BATON ROUGE — Despite facing double teams throughout the contest, LSU all-American Angel Reese led the Tigers into the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a record-setting performance, 73-50, over No. 14-seeded Hawai’i on Friday at the Maravich Center.
Reese completed her 29th double-double of the 2022-23 season with 34 points along with 15 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals. She made 13-of-20 field goals and 8-of-12 free throws in 36 minutes.
“Just doing whatever it takes to win,” Reese said of her performance where she became the first SEC player this century with 30 points and 15 rebounds in a NCAA Tournament game. “Hawai’i is a really great team, and we couldn’t go back and forth shooting the three. They are a really good three-point shooting team, just guarding perimeter. Offensively we had the advantage inside, so just trying to get inside as much as we could.”
The 34-point effort tied LSU’s NCAA Tournament single-game record, which was set by Marie Ferdinand at Purdue in 2001.
Third-seeded LSU (29-2) will play host to No. 6 seed Michigan on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. CT at the Maravich Center for a chance to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014. The game will be televised by ESPN and broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network (100.7 FM in Baton Rouge) starting at 6 p.m.
“Survive and advance, right,” Coach Kim Mulkey said. “We’ve been here at this level. We want to win one more and get to a Sweet 16. But Michigan does, too.”
A limited number of tickets are available at www.LSUtix.net.
Hawai’i, which was held to 30.8 percent shooting, completed its season with an 18-15 record.
The Rainbow Wahine were able to contain the rest of the Tigers, holding those not named Reese to 14-of-42 shooting. Flau’jae Johnson (10 points) Alexis Morris (6) finished below their season averages, while LaDazhia Williams had nine points on 4-of-7 shooting.
Reese was dominant on both ends of the court, adding three steals and three blocked shots to the tally. She also moved into third on LSU’s single-season rebounding list (479) and into a tie for eighth on LSU single-season scoring list (735).
LSU finished 27-of-62 shooting (43.5 percent) including 1-of-14 from three-point range. The Tigers made 18-of-25 free throws, out-rebounded Hawai’i (40-33) and scored 20 points off 21 turneovers.
After briefly trailing in the opening minutes, LSU stepped up its defensive pressure which resulted in a 12-0 run and a 16-5 lead with 43 seconds remaining in the first quarter. A pair of free throws by Johnson to close the quarter gave the Tigers an 18-7 advantage, as LSU scored 10 points off eight first-quarter turnovers by the Rainbow Wahine.
Reese scored her 10th point with a layup at the 9:14 mark of the second quarter, giving LSU a 20-9 advantage. Hawai’i’s Meilani McBee made her 50th three pointer of the season to bring the visitors within seven, 29-22, with 3:06 left in the half. LSU then scored the last six points of the period and earned its largest lead in the opening 20 minutes, 35-22.
Along with 13 points off turnovers, the Tigers overcame 1-of-9 three-point shooting with 24 points in the paint prior to halftime. Hawai’i managed only 26.9 percent shooting (7 of 26), as leading scorer Lily Wahinekapu led the way with four field goals and nine points.
A pair of Hawai’i three pointers early in the third quarter kept the game tense. Meanwhile, Reese scored the Tigers’ first nine points of the half and gave LSU a 44-30 lead with 4:01 remaining. Despite both teams struggling from the field in the quarter, LSU increased its lead to 15, 48-33.
LSU starting guard and second-leading scorer Alexis Morris was 0-for-6 and scoreless for more than 31 minutes before making three-straight fourth-quarter field goals to spark the Tigers’ offense with a 10-0 run and a 58-35 advantage with 7:26 to play. Hawai’i got no closer than 18 in the closing minutes.
(Press release provided by LSU Athletics)