DALLAS — A furious fourth-quarter comeback from LSU erased as much as a 12-point Virginia Tech lead, giving the Tigers a 79-72 win in the first national semifinal at the women’s Final Four and advancing LSU to Sunday’s title game.
The Tigers will play the winner of South Carolina-Iowa.
Trailing 59-50 entering the fourth, LSU reeled off 15 unanswered points to take a 72-62 lead with 3:04 to go. Virginia Tech, with its short bench, couldn’t recover.
Alexis Morris led LSU with 27 points while Angel Reese chipped in 24 points and 12 rebounds for her 33rd double-double of the season. The Tigers outscored Virginia Tech 54-14 in the paint (no, that is not a misprint) and turned 15 offensive boards into 24 second-chance points.
Virginia Tech took its first lead of the game with 1:21 to play in the first half after switching to zone and going on an 11-0 run. The Hokies were led by Elizabeth Kitley’s 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Kayana Traylor and Georgia Amoore added 17 each. But it wasn’t enough for the Hokies, who were playing in their program’s first-ever Final Four.
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A more than five-minute scoring drought midway through the fourth quarter doomed the Hokies, who were visibly tired and short on many of their shots. Meanwhile, LSU looked energized, forcing turnovers and finishing at the rim through contact.
LSU’s 15-0 surge in the fourth quarter was part of a larger 22-3 run. The Hokies threw the ball away 18 times, resulting in 22 LSU points.
It is an astonishing return to the upper echelon of women’s basketball for LSU. Second-year coach Kim Mulkey won three titles at Baylor — and is 3-0 in championship games. When she took over in Baton Rouge before the 2021 season, she said she was coming to win championships. But no one thought it would happen this fast.