It’s that time of year. March Madness is here, and the LSU Women’s Basketball team looks to make a run in this year’s tournament.
The No.3 seed Tigers open the tournament on Friday against No. 14 Hawaii. The game will tip off at 4:30 p.m. C.T. and will be televised live on ESPN2.
It’s ironic that LSU paired with Hawaii to start the tournament. Coach Kim Mulkey just happened to be watching Hawaii win the Big West Conference Championship against UC Santa Barbara. Little did she know her Tigers would be playing the Rainbow Wahine next.
“Ironically I watched Hawaii come back and beat Santa Barbara,” Mulkey said.
In addition, Hawaii made the tournament last year as a No. 15 seed. It exited the tournament in the first round with a 40-point loss to Baylor, where Mulkey coached from 2000-2021, and won three national championships.
But this year, the Rainbow Wahine are clearly better as a No. 14 seed, and they’re led by a duo of guards in Lily Wahinekapu and Daejah Phillips.
Wahinekapu leads the team in scoring with 12.6 points per game, and Phillips is right behind her with 11 points per game.
They’ve led Hawaii in an offense that shoots a lot of three-pointers. While their three-point shooting percentage is only 29.8%, Mulkey was able to see their frequent perimeter shooting in the short amount of time she watched the Rainbow Wahine in the Big West Conference Championship.
“Hawaii shoots a lot of three’s from what I saw,” Mulkey said. “But yet they also have inside play. Not big, but in their league, they weren’t afraid to split screens and post up.”
Their post-play is led by graduate forward, Kallin Spiller, who averages 8.6 points per game, and 6.9 rebounds per game. In most cases, she will be Hawaii’s tallest player on the floor, so LSU will have to rely on their height to produce most of their points.
But this late in the season, LSU will need to rely on everything. Angel Reese has been consistent all year long, but the three-point shooting for the Tigers hasn’t been.
For example, against Mississippi State, the Tigers shot zero for 14 from behind the three-point line. Most recently against Tennessee, LSU only made four threes of an attempted 13.
Having players like Jasmine Carson and Alexis Morris heat up early from three will only take pressure off of Angel Reese and LaDazhia Williams down low, and allow the Tigers to earn a well-rounded win.
If the Tigers were to win Friday, they would also play their second-round matchup in Baton Rouge. They would play the winner of No. 6 seed Michigan and No. 11 UNLV.