LSU head coach Kim Mulkey benched All-American forward Angel Reese for the entire second half Tuesday and gave a clearly filtered response as the reason.
“Coach’s decision,” Mulkey said.
Reese wasn’t in the game to start the third quarter and Mulkey didn’t move to install her double-double machine even as Kent State grabbed a 42-41 lead over the No. 7 Tigers.
Shot selection might have played a role in Mulkey’s decision. Reese’s first shot attempt of Tuesday’s game was a 3-pointer, and she later made a stepback 17-footer. Kent State led 17-16 at the end of the first.
Sticking with “the matchups we had,” as Mulkey stated, worked out for LSU on Tuesday. That’s because Kent State didn’t have anyone to match up with freshman Mikaylah Williams.
Williams set a program freshman record with 42 points, 32 in the second half, and the two-time Louisiana High School Player of the Year said she never scored more in her life. Her best high school game was 34 points.
“She can score anywhere. Mikaylah, as good as she is, I don’t think she knows how good she is. A lot of it’s going to come just having her play extended minutes as hard as she can,” Mulkey said. “She’s a special talent. This is those moments where you’re feeling that rim is as big as the ocean.”
LSU missed all six of its 3-point attempts in the first half and led 39-37. Then Williams took over. She made 5 of 8 3-pointers in the second half and connected on 15 of 20 from the field, and 7 of 7 at the free throw line, in the game.
“If Williams keeps playing like that, I think we will have played back-to-back national freshmen of the year,” Kent State’s Todd Starkey said, noting a clear recall of losing to Ta’Niya Latson and Florida State last season.
Mulkey already delivered what she dubbed a “come to Jesus” film session two days after the defending national champion Tigers dropped the season-opening game to Colorado in Las Vegas. Without saying as much publicly, she appeared to send another message on Tuesday.
Williams might’ve just done the talking for her. At LSU, there’s always another star ready to deliver when the opportunity presents itself.
By the middle of the third quarter, Williams had only 15 points and LSU was up 55-44. Her final 15 minutes of the game included five 3-pointers and 27 points for a game-high 42. It was the most points from an LSU player since Cornelia Gayden scored 43 in 1996. Gayden has the LSU women’s record with 49 in 1995.
–Field Level Media
After back-to-back wins during which they scored a combined 13 goals, the Edmonton Oilers may finally have turned the corner following a surprisingly poor start. However, a better measuring stick…
Riding high after one of their best wins of the season, the Arizona Coyotes will look to keep up the momentum Tuesday night when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning…
The Toronto Maple Leafs hope that their first home game in more than two weeks will mean a return to winning when they host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night….
Coyotes carry momentum into matchup with Lightning
Maple Leafs glad to be home to oppose Panthers
NBA roundup: Joel Embiid, 76ers demolish Lakers
Woeful offenses live up to hype as Sharks edge Caps