For the past 15 years that is what the LSU women’s basketball program has been. Those days are dead.
The 32-2 LSU Tigers are back in the Final Four for the first time since 2008 when the Tigers streak of 5 straight Final Fours came to an end.
LSU is poised to possibly continue such a streak as the Tigers loaded for talent in the future, but first, LSU looks to do something that they have never done — win a NCAA championship. To do that, the Tigers need to win just two games. However, those will be the toughest two games in program history.
LSU first must get past a formidable Virginia Tech Hokies team (31-4) that has not lost since January.
The Hokies, like the Tigers, were not a preseason top 10 team, but have proven over the course of 2022-23 to be a top 5 team.
They have done it with a small talented group of players. Virginia Tech plays a core group of just six players who played 399 of 400 minutes in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. Five of those six are seniors.
LSU has slightly more depth with a rotation of eight players which could be an advantage if foul trouble becomes an issue.
The two teams have faced four common opponents Miami, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri. The Tigers went 4-1 against that group while the Hokies went 5-1 against the same group.
That gives both teams plenty of film to compare and see how well they stack up against the same competition.
Both teams could feel pretty confident about recent results as a barometer. LSU beat Miami who previously defeated Virginia Tech while the Hokies defeated Tennessee, one of LSU’s two losses.
The Tigers cannot play like that did against Miami and win in the Final Four. LSU shot just 30.2 percent from the field and held to a season low 54 points.
It was the culmination of an offensive slump that has occurred throughout the tournament. The Tigers offense, which had been averaging over 80 points most of the season, has scored over 70 points just once in the last five games.
The Tigers will need to rediscover their offense in Dallas.
It will start with the Tigers big three stars – senior Alexis Morris, junior Angel Reese, and SEC freshman of the year Flau’jae Johnson.
Reese has been phenomenal with 32 double doubles and despite being held 3-15 from the floor against Miami, she still changed the game with 13 points and 18 rebounds.
Morris, who entered the tournament on a four-game streak of scoring over 20 ppg, has been critical throughout the tournament run and in her home state expect Morris to play some of her basketball.
Perhaps the most important piece for LSU though is Flau’jae. She has not scored in double digits since the Hawaii game to open the tournament but gas averaged double digits for the Tigers. She can take control of a game and may need to do so in the Final Four.
LSU’s supporting cast of freshman Sa’Myah Smith, juniors Kateri Poole and Last-Tear Poa, and Seniors Jasmine Carson and Ladazhia Williams have played some of their best basketball, especially on the defensive end.
The Tigers have held their last three opponents to an average of 49 points. If the Tigers can find a bit more offense and play at the same intensity on defense, then a first NCAA championship game appearance will happen.
Virginia Tech is led by junior Georgia Amoore and senior Elizabeth Kitley. The two of them have combined to average nearly 40 points per game.
Kitley at 6’6” is the tallest player in the Final Four matchup. She was a national player of the year candidate and limiting her will be key to if LSU can win the game.
The Hokies will be a tough matchup from the perimeter where they can hit threes, something LSU has struggled with in the tournament.