Inside game sends LSU to 2nd round

LSU forward Angel Reese (10) shoots against Hawaii forward Kallin Spiller (11) during the second half of a first-round college basketball game in the women's NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, March 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
LSU forward Angel Reese (10) shoots against Hawaii forward Kallin Spiller (11) during the second half of a first-round college basketball game in the women's NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, March 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

BATON ROUGE -- A dynamic and prolific All-America power forward like Angel Reese can cover up for some flaws.

Take ice-cold perimeter shooting, for example.

LSU missed 13 of 14 three-pointers, but Reese had 34 points and 15 rebounds, and the third-seeded Tigers defeated No. 14 seed Hawaii 73-50 on Friday night in the first round of the women's NCAA Tournament.

"I've always been blessed to have good post play," said LSU Coach Kim Mulkey, who won a national title as Baylor's coach in 2012 with Brittney Griner at center. "I've never had to coach a team that jacks [three-pointers] up and shoots 30-plus a game. How many of these teams ever win national championships? Men or women? They may in the pros ... but it's a different game at the pro level."

Flau'Jae Johnson scored 10 for LSU (29-2), which raced to a double-digit lead in the first quarter and maintained a comfortable lead most of the way.

The Tigers advanced to a second-round match-up on Sunday with sixth seeded Michigan (23-9), a 71-59 winner over 11 seed UNLV earlier Friday.

Reese, an All-America forward, was a force in the paint while registering her 29th double-double this season, and also was effective defending on the perimeter. She was 13 of 20 shooting, hit 8 of 12 free throws and also had three blocks and three steals.

"Reese is going to get what she gets," Hawaii Coach Laura Beeman said. "She's going to go No. 1, No. 2 in the WNBA (Draft); we don't have a pro on our team right now."

Reese looked unfazed when multiple defenders on her. Help defenders were often late on her explosive cuts and drives to the hoop anyway. She was also shifty and creative enough to score when the lane got crowded, exemplified by her spinning drive that set up a scoop shot off the glass as she was fouled.

"I've seen double teams all year. I've seen post players become aggressive with me down low," Reese said. "A lot of teams become physical with me, and I just can't let that get to me mentally."

LSU outscored Hawaii 44-16 in the paint and outrebounded the Rainbow Wahine 40-33.

Meanwhile, LSU's defense forced Hawaii to play at a slower pace than planned on the offensive end.

"We couldn't get downhill and drive and kick, and they closed so quickly that when we thought when they had shots, they were right there in our face," Beeman said. "It wasn't our game plan to run the clock down. It was our game plan to run down and get great shots. They make that very, very difficult."

Kallin Spiller and Daejah Phillips each scored 13 for Hawaii (18-15) which was held 10 points below its average scoring total for the season. Lily Wahinekapu scored 11 for the Rainbow Wahine.

"Guarding Angel Reese was difficult," said Spiller, a center. "As a post (player) focused on rebounding, I know how hard it is to collect those double doubles at the level she does.

"It's clear they are going to make a run," Spiller added. "I'm rooting for them -- for the ones that knocked us out. I'm hoping they go far."

UTAH 103,

GARNER-WEBB 77

SALT LAKE CITY -- Alissa Pili tallied 33 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists to power second-seeded Utah past 15th-seeded Gardner-Webb.

Jenna Johnson added 20 points and five assists for the Utes (26-4). Pili and Johnson combined to make 22 of 31 shots as the Bulldogs struggled to keep the duo from relentlessly attacking the basket.

Gardner-Webb (29-5) had a 21-game winning streak snapped and fell to 0-3 against Power 5 opponents this season. Jhessyka Williams scored 20 points for the Bulldogs.

MICHIGAN 71, UNLV 59

BATON ROUGE -- Emily Kiser had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Maddie Nolan added 18 points, and sixth-seeded Michigan beat 11th-seeded UNLV, snapping the Rebels' 22-game winning streak.

Leigha Brown scored 17 points for Michigan (23-9), which had lost three of its previous four games.

Guard Laila Phelia, wearing a brace on her left knee and playing in her just her third game since missing seven with a leg injury, exerted her influence on the game defensively, grabbing a career-high 11 rebounds to go with her eight points -- less than half of her scoring average of 16.9.

UNLV (31-3) came up one short of the longest winning streak in program history. Its Mountain West Tournament title victory had tied a mark reached previously in the 1978-79 and 1989-90 seasons.


PRINCETON 64,

N.C. STATE 63

SALT LAKE CITY — Grace Stone scored 22 points, including her fifth three-pointer of the game with 4.7 seconds remaining, to lift 10th-seeded Princeton to a thrilling victory over North Carolina State.

Kaitlyn Chen, who also scored 22 points, made a three-pointer with 55 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 63-61 and then Madison St. Rose and Stone both came up with steals in the final minute to give the Tigers a chance.

On the North Carolina State’s final possession, the Tigers created chaos, as they had all game long, and knocked the ball loose to prevent the seventh-seeded Wolfpack from getting a shot off.


  photo  LSU forward Angel Reese (10) shoots against Hawaii forward Imani Perez (12) during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the women's NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, March 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
 
 
  photo  LSU forward Angel Reese (10) celebrates with guard Last-Tear Poa (13) and guard Flau'jae Johnson, right, during the first half of the team's first-round college basketball game against Hawaii in the women's NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, March 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
 
 
  photo  LSU head coach Kim Mulkey encourages the crowd during the second half of the team's first-round college basketball game against Hawaii in the women's NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, March 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
 
 
  photo  LSU forward Angel Reese (10) shoots against Hawaii forward Imani Perez (12) during the first half of a first-round college basketball game in the women's NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, March 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
 
 
  photo  Hawaii forward Imani Perez (12) shoots against LSU forward Angel Reese (10) during the second half of a first-round college basketball game in the women's NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, March 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
 
 
  photo  LSU forward Angel Reese (10) steals the ball from Hawaii forward Nnenna Orji during the second half of a first-round college basketball game in the women's NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, March 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
 
 
  photo  LSU forward Angel Reese (10) waves to the crowd after the team's win over Hawaii in a first-round college basketball game in the women's NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, March 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
 
 
  photo  Hawaii forward Kallin Spiller (11) celebrates a 3-point basket in the second half of the team's first-round college basketball game against LSU in the women's NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, March 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
 
 

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