LSU women's basketball falls to Ohio State in NCAA Tournament, ending Kim Mulkey's first season
BATON ROUGE – The first season of the Kim Mulkey era for LSU women's basketball came to a close with a resounding loss.
No. 3 seed LSU lost 79-64 to No. 6 Ohio State in a second-round NCAA Tournament game Monday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU (26-6) closed its season with losses in two of its last three games, including one to Kentucky in the Tigers' opening SEC Tournament quarterfinal game. Ohio State (25-6) has won 10 of its last 12 games.
Ohio State was up 57-37 after a third quarter in which LSU was outscored 23-11. The Buckeyes' lead never dipped below double digits in the fourth.
Point guard Khayla Pointer led LSU with a game-high 32 points, but she got little scoring support with Jailin Cherry adding just 12.
Guard Jacy Sheldon led Ohio State with 22 points, guard Taylor Mikesell had 18 and big Rebeka Mikulasikova added 12.
LSU, coached by Mulkey after her 21 seasons and three national championships at Baylor, made it to the second round with a win over No. 14 seed Jackson State.
TIGER VS. TIGER:Watch Jackson State beat LSU in mascot dance-off
SONG LADY:Watch LSU coach Kim Mulkey sing Jim Croce, Destiny's Child after win
FRIENDSHIP:What Kim Mulkey cherished most about Tennessee coach Pat Summitt
LSU early shooting woes
LSU shot 25% (3-of-12) from the field during a first quarter Ohio State led 15-0.
With 5:00 left in the first half, the Tigers were shooting just 20% (4-of-20). By halftime, though, they were up to 33.3% (11-of-33).
Pointer had a team-high 11 points at halftime, but she was shooting just 5-of-14 herself.
The Ohio State backcourt
Some of the LSU's early shooting issues could have been impacted by energy spent on the defensive end.
Ohio State's dynamic backcourt duo of Mikesell (2-of-7) and Sheldon (3-of-10) was limited to a combined 5-of-17 shooting from the field in the first half. Mikulasikova had eight points at halftime, however, including 2-of-2 shooting on 3-point attempts as she popped out and Buckeye guards found her unguarded.
Mikesell and Sheldon did the bulk of their scoring after getting going in the second half, and with Mikulasikova mostly having her way inside too it was too much for the Tigers.
Ryann Payne starts again
LSU guard Ryann Payne made her fourth straight start in place of the injured Alexis Morris (left knee MCL sprain), the Tigers' No. 2 scorer.
But Mulkey pulled Payne quickly in the first quarter for some instructional work on the bench, and Morris came in off the bench for a second straight game.
Payne played for the time since late February without a protective mask covering the broken nose since sustained in practice.
Both guards struggled from the field, with Morris shooting just 1-of-5 and Payne 2-of-8.