Da Boot Sports
By: Jason Watson Jr.
BATON ROUGE, LA - The Pete Maravich Assembly Center hosted a raucous crowd on Thursday night as the LSU Women’s Basketball team held their 2023 NCAA Div I WBB Ring Ceremony and Championship Banner unveiling. The Lady Tigers defeated the Royals 112-54, more than doubling the score allowed.
After all the festivities were complete, this year’s edition of the Fightin’ Tigers took the court versus the Queens University of Charlotte Royals. The PMAC was electric as stars Flau’Jae Johnson, Angel Reese, and transfer Hailey Van Lith were announced in starting lineups.
LSU won the tip and quickly got on the board with an easy inside layup from Sa’Myah Smith for 2. Improved rebounding was on display while the Tigers gathered six boards within the first three minutes of the contest. Reese got to the charity stripe early and often and converted her first six free throw attempts before checking out of the game for the first time.
Although LSU scored 30+ in the opening quarter, the Royals’ three-point shooting kept the deficit manageable. After ten minutes, the Lady Tigers led 33-20.
As the second quarter got underway, Johnson continued to show off her defensive prowess by collecting steals and blocks, which led to the crowd erupting.
An emotional timeout moment was on show for coach Kim Mulkey as she literally presented longtime teammate and friend Janice Lawrence Braxton with her flowers. Janice is recognized widely as one of the best basketball players from Louisiana. She was a member of the Lady Techsters’ championship squads with Mulkey and aided the USA in claiming the gold medal in the 1984 Pan American Games.
Mulkey, the coaching staff, and veteran players must have lit a fire under the team. LSU was stifling defensively in the second frame, holding Queens to just 10 points of offense and extending their halftime lead to 26. Reese sat at 21 points and nine boards. Smith had a solid 11 PTS and 6 REB showing.
56-30 shown on the scoreboard as the next half began. Lith had a tough night shooting the ball to this point but was stuffing the stat sheet with three assists. Sa’Myah Smith came out of the locker rooms on fire, adding six more to her point total.
The “Bayou Barbie” collected her tenth and eleventh rebounds of the game to earn her second double-double in as many games to begin the young season. Aneesah Morrow was hot off the bench, piling in 16 points.
LSU outscored the Royals by 10 in the third frame. The Tigers led 86-50 heading to the fourth.
The final quarter was much of the same as the previous three. The Tigers dominated all facets of the game and had ten players find the bottom of the net. LSU finished the game shooting 63% from the field and 82% from the free throw line. They held Queens to 32% on the night. It was an overall great team effort in the victory.
LSU beat Queens because they were supposed to. The Royals got outmatched, outnumbered, and outplayed. Many fans and Tigers supporters were concerned with a stumble out the gate after the women fell to #20 Colorado to open the season. Breathe. There is no need to worry; this LSU team is DEEP. Strap in, basketball fans; we are in for a fun and exciting season. Geaux Tigers!
Photos By: Michael Bacigalupi
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes
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