Coming off their National Championship run, the LSU Tigers women’s basketball team began their ’23-’24 title defense run as the home team on the road in Las Vegas, Nevada against the Colorado Buffaloes. Coach Kim Mulkey and her squad were overwhelmed by a barrage of three-pointers, good defense by Colorado, and would fall 92-78 to begin the season.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Buffaloes won the opening tip and made the first basket of the game with an Aaronette Vonleh layup. Angel Reese would return the favor with one of her own off-the-assist of Hailey Van Lith. Frida Formann hit a midrange bank shot and Vonleh made another layup to put Colorado up by four just over two minutes into the game.
LSU went on a quick 12-4 run as Van Lith knocked down a three-pointer from the left wing and corner. Aneesah Morrow got the steal and took it herself for the transition bucket, and then Reese got the put-back with Mikaylah Williams hitting the turnaround jumper to put the Tigers up 14-10 with less than two minutes to go in the opening quarter.
Formann hit from behind the arc and Quay Miller made one out of two layups to tie the game but Sa’Myah Smith’s layup gave LSU the two-point lead to end the first quarter.
At the 8:50 mark, Smith slammed one home off another Van Lith assist. Reese and Van Lith would hit on pairs of free throws but the next LSU basket would come with 6:08 left off a Reese putback layup.
Jaylyn Sherrod, who got injured early in the second would be a spark for the Buffaloes as she put up 10 points and gave her team the lead with 2:43 left in the first half.
Both teams matched each other shot for shot as Sara-Rose Smith hit a three and Reese hit a jump shot. Vonleh, Williams, and Sherrod made back-to-back-to-back layups with Williams responding with a three of her own. Sherrod stole the ball late and dished it to Smith for the easy shot.
LSU headed into halftime down 38-32.
Colorado extended their lead early in the third quarter with a Tameiya Sadler layup and a three-pointer by Formann. Flaujae Johnson responded with a three of her own but the Buffaloes would maintain the lead as Miller splashed a three would put her team up 11.
Morrow and Reese knocked down jumpers while Williams sized up her defender on two straight possessions and a couple of deep twos but Formann had to do a heat check as she hit three shots from deep late in the third to put Colorado up 14.
LSU got sloppy on offense and defense in the fourth quarter with and-one fouls, travel violations, and bad passes. The Buffaloes in the first four minutes would go on a 14-4 run.
Reese, Smith, and the rest of the Tigers would try to make the comeback with a full-court press defense and drawing fouls. It wouldn’t be enough with a couple more threes made by Formann and Miller that forced Kim Mulkey to clear the bench for the most part and bring in the reserves.
LSU would fall to Colorado 92-77 and start the ’23-’24 season 0-1.
BIG NUMBER: 24
LSU wasn’t able to play much complimentary basketball as they were only able to record 13 assists all game (seven from Van Lith) compared to Colorado’s 24 as the Buffaloes came out on top 92-78 in Las Vegas.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Frida Formann
“Threeda” Formann was hot from behind the arc to open the season as she made 7-10 shots from deep (9-14 overall) for a career-high 27 points on the night. She also grabbed five rebounds, four assists, and two steals in the 14-point win.
UP NEXT: The LSU Tigers women’s basketball team will be back on Thursday, November 9th as they take on Queens University. Tipoff in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center against the Royals will be at 7:00 p.m. The action can be heard on Mustang 107.1.