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Morris, Williams come up clutch to help LSU advance

March is when legends are made and that’s exactly what Alexis Morris and LaDazhia Williams did Friday afternoon.

Behind a season-best 24 points from Williams and four clutch free throws plus a game-altering rebound by Morris, #3 LSU beat #2 Utah 66-63 to advance to the Elite 8 for the first time since 2008.

In maybe one of the most back and forth games you’ll ever see, LSU and Utah traded haymakers all afternoon long. Neither team led by more than eight points and just when it felt like either side was going to pull away for good, a counterattack was launched to tie the game back up.

Williams undoubtedly had the best game of her LSU career with 24 points and six rebounds. More importantly, she was able to provide a scoring presence while Angel Reese sat for a good portion of the first half because of foul trouble.

“I’m a senior and I wasn’t ready to go home,” Williams said. “I was shooting with confidence tonight. Coach tells me the high post shot is my shot and I needed to take it.”

“She brings something to the table that all good teams that will advance in the tournament have: experience,” Kim Mulkey said. “She gets the job done. I wish I had more LaDazhia’s because there’s no substitute for experience.”

Morris, on the other hand, came up big when it mattered most: the fourth quarter. Morris hit a three to give LSU an 8-point lead with 3:41 to play.

In those final four minutes she scored eight of her 15 points including nailing five clutch free throws. With 10 seconds left in the game and the Tigers down 63-62, Morris grabbed a massive rebound off an Angel Reese miss, got fouled and calmly hit both free throws to give LSU the lead. She then hit two more free throws with two seconds remaining to extend LSU’s lead to 66-63.

Angel Reese fouled out of Friday’s game with 4.8 seconds and the Tigers clinging to its 63-62 lead. But despite that she still put up yet another double-double, her 31st of the season which tied an SEC record. Reese was “held” to 17 points and 12 rebounds and was constantly double or triple-teamed all evening.

LSU’s reward for triumphing over Utah is a date with Miami, the Greenville Region’ 2s #9 seed in the Elite Eight on Sunday. Miami’s turned into giant killers over the past two weeks, the Hurricanes took out Stanford, the region’s 1-seed, and Villanova, the 4-seed so they certainly won’t be intimidated by LSU. Winner moves on to next weekend’s Final Four in Dallas.

Tip off is scheduled for 6:00 P.M. and the game will be on ESPN.