That trend continued in the second half. Though L.S.U. displayed one of its worst shooting games of its season, the Tigers’ defense stifled Miami even more, and L.S.U. won, 54-42, to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2008.
Reese, who was named the most outstanding player in the Greenville 2 Region, produced her 32nd double-double of the season, filling the box score with 13 points, 18 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. The Tigers were led by 21 points from Alexis Morris, who kept them going in the mistake-filled first half. On Friday in Dallas, L.S.U. will play the winner of Monday’s game between No. 1-seeded Virginia Tech and No. 3-seeded Ohio State.
“I am the comeback kid,” said Morris, a fifth-year senior who played at Rutgers, Baylor, and Texas A&M. Morris, wearing the basketball net she had just cut down around her neck and a Final Four hat, added: “I beat it. I beat the odds.”
As confetti fell and players cut down the net, they gathered in a circle and danced at midcourt, Coach Kim Mulkey doing her best version of the popular griddy dance. By the end of the celebration, Mulkey was walking around the arena barefoot.
“I want to put a championship banner there some day,” Mulkey, a Louisiana native, said, adding: “South Carolina, I’ve said it from Day 1, is an unbelievable team and should win it all. But I’d sure love to be in that championship with them.”
Mulkey came to L.S.U. two seasons ago after 21 seasons and three championships at Baylor. The Tigers began this season with a largely new roster, adding nine players. Morris was the only returning starter.
“We don’t have to win a championship to see how much they love us,” Mulkey said of L.S.U.’s fan base. “I think they are going ‘What are we doing in year two? Are you kidding me?’”