Women’s Sweet 16: How the LSU Tigers compare to the Utah Utes
The LSU Tigers women’s basketball team are heading into their biggest game of the season against No. 2 Utah in the Sweet 16. Here is how the teams compare heading into Fridays game.
LSU Tigers fans looking for comparison are in luck. There’s much to discuss regarding Friday’s Sweet 16 contest against Utah. Today, we’re looking at how both teams compare in scoring, rebounding, and defense.
A matchup of scoring juggernauts
The LSU Tigers and Utah Utes rank top 5 in the country in team points per game. Utah, 3rd overall, scores an average of 83.5 PPG while the Tigers, 5th overall, score 83.2 PPG according to NCAA Stats.
Forward Angel Reese remains LSU’s clear offensive leader. The Bayou Barbie is 5th in the nation in scoring, averaging an astounding 23.7 PPG. On the opposing sideline, forward Alissa Pili, is the Utes leading scorer. She averages 21.0 PPG and ranks 14th in the country.
Both teams rank in the top 40 in 3-point percentage, with the Tigers shooting 34.85% and Utah shooting 35.21% from beyond the arc. Both offenses work inside-out, using their post presence to set up the outside shot. This game will determine who can establish themselves inside to open their perimeter shooters.
LSU Tigers’ potential rebounding advantage
The boards are where the LSU Tigers can separate themselves from the Utes. The Bayou Bengals are third in the nation in rebounds per game with 46.91, whereas the Utes are 145th with 37.06 RPG.
Second chance points can be a huge turning point in a ballgame, and the Tigers have a knack for crashing the boards on offense to extend possessions. The Tigers haul in an average of 17.3 offensive RPG, with Angel Reese grabbing 6.6 of those herself. However, Utah is an inferior offensive-rebounding team, with just 10.6 offensive boards per game. That number ranks below schools such as Quinnipiac, Green Bay, and Chicago State.
Angel Reese needs to make her presence felt on the glass against Utah. Reese averaged an astonishing 16.6 RPG in the regular season, while the Utes don’t have a single player that cracked the top 250.
In the second-round game against Michigan, Reese came out and dominated the Wolverines early. She secured 14 rebounds in the first half alone and finished the night with 24 boards. Reese will have to replicate her Round of 32 performance for the Tigers to emerge victorious over Utah.
Defense must win the game
The LSU Tigers also have the upper hand on Utah in scoring defense, allowing just 57.0 PPG to their opponents this season.
To open the women’s NCAA tournament, LSU has held Hawaii and Michigan to 50 and 42 points, respectively. To put that into perspective, Michigan averaged 73.5 PPG before playing the Tigers.
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The Utes have relied heavily on their offense to win them games all season; for the most part, it’s worked. However, while scoring the 3rd most points in the country, only a few people have noticed that their defense ranks 220th, allowing 66.0 PPG.
Utah is 1-3 when scoring less than 70 points against Power 5 programs this year. On the other hand, LSU has held 15 of the 19 Power 5 programs they faced to under 70 PPG this season. The Tigers also have yet to allow an opponent to score 70+ points on them since Florida did so on February 19th.
This game will be a battle of offense vs. defense, and the last time I checked, the defense wins championships. Nonetheless, this game will be a physical battle from start to finish. LSU must dominate the boards and play stifling defense to knock off No. 2 Utah.