeing to transfer to LSU two years ago. Mulkey, 60, also won a national title as a player at Louisiana Tech.

Mulkey pointed up at hanging banners from LSU’s appearances in five straight women’s Final Fours from 2004-2008.

“Do you understand how hard it is to do that?” said Mulkey. “And I was brave enough and confident enough to say I didn’t come home for it. I came home to put up a championship banner there.”

“I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to return home,” added Mulkey. “I am blessed that these young ladies have chosen to play for us.”

After brief remarks, the players mingled with the fans in the arena and posed for photos.

Those in attendance included LSU President William F. Tate IV, who commented on the criticism Reese received for a late-game gesture against Iowa star Caitlyn Clark.

While looking at Clark, Reese mockingly waved her hand in front of her face, just like Clark used to do at the celebration at the NCAA tournament. Reese also pointed the finger where their upcoming championship would go.

The moment sparked debate on social media among those defending Reese’s right to engage in the sort of mental play and trash talk common in basketball and among those who found her behavior unsportsmanlike.

“A lot of people who comment have never played sports,” Tate claimed. “You create offense. You create people to diss you so you can get out there and be motivated to go after them.”

“And by the way, this is LSU,” he continued. “This is swag country. We do that here.”


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