With Women's Basketball Trapped in Mediocrity, It's Time For LSU To Bring Coach Mulkey Back To Louisiana
By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports
BATON ROUGE, LA: The Nikki Fargas era began in 2011-12 with exciting promise as it looked like the program would return to the high level of success that Sue Gunter built over a 22 year span, followed by four great seasons with Pokey Chapman at the helm.
Next, Van Chancellor took over a program that was right at the top of college basketball making the Final Four four straight seasons. The Lady Tigers would return to the Final Four in Chancellor's first season for a 5th straight appearance but over the next three years the program would begin to slip in recruiting top talent and fall back into mediocrity.
Then LSU hired Coach Fargas and during her first three seasons the team would post records of 23-11, 22-12, and 21-13 including back to back trips to the Sweet Sixteen. But over the last seven seasons, the program has fallen back to a level of mediocrity, only qualifying for the NCAA Tournament three times, exiting the dance in the first round each time, while not making the NCAA postseason field for the third season in a row.
Time has come for a change Mr. Woodward. There is very little to no excitement for the women's basketball program and this is the perfect time to pull the trigger and make a huge blockbuster move.
With football coming off of one of their most disappointing seasons in years, the baseball and softball teams struggling to compete with the best the SEC has to offer, and the men's basketball team losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with most feeling they just completed an underachieving season, it's time to try and bring life back to one of the school's mediocre programs.
It was also reported earlier today that five players on the team's roster, Tiara Young, Awa Trasi, Karli Seay, Sharna Ayres, and Treasure Thompson have entered the transfer portal.
Make the blockbuster move and bring Coach Kim Mulkey back home to Louisiana. Having one of the most successful basketball coaches in NCAA history brought in to revive the women's basketball program is just what the doctor ordered. She would come with a hefty price tag, but she is worth every penny of it.
Twenty One years of excellence at Baylor could come turn the Lady Tigers into serious contenders once again. Mulkey, the mother of former LSU baseball great Kramer Robertson, grew up in Tickfaw, Louisiana, and lead Hammond High School to four consecutive girl's basketball state championships. She would then become an All-American point guard at Louisiana Tech, winning two national championships. Mulkey is also in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame as a player.
Mulkey would then join the Bulldogs coaching staff as an assistant coach, then promoted to associate head coach. In 15 years on the Tech coaching staff, the Bulldogs would post a 430-68 record, advancing to seven Final Fours, while winning the 1988 NCAA Championship.
In 2000 she would accept the head coaching position at Baylor, who at the time had just finished last in the Big 12 going 7-20 overall, and had never received an invite to the NCAA tournament.
That changed in her first season there as she lead the Lady Bears to their first ever NCAA bid. Baylor has advanced to postseason play every year since Mulkey's arrival. They have won 20 games every year and only once has her team lost more then 10 games in a season. Baylor defeated Michigan State in 2005 for the national championship making Mulkey the first woman to win a Division I title both as a player and as a head coach. She has lead Baylor to the Sweet Sixteen five times, the Elite Eight ten times, Final Four four times, and has won three NCAA National Championships, (2005, 2012, & 2019)....
Baylor was 10 seconds and a horrible officials' call away from advancing to the another Final Four on Monday night's Elite Eight matchup with UConn...
Mulkey may also be the only coach who could compete with former LSU gymnastics Head Coach D-D Breaux as far as fashion goes, as she known for some of her bold wardrobe choices.
Please Mr. Scott Woodward... We are all tired of mediocrity... Go get Coach Kim Mulkey and bring her back to Louisiana. Bring her here to wear the purple & gold... Bring her here to win championships.... You won't be sorry.........
LSU Sports Information
By: Judy Willson
GREENVILLE S.C. – Despite a hard-fought battle, the LSU women’s basketball team lost to No. 1-seeded Texas A&M in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament on Friday by a final score of 77-58.
The Tigers are now 9-13 overall and will play the waiting game to find out their NCAA postseason fate on Monday, March 15 when the Selection Show is broadcast on ESPN at 6 p.m. CT. Texas A&M improves to 23-1 overall.
Senior Khayla Pointer led LSU with 26 points and four assists, while also grabbing six rebounds. Once again, Pointer moved up another spot on LSU’s all-time career scoring list. Her performance against the Aggies moved her to No. 21 on the list, passing Theresa Plaisance (1,293; 2010-14). She now has 1,306 career points.
Pointer also moved up on LSU’s all-time assists list. She passed Joyce Walker (429; 1980-84) and Jeanetta Burns (430; 1984-88) and now sits at No. 5 on the list with 431 assists.
Seniors Faustine Aifuwa and Rakell Spencer both scored 10 points to finish in double figures for the Tigers. Aifuwa also led the team in rebounds, finishing the day with eight.
Sophomore Tiara Young played well for the Tigers, finishing the game with five points and five rebounds to go along with two assists.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Nikki Fargas’ Postgame Quotes
On LSU’s performance today…
“It’s a two-possession game in the third quarter and we can’t generate enough offense. Field goal wise, you have looks. You have layups, wide open jumpers and we weren’t able to connect on them. In the third quarter, we went 2-12 and I really thought that hurt our offensive production. This game is about the responsibility that touches the floor, so if you are a starter, we need to outplay their starters. If you’re a bench player, we need to outplay their bench. What allowed us to win a lot of our games was because we did those things. Today, against a very talented Texas A&M team, who is No.1 overall in our league and probably a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and they showcased why. We have to examine how we fill our stat lines when the ball isn’t bouncing our way, and that’s where we have been struggling. In the past. We usually play Texas A&M in the fifties. To give up this many points, I thought our defense really failed us today, even though our offensive execution in the third quarter really hurt us.”
On being outscored in the paint…
“Texas A&M has N’dea Jones and Ciera Johnson, two very veteran post players that bring a lot of size. When Awa Trasi and Faustine Aifuwa got in foul trouble in the first half, we had to sit them. It’s hard to muster up enough height and size when our two primary post players are sitting on the bench. With that being said, we had a second half where we could’ve showcased what we were capable of doing. I really felt like (Khayla) Pointer needed some more help. I felt like Rakell Spencer did everything that she could, this was her best shooting night. We just couldn’t get anyone else going and I really thought that hurt us because we needed other guards to step up. Their post play was better than ours, but you can’t have them outplaying both. I thought that’s where our ability to knock down some shots that we knocked down yesterday would’ve helped, but we didn’t knock them down today.”
LSU Sports Information
By: Judy Willson
GREENVILLE S.C. – LSU women’s basketball advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2021 Southeastern Conference Tournament after beating Mississippi State by a score of 71-62 in the second round on Thursday morning.
Junior transfer Ryann Payne led LSU in scoring as she set career-highs in points, rebounds and assists. She finished with 17 points and added four rebounds and three assists for the game. She and junior Sarah Shematsi came off the bench for a combined 30 points, a huge factor in the victory. Shematsi hit four key three-point shots in the game and finished with 13 points.
Senior Kayla Pointer scored 14 points while also grabbing four rebounds and dishing out three assists. Her 14 points were enough to move her up a spot on LSU’s all-time scoring list. Pointer passed Ayana Mitchell (1,275; 2015-20) and now sits at No. 22 with 1,280 career points.
Redshirt senior Faustine Aifuwa led the Tigers in rebounding with 12 boards. She also added nine points, just missing a double-double for the day.
The win ended a nine-game losing streak against the Bulldogs that started in 2015-16 season.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Nikki Fargas’ Postgame Quotes
On getting a win against Mississippi State after losing to them in the regular-season finale…
“We wanted to take the mistakes that we made in our previous game and make sure it didn’t happen again. We talked about being that team that becomes a 40-minute team. We’ve been that team that’s played 30 minutes, and I’m so proud of this group because they stayed focused and stayed locked into what we needed to do.”
On LSU’s bench play…
“To be able to see Ryann (Payne) and her path and her journey to get here and what she endured, as far as the surgery and getting herself healthy. She just kept working out and kept wanting to get experience. I’m thinking, ‘If you can go, it’s gonna be more than experience that we are gonna need you to get. We are going to need you to help us to win’. Her energy and just her bounce is so contagious. The fact that Sarah (Shematsi), which we have always known she can shoot lights out. I just feel like her confidence is at a high right now. They both did a nice job of playing off of each other. They allowed us to spread the floor more, which allowed us to get some penetration and post touches. To have plays that are threats from the perimeter makes our offensive execution looks a whole lot better.”
On the energy and fight displayed by the team…
“I’ve always thought our team had fight in us. There’re times where we would lose our focus and go off and do our own thing. The fight of our team, we maintained it. I can’t say enough about the energy we felt from the bench. They were into it; they were engaged and that uplifted us. That’s why we were able to come away with this win because it was about us as LSU and as a team.”
The Tigers will play the No. 2 Texas A&M Aggies in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament on Friday, March 5, at 10 a.m. CT. Texas A&M won the SEC regular season title and LSU is the only team to beat the Aggies this season.
The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network. As always, fans are encouraged to tune into the LSU Sports Radio Network, broadcasting on 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge, with Voice of the Tigers Patrick Wright calling the action.
LSU Sports Information
By: Judy Willson
GREENVILLE, S.C. – The LSU women’s basketball team will face Mississippi State on Thursday, March 4 at 10 a.m. CT at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina, in Game 2 of the 2021 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament. The Tigers are the No. 8 seed in the tournament and will be the home team, while the Bulldogs are the No. 9 seed.
The matchup is a repeat of the Tigers’ regular season finale last Thursday in Baton Rouge. MSU won the first meeting 68-59. Both teams are battling for a spot in the 2021 NCAA Tournament coming up in two weeks. 2021 also marks the 30th anniversary of LSU’s first SEC Tournament title back in 1991.
The winner of Thursday’s game will face No. 1 seed Texas A&M in the quarterfinals on Friday, March 5 at 10 a.m. CT. That game will be carried on the SEC Network and the LSU Sports Radio Network.
The NCAA is utilizing the NET system for the first time in women’s basketball this season. LSU currently has the second-best average opponent NET rank in the nation at 54. The Tigers’ opponent success ranks No. 3 and non-conference strength of schedule ranks 92. Against NET Top 25 teams LSU is 2-6 and 5-9 against the Top 50.
Thursday’s game will be broadcast on the SEC Network with Eric Frede and Tamika Catchings calling the game with Steffi Sorensen adding commentary from the socially-distanced sideline. Fans can watch SEC Network through their local cable or satellite provider, over the internet at ESPN.com/watch or on the ESPN app. A link to the game is available on LSUsports.net.
The games will also be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network and locally in Baton Rouge on 107.3 FM. Voice of the Lady Tigers Patrick Wright, in his 31st season, will be on the call from the LSU Radio Studio. A links to live stats is available at LSUsports.net.
Fans can also check for updates on LSU women’s basketball on Twitter and Instagram at @LSUwbkb or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lsuwbkb.
LSU is 8-12 on the season and finished in eighth place at 6-8 in the SEC following last week’s loss against MSU.
Senior Khayla Pointer was named to the 2021 All-SEC First Team and All-Defensive Team on Tuesday. The guard from Marietta, Georgia, leads the team with 16.6 points and 4.2 assists per game and 47 steals. She ranks among the Top 120 players in the NCAA and Top 20 in the SEC in 11 statistical categories. This season Pointer became the program’s 34th 1,000 career points scorer and eighth player to record over 400 career assists. She currently ranks No. 23 on the all-time scoring list with 1,266 points and seventh on the assists list with 424.
Redshirt senior Faustine Aifuwa became the second Tiger to record over 180 career blocked shots on Feb. 21 against South Carolina, joining LSU legend Sylvia Fowles, and currently has 187. Aifuwa is currently in 14th place on the career rebounds list with 737, the 16th LSU player to record over 700 career rebounds. To become LSU’s 35th 1,000-career points scorer, Aifuwa needs 26 points. Aifuwa continues to lead LSU with 8.8 rebounds per game and 36 blocked shots this season, and is the second-leading scorer on the team with 11.2 points per game.
Senior Jailin Cherry will become the third Tiger this season to play in their 100th career game when she takes the court on Thursday. Pointer reached the mark on January 18 at Missouri, while Aifuwa hit the milestone in Purple & Gold on January 24 against South Carolina.
The Opponent – Mississippi State
Mississippi State is 10-8 overall and 4-7 in SEC play this season, right behind LSU in ninth place. The Bulldogs are led in scoring by Rickea Jackson at 14.9 points per game. Jessika Carter is second in scoring with 14.3 points per game and leads the team in rebounds with 8.8 per game and 27 blocked shots. Aliyah Matharu also averages double-figures in scoring at 10.7, coming primarily off the bench. Myah Taylor runs the point and leads the team with 75 assists and 31 steals.
This will be the 63rd meeting between LSU and Mississippi State. The Tigers lead the series, 47-15 and are 5-2 against the Bulldogs in neutral site games.
SEC Tournament Fan Information
Fans attending the 2021 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament in Greenville are encouraged to become familiar with policies related to fan entry and security for the event, including a no-bag policy for Bon Secours Wellness Arena for the duration of the event.
The tournament will have a limited seating capacity of 3,000 fans due to COVID-19 restrictions. It is a mobile tickets only event. Face coverings are required and hand sanitizer will be readily available throughout the arena.