LSU Women’s Basketball is Set to Play Virginia Tech Friday, What are Their Chances to Win?
The LSU Women's Basketball team has a storied history with players like Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles, Joyce Walker, and Pokey Chatman to name a few. However now LSU is in a new era, the Kim Mulkey era, and with that Tiger fans have seen immediate improvements. The Tigers are led by the two-headed monster of Angel Reese and Flau'Jae Johnson, the Tigers have reclaimed the glory days of Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles.
LSU is set to play Virginia Tech this Friday in the Final Four. Do they have a shot at winning and making it to the National Championship?
When it comes to their chances of winning let's look at LSU first and then Virginia Tech before we conclude who will win.
LSU Goes As Far As Angel Reese Will Take Them
Yes LSU is led by the duo of Angel Reese and Flau'Jae Johnson; however, Reese is the engine, motor, and steering wheel of this car. Johnson is critical, but the freshman isn't on the same level as Reese. Reese already broke the SEC single-season double-double record at 32. Reese's presence inside the paint is LSU's bread and butter. Reese is averaging 23.2 points, 15.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.6 blocks, 1.8 steals, and 52% from the field. The way she dominates the paint allows for others to get involved. The team collectively shoots 47.2% from the field and 35.9% from the 3-point line. The need to double-team Reese allows for LSU's shooters to knock down open jumpers. Flau'Jae Johnson is one of the main beneficiaries of said double teams as she is averaging 11.1 points per game and 33% from the three-point line.
Defensively the Tigers are just as strong. They have forced a total of 600 turnovers this season and averaging 17.6 forced turnovers per game. This is all thanks to the defensive efforts of the Tigers. Whether that's blocks, steals, or just digging their heels into the ground and saying we're not letting this other team score. As they only have given up 56.7 points per game.
Virginia Tech Has Some Issues
Now when we look at Virginia Tech one thing that stands out is the depth of the team. Virginia Tech only goes 7 players deep. They are extremely confident in their starters and the two girls off the bench. After that it gets shaky. Tech is averaging 72.5 points per game and 37.5 rebounds per game compared to the Tigers' 84.1 points per game and 47.2 rebounds per game. Tech relies on the 3 ball as they shoot 35% from 3 and have attempted 688 threes this season. This is a team that lives and dies by the three-point line. The player that the Tigers will have to look out for is Elizabeth Kitley who is averaging 18 points per game and 10 rebounds per game. Kitley is the inside presence that allows for shooters to get open, similar to LSU. However, Kitley doesn't come close to the level of dominance that Reese shows on a nightly basis.
With all of that being said it will come down to a battle in the paint between Kitley and Reese. Also will the Tigers shut down the 3 ball of Tech? But the biggest factor to me is LSU's depth versus Tech's lack of depth. If Reese can continue to be dominant and aggressive in the paint forcing Tech to go deeper into their bench then LSU has a great shot at winning. The Tigers will need to continue being strong on defense and stop Tech's 3-pointers. Which they have done all year by allowing other teams to only shoot 26% from 3.
If the Tigers come and play their brand of basketball Louisiana will see their Tigers in the National Championship. The Tigers will play Virginia Tech this Friday at 6 pm central.