Preview: LSU women’s basketball gets set to face off with Virginia Tech in the Final Four

Preview: LSU women's basketball gets set to face off with Virginia Tech in the Final Four
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The road ends here.

With a 54-42 win over Miami in the Elite Eight, the LSU women’s basketball team punched their ticket to the Final Four in Dallas. 

They will face the No. 1 seeded Virginia Tech Hokies on Friday at 6 p.m., and the game will be broadcasted live on ESPN, ESPNU and ESPN+. The Final Four will take place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, home of the Dallas Mavericks. 

The winner of the LSU-Virginia Tech matchup will face the winner of the other Final Four matchup between the No. 1 seeded South Carolina Gamecocks and the No. 2 seeded Iowa Hawkeyes. That matchup will tip off shortly after the conclusion of LSU’s game.

LSU has been tested all season. But they’ve played some of their best basketball in the weeks it matters most to get to Dallas. However, their Elite Eight matchup was not the team’s best performance. They shot about 30% from the field and only 8% from three. 

However, Miami also didn’t shoot the ball well; they shot 31% from the field and didn’t make a three-point shot. The matchup was most definitely not an offensive field day, but the defenses shined. LSU’s defense just shined brighter, and that is how they now find themselves in the Final Four.

A down performance got LSU past Miami, who also underperformed. However, this won’t fly against Virginia Tech.

Similar to South Carolina, Virginia Tech has a lot of depth. But they are led by center, Elizabeth Kitley, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 18.2 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per game.

Including Kitley, the Hokies have four players averaging double-figure points per game. Georgia Amoore is right behind Kelly with 16.3 points per game. Taylor Soule averages 11.1 points per game and Kayana Traylor adds 10.8 points per game. 

In the Hokies’ Elite Eight matchup against Ohio State, Kitley led the team in both scoring and rebounding with a double-double performance. She scored 25 points and 12 rebounds.

Virginia Tech shot 48% from the field, and made eight three-pointers, shooting 30% from the perimeter. To put this in perspective, LSU has made just four three-point shots in their last two games.

The game wasn’t pretty, but for LSU, the result was.

However, Virginia Tech being good at shooting three-pointers is also its weakness; the Hokies live and die by the three-point shot. From the eight three-pointers they made against Ohio State, they attempted 26.

To really see this, a look at a game the Hokies lost reveals their three-point dependency. The last time they lost came at the end of January to Duke, who was ranked No. 16 at the time, and also was a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. 

In this matchup, Duke only allowed them to attempt 16 threes, of which they made seven. This being said, limiting their shot opportunities is the main way to limit the Hokies’ offense.

Virginia Tech’s offense is more consistent than LSU’s, but LSU evens the score with their defense. Against Ohio State, Virginia Tech grabbed 32 rebounds, only five of which were offensive rebounds. 

LSU grabbed 49 rebounds against Miami, 16 of which were offensive rebounds. The Tigers have proven that they have the defense to stop Virginia Tech from catching fire early.

Angel Reese leads that effort for LSU, averaging 15.7 rebounds per game, good enough for second in the country. Her matchup with Kitley will be one of the major keys to the game.

Though Kitley averages less rebounds than Reese, she has a height advantage at six feet six inches. LSU has had its struggles on the glass against bigger teams, most notably South Carolina.

It will take more than just Reese, though on the glass. LSU has seen steady contributions throughout the tournament and season from LaDazhia Williams who is second on the team in rebounding, averaging six per game. She was instrumental in LSU’s win over Utah, finishing the game with 24 points and six rebounds.

If there would be any game the Tigers need to bring their best overall game, it would be Friday. The team has not been under lights this bright and has had this much on the line all season.

Having the opportunity to play in the Final Four and potentially make it to the national championship in Kim Mulkey’s second year in the program was something nobody at LSU could have anticipated. Mulkey has said that the team has “overachieved” this year.

Because they’ve made it further than expected, in a way, they have nothing to lose. They’ve exceeded expectations, and a “nothing to lose” mentality to go a long way on stages like the Final Four.

But the team has made it this far, why not win the whole thing? The task at hand in doing that: beat Virginia Tech.

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About Marc Lemoine 1841 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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