The match-up between South Carolina and LSU was really a tale of two halves, an almost-won and an almost-lost.
From my perspective, South Carolina’s weakness was a soft defense in the first half. LSU came out with a full head of steam and seemed to be a lot more in synch. But, the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and by the 4th quarter, LSU looked frustrated from letting South Carolina regain some cohesiveness and creep back into the game. I don’t think LSU lost because Angel Reese fouled out, but because LSU seemed to lose focus, which South Carolina played upon. You could feel the energy shift. Kim Mulkey misused LSU’s timeouts, which was crucial. I also happen to be one of those who thinks that LSU’s non-conference schedule is a detriment.
They just don’t get tested, and even though the record is 18-3, how many of those were really quality wins against quality teams? I’m sure all the real pundits will be dissecting the game, but that’s not my purpose. Essentially, LSU just petered out. Could they have won? Yes, but they didn’t. End of story. As a side note, I’ve never been a particular fan of Hailey Van Lith. Last night’s game didn’t do anything to change that. Reese and Aneesah Morrow had good games. I expected to see more from MiLaysia Fulwiley and Te-Hina Paopao. While the starters for each team all scored in double figures, no one really stood out as the driving force of the game.
I’m also beginning to wonder what people expect from Kamilla Cardoso. From last night’s game, what I see is a big who is good under the basket but not much else. She certainly doesn’t have Aliyah Boston‘s athleticism, and she is not the next Sylvia Fowles, so where she might best fit in the WNBA could be a conundrum. I have a similar feeling about Angel Reese. It will be really interesting to see where Reese goes in the draft. That’s a tough one to predict. Of course, the talent is there, but something is missing: a little je ne sais quoi.
Was it an entertaining game? Yes, it was, from the point of view that it was a real mystery who would win. It was a game where weakness determined the outcome, not strength. I am now even more curious to see what happens when UConn visits Columbia next month. Is South Carolina the forgone winner of the game? I don’t think so. UConn is not the team they were at the beginning of the season, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Dawn Staley won’t do that, to be sure. As for LSU, I’m going to assume that Kim Mulkey will re-group the team, figure out what needs to be addressed, and move forward. The next games for each of these teams should be wins. Should be.
‘And that, my friends, as they say, is that.’ — Martin Ruben.
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