LSU wins national championship 102-85 in Kim Mulkey’s second season in Baton Rouge

LSU wins national championship 102-85 in Kim Mulkey's second season in Baton Rouge
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Making the Final Four in the second year under Kim Mulkey was a huge deal for the LSU women’s basketball program. Making it to the national championship was an even bigger deal. But winning a national championship, that goes down in history.

LSU made history Sunday afternoon with a 102-85 win over Iowa in the women’s college basketball National Championship game. 

LSU finishes the 2022-23 season with a 34-2 record. With this national title, the team becomes LSU’s first basketball team, both men and women, to win a national championship. In addition, Kim Mulkey becomes the first college basketball coach to win national titles at multiple schools.

The Tigers arrived at the American Airlines Center in Dallas Sunday afternoon set to play the season’s biggest game with the most on the line. The players, the coaches and the stakes hyped the game up more than it already was. But the player who came up biggest for the Tigers hadn’t seen the spotlight since LSU’s Round of 32 matchup versus Michigan.

Jasmine Carson was held scoreless through the Sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final Four matchups, but it only took one make in the national championship to get her rolling. In her last game for LSU, Carson scored 22 points, shooting 5 of 6 from three, seven for eight from the field, and 3 of 4 from the foul line.

“It was a surreal moment, every player dreams of being on the big stage like this and having the game of your life,” Carson said. “I was just living in the moment.”

However, she was contained entering the second half, and Iowa started to crawl back. Luckily, all of LSU’s offense seemed to click.

Angel Reese and LaDazhia Williams held the fort down in the paint once again. Williams finished with 20 points on the game, and Reese finished with her 34th double-double performance of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds. 

LSU women’s basketball scored its first national championship in program history after defeating Iowa 102-85

After Carson cooled down after halftime, Flau’jae Johnson and Alexis Morris picked up the slack for the guards. Morris scored 21 points and nine assists.

“She just gets into a mode where she’s just unstoppable at some point,” Reese said of Morris. “She played a great defensive game, it wasn’t all her offense tonight. It was her defense.”

Johnson added 10 points with seven rebounds and four assists.

Just as LSU had all-around impressive offensive day, Iowa did as well, and it was led by the player who has led them all season in Caitlin Clark.

Clark was close to unstoppable from three, a performance that backed up why she is this season’s AP women’s basketball National Player of the Year. She finished with 30 points including eight made three-pointers. She also added eight assists.

But the Hawkeyes saw other players make shots from the perimeter. Kate Martin scored 13 points with three made threes and six assists, and Gabbie Marshall scored 12 points with two made threes.

The guards showed out for Iowa, but their post players didn’t disappoint. Monika Czinano finished with 13 points and six rebounds. McKenna Warnock added nine points for the Hawkeyes.

To everyone on the team, there is no sweeter feeling than winning a national title. It was a team of returners, transfers and freshmen. They’ve talked about “piecing it together” all season long, and it’s safe to say a national championship pieced everything together.

But to the seniors, it means everything. 

Alexis Morris started her college career with Mulkey at Baylor, but after Mulkey had to release her from the team due to an off the court issue. Fast forward to Sunday, Morris is reunited with Mulkey at LSU, this time cutting nets and holding up a trophy.

“This is a kid who owned her mistake, this is a kid who never blamed a coach,” Mulkey said. “Look where she is sitting today. What a remarkable story.”

But in her second season at LSU, a national championship was the last thing on Mulkey’s mind; that was a plan she had further down the road. But for the three national titles she won at Baylor, none of them can compare to winning one for her home state of Louisiana.

“With about a minute and 30 to go, I couldn’t hold it, I got very emotional” Mulkey said. “I don’t know if it’s the mere fact that we’re doing this in the second year that I’m home, I don’t know if it was the fact that I am home, I don’t know if it was looking across there at my daughter and my grandchildren. I don’t know what it was, but I lost it.”

Mulkey has always said the program has not arrived yet because they’ve “only won basketball games.” But now she’s helped not only the program, but the school win its first basketball national championship. 

It was quicker than expected, but the mission is accomplished. Mulkey has brought LSU women’s basketball back to life. 

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About Marc Lemoine 1853 Articles
Marc is an Economist and a well experienced weightlifter who has won many championships. He intends to build a bright career in the media industry as well. He is a sports freak who loves to cover the latest news on sports, finance and economy.

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