LSU advances past Virginia Tech in the Final Four
FINAL: LSU 79, Virginia Tech 72
After a string of four straight attempts at the national championship game from 2004-08, No. 3 LSU finally advanced to its first national championship game.
The seesaw of momentum finally pulled the Tigers' way finishing off No. 1 Virginia Tech 79-72 in the semifinals. LSU jumped out to a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter to overcome a double-digit second half deficit.
The dynamic duo of Angel Reese (24 points, 12 rebounds) and Alexis Morris (27 points) led all scorers.
LSU forced 18 turnovers converting the lost possessions into 22 points. The Tigers also dominated the paint with a whopping 54-14 advantage.
While the Tigers look for their first program national title, coach Kim Mulkey gets a chance at her fourth. The Tigers are just the fifth three-seed to advance to the title game. Only one No. 3 seed took home the championship — North Carolina in 1994.
LSU will face No. 1 South Carolina or No. 2 Iowa in the national championship Sunday, April 2.
🔥 LSU takes first lead of second half
Here they come. The LSU Tigers took back the lead for the first time since the midway point of the second half. Tigers lead 72-62.
Alexis Morris and Angel Reese are battling to keep LSU alive. Reese has eight fourth-quarter points, Morris scored six.
Buckle up, it's going down to the wire in Dallas.
3Q: Virginia Tech 59, LSU 50
Virginia Tech came out of the locker room and kept the same energy from the half. The Hokies extended its 12-0 run to 16-0.
Georgia Amoore moved through her shooting struggles to shatter an NCAA tournament record for most made 3-pointers with 23.
But, LSU isn’t going anywhere. The Tigers got the once 12-point lead down to five earlier before the Hokies ended the quarter with a nine-point gap.
Stay tuned, it’s gonna be a fun finish.
Virginia Tech's @georgia_amoore has broken the single-tournament record for most 3-point FG made with 23!#WFinalFour x #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/Xlfwun6I5t— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessWBB) April 1, 2023
⏱ Halftime: Virginia Tech 34, LSU 32
It’s could have ended very differently. LSU tried to create some distance after taking its largest lead of nine with 4:48 to go. Instead, it’s the Hokies with the 34-32 halftime lead.
Virginia Tech came alive. The Hokies went on an 11-0 run led by Kayana Traylor who scored nine second-quarter points; Elizabeth Kitley scored six in the second.
The Hokies balanced out their scoring to 41% but have still struggled from the 3-point line (25%, 4 of 16).
Here's a look at the second-half statistics:
Virginia Tech Hokies
1Q: LSU 16, Virginia Tech 13
LSU comes out on top after the first 10 minutes leading Virginia Tech 16-13.
The Tigers took advantage by forcing seven turnovers converting that to 10 points. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech took advantage on the offensive glass with nine rebounds for nine second-chance points.
The Hokies stumbled out of the gate shooting 25% compared to 44% from LSU. Alexis Morris tops all scorers with eight points.
But after all that, it's just a three-point game.
S&S: Stealing and Scoring— LSU Women's Basketball (@LSUwbkb) March 31, 2023
📺 @espn pic.twitter.com/AeqsKNJNMx
Virginia Tech vs. LSU starting lineups
We're minutes away from tip-off in Dallas between No. 1 Virginia Tech and No. 3 LSU.
Here are the starting lineups:
G: Flau'jae Johnson,
G: Alexis Morris
G: Kateri Poole
F: Angel Reese
Virginia Tech Hokies
G: Georgia Amoore
G: Cayla King
G: Kayana Traylor
F: Taylor Soule
C: Elizabeth Kitley
📖 What to read ahead Virginia Tech vs. LSU Final Four battle
No. 1 Virginia Tech and No. 3 LSU get the Final Four double-header underway on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET.
There are several storylines to follow in this matchup. Both teams are looking for their first-ever bid to that national championship game. Kim Mulky is in search of her fourth as a head coach. Kenny Brooks could become the third Black coach to win a title. Angel Reese vs. Kitley; Georgia Amoore vs. Alexis Morris.
To narrow things down we compiled some of the best coverage — local and national — to get you started.
Here’s everything you need to know:
- This women's Final Four features two Black coaches for the second time in history — NCAA.com
- From Flip-Flops to the Final Four, Georgia Amoore Commands the Court — New York Times
- LSU Is Ahead of Schedule and Chasing History Under Kim Mulkey — Sports Illustrated
- What Virginia Tech said about facing LSU in Women's Final Four — Daily Advertiser
- Why does Angel Reese wears one legging? LSU star's fashion choice is equal parts 'swag' and significant — The Sporting News
Previewing Virginia Tech vs. LSU
Think back to the start of the season, did you have LSU or Virginia Tech marching to Final Four? The two teams safely nestled in the middle of the AP preseason poll compared to their semifinal counterparts that ranked top five.
Just a month into the season, both made waves powering their way up the rankings. Coming out as one of the top four seemed possible. Still, this game could mean a first for both programs.
The Hokies have never played in the national semifinals while the Tigers return after 15 years; either way, the winner will be headed to their first national championship appearance.
Here’s how the two compare statistically:
Virginia Tech is led by senior Elizabeth Kitley. Kitley (18.2 ppg, 10.7 rebounds) tops the Hokies in scoring all-time and this season. But, in the tournament junior guard, Georgia Amoore emerged.
Amoore has scored at least 20 points in every March Madness game off an ACC Tournament MVP. In the Elite Eight, the Kitley and Amoore combined for 49 — more than half of the Hokies' total offense.
In the offseason LSU brought in the missing piece to their Final Four puzzle — Angel Reese. Reese transferred from Maryland and blossomed making a name for herself on and off the court. She’s averaging 22.3 points and 17.3 rebounds in the tournament including a 20/20 game.
But the Tiger's third-ranked offense doesn't end with Reese. Mixed in is fifth-year guard standout Alexis Morris (14.9 ppg) and SEC Freshman of the Year Flau'jae Johnson (11.1 ppg).
After two straight Final Fours with three returners, Virginia Tech and LSU enter as fresh blood with records to break and new heights to conquer.
📺 How to watch Virginia Tech vs. LSU
No. 1 Virginia Tech battles in its first Final Four against No. 3 LSU which returns in its sixth semifinals looking for the first title. Here's how to keep up with all the action.
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Date: Friday, March 31
Live stats: NCAA.com
Virginia Tech's road to the Final Four
Virginia Tech waltzed into its first tournament as a No. 1 seed against No. 16 Chattanooga easily winning in the Round of 64. The Hokies avenged last season's first round loss after getting upset by a No. 12 seed.
In the following round, the Hokies faced a formidable South Dakota State program. Virginia Tech put a swift end to the Jackrabbits' hopes of making the Sweet 16 with a wire-to-wire victory leading South Dakota State as much as 23 points.
Up next, Tennessee took a crack at Virginia Tech. The Hokies again pulled off a victory leading from tipoff to the final buzzer. Georgia Amoore scored a career-high 29 points in her third straight tournament game with 20+ points.
The Hokies defeated No. 3 Ohio State in their first-ever regional finals on the way to their first Final Four. Virginia Tech trailed in the first quarter but regained control and held off the Buckeyes. Elizabeth Kitley posted a 25-point, 12-rebound effort in the win.
LSU's road to the Final Four
No. 3 LSU hosted No. 14 Hawai'i in the Round of 64 and won by 23 points. Angel Reese record a double-double of 34 points and 15 rebounds. That marked Reese's fifth 30-point double-double of the season.
The Tigers took on No. 6 Michigan next winning their second straight game by more than 20 points. The Tigers didn't shoot it all that well (35.3%) from the field, but LSU made up for it on the offensive glass (22-5) with 18 second-chance points.
LSU faced No. 2 Utah next at Greenville regional surviving the highly contested match with a three-point victory. In the end, it came down to free throws. In the final 10 seconds, the Tigers made four at the strike to take and then seal the lead. The Utes missed two crucial ones that would've put them ahead.
In the regional finals, the Tigers forced the clock to strike midnight on No. 9 Miami Hurricanes' Cinderella story. Alexis Morris scored 21 points to lead LSU to their first Final Four in 15 years.
📝 Virginia Tech vs. LSU series history
The Tigers and the Hokies have faced off three times since 1984. LSU claimed victory twice, and Virginia Tech won the first meeting almost 39 years ago.
This Final Four will mark the first battle in 17 years.
|LSU||70 - 40||11/14/2006||Baton Rouge, LA.|
|LSU||66 - 65||11/25/2001||Baton Rouge, LA.|
|Virginia Tech||86 - 77||12/19/1984||Blacksburg, VA.|