When LSU coach Kim Mulkey was introduced, she pointed to the five Final Four banners hanging in the PMAC and said she wanted to add a national title banner.
Well LSU is now one game away from making that dream come true.
The Tigers (33-2) were triumphant 79-72 over the Virginia Tech Hokies in the national semifinal and come Sunday afternoon will play for its first ever national championship.
It did not come easy, but nothing about this tournament is. LSU went up 32-23 in the first half before going cold for the final five minutes of the half to fall behind 34-32. Tech threw a zone that totally flummoxed LSU and the Tigers was held scoreless for nearly 15 minutes of real time
The Tigers fell behind even further in the third going down 59-50. The Hokie zone kept LSU stuck in the mud and eventually Tech’s threes started falling. Virginia Tech started 0-7 from three, then hit 7 of its next 13.
It did not matter because LSU would explode in the fourth quarter starting it off with a 22-3 run to pull ahead by 10. LSU’s defense got them back in Friday’s game as the Hokies were held to 2-10 shooting in the fourth quarter. They also started working Virginia Tech on the glass. At one point in the fourth quarter LSU had 11 rebounds while Virginia Tech had zero.
The Tigers would not relent from that point as they did something Shaquille O’Neal, Pete Maravich, Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles and numerous other greats never did: win a Final Four game.
The Tigers did it on the back of star transfer forward Angel Reese and senior Alexis Morris.
Reese tied the NCAA single season record for double doubles (33) had 24 points and 12 rebounds.
Morris, a Texas native, tallied 27 points kicking off LSU’s fourth quarter comeback with the first five points of the quarter.
Senior Ladazhia Williams came up with a huge 17 points and 7 rebounds as the Tigers bullied the Hokies in the paint.
SEC Freshman of the year Flau’jae Johnson had an additional 7 points and junior Kateri Poole had 5 more as the Tigers starters scored all 79 of their points. With less than six minutes to go in the fourth, Johnson stole the ball and gave LSU a 64-62 lead. It was a lead they would not surrender.
LSU will face either Iowa or South Carolina for the championship Sunday at 2:30 on ABC.