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LSU women’s basketball releases full schedule

LSU fans will have plenty of big games to watch during Mulkey’s first season

LSU Introduce Head Coach Kim Mulkey
 Kim Mulkey, LSU women’s basketball coach, speaks during a press conference at Pete Maravich Assembly Center on April 26, 2021 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Photo by Peter Forest/Getty Images

The LSU Lady Tigers released their full schedule for the 2021-22 season. With LSU having already sold over 4,000 season tickets, the schedule should give them plenty to be excited for. The Tigers play host to a Final Four team along with five other NCAA tournament teams. Here is a breakdown of the schedule along with which games in particular to watch.

Non-conference:

LSU’s non-conference schedule is maybe the strongest that Kim Mulkey has ever put together, despite not featuring any blue blood programs. Iowa State, Florida Gulf Coast, and Missouri State all have top-25 talent and LSU plays two more power program teams along with them. It is the kind of schedule that will look better at the end of the season on a resumé than at the beginning of the season.

LSU opens the season with a couple of exhibitions against Langston University and Loyola New Orleans. Both of these games are free, too. Langston is coached by former LSU player Elaine Powell, so it is nice to see her team getting a chance to play in the PMAC. LSU opens the season against Nicholls State, which should be a huge crowd as its Mulkey’s first game. The Tigers follow it with a big home contest against Florida Coast. LSU’s first road game will be against UL-Lafayette which will be followed by a home against Tulane. The Tulane game will be critical for Mulkey since LSU had a losing record against the Green Wave under Nikki Fargas, It will be a good chance to show how things are different now. After that, LSU will close out the month of November playing New Mexico State and Missouri State in Puerto Rico.

The Tigers return home to open December with a big test against Iowa State in the SEC/Big XII challenge. LSU will follow it up with a series of smaller schools in the PMAC in Texas Southern, Alcorn State, and New Orleans. The Tigers will leave Louisiana for the second time in late December when they play Clemson and Texas Tech in the Palm Beach Invitational. LSU closes its non-conference with Samford in the PMAC after Christmas.

While there are certainly several tough games, LSU should have a strong non-conference result and 10-3 or better is certainly within the realm of possibility. That will be quite nice after having a losing record in the non-conference last season.

SEC:

LSU’s SEC schedule is tough. The Tigers play Texas A&M and Georgia twice this year, two of the top teams from last season. Luckily, they also play Florida twice and the Gators coach resigned before the season started and they have an interim coach leading them this season.

The Tigers open SEC play at Georgia before hosting Texas A&M and South Carolina. It is possible for LSU to find itself in an 0-3 hole to start conference play. After that, it gets a bit easier. LSU travels to Auburn before hosting Missouri and Vanderbilt. The Tigers will then hit the road again for Florida followed by Arkansas to close out the first half of the SEC schedule. Auburn, Missouri, Vanderbilt, and Florida were four of the bottom five teams in the SEC last season.

The first game of the second half of the SEC season is against Kentucky and potential WNBA #1 pick Rhyne Howard in the PMAC. The Tigers will follow it up with a trip against an Ole Miss team that has been on the rise. LSU will get its home game against Georgia in a rematch from its SEC opener. The Tigers will follow it up with a road swing against A&M and Mississippi State before returning home for its final two home games of the season against Florida and Alabama. LSU closes its season against Tennessee.

LSU probably will need to finish at least 8-8 in SEC play to have a shot at the NCAA tournament. Getting 10 wins in conference play would almost certainly guarantee a bid. LSU has the talent and coaching to make that happen with this schedule.

The Five Games to Watch

No. 1 vs. South Carolina 1/6/2022 Time: TBA

LSU’s home tilt against South Carolina is by far the marquis matchup on the schedule. South Carolina has the No. 1 recruiting class in the country combined with a very talented group of juniors. This team has been ahead of schedule for a while now and is one of the favorites to win the national title after making the Final Four last season. They are led by US Olympic coach Dawn Staley and the matchup of Staley versus Mulkey will be a big draw in the PMAC.

No. 2 vs. Texas A&M 1/2/2022 Time: TBA

Looking at LSU’s schedule, it is worth asking if they upset someone in the SEC office. A&M is the defending SEC regular season champion and LSU plays them and South Carolina back-to-back in the second and third game of conference play. That is absolutely brutal. It will give LSU a chance to tell how good they are and where they stack up in the SEC, however. A&M should be good, as they usually are, but they are replacing several key players after being one of the most experienced teams in the country. LSU handed A&M its only regular season loss last year, so this should be a very competitive game in LSU’s SEC home opener.

No. 3 vs. Florida Gulf Coast 11/14/2021 Time: 12:30

Florida Gulf Coast is a fun team to watch. They shoot threes in droves. They led the nation in three pointers attempted shooting 200 more than the second team statistically. However, they were less good at making those shots and were 80th in three point make percentage. Still, this is a team that can stretch opponents out and score at will. They have a star player in Kierstan Bell who averaged 24.3 ppg last season which was fourth in the NCAA. It should be a fun matchup between LSU’s size in the paint and the Eagles’ perimeter play. FGCU will be a tough matchup and will be a good boost to LSU’s NCAA resume if they win. This is LSU’s second regular season game of the season and first on a weekend. If season tickets show up, it could be a very good home crowd.

No. 4 vs. Missouri State 11/27/2021 Time: 11:15

This is likely going to be LSU’s first ranked opponent of the season. It is in the San Juan shootout in Puerto Rico and will be LSU’s first trip out of the state this season. Missouri State has become a perennially good team lately. The Bears made the Sweet 16 last season before falling to eventual national champions Stanford. Missouri State returns the majority of their roster from last season’s team which loss just three games. It is definitely a game that is worth watching before LSU football takes on A&M later in the evening but probably will cost money to stream. So, listen to it on LSU’s radio which is always excellent when it comes to women’s basketball.

No. 5 vs. Iowa State 12/2/2021 Time: TBA

LSU’s SEC/Big XII challenge matchup versus Iowa State will be Mulkey’s first game against a Big XII foe since leaving the conference. Iowa State returns a ton of talent from last season most notably Ashley Jones who averaged 24.2 ppg and Big XII freshman of the year Lexi Donarski. Iowa State will have a lot of earned hype entering the season. ESPN’s way too early top 25 ranked them as the 12th best team in the nation. Iowa State gave Baylor its lone conference loss last season and will be ager to give another loss to Mulkey, who has an 83% win percentage versus the Cyclones.