Tonight LSU plays Rutgers in the first game of the 2007 NCAA Women’s Final Four for the right to go to the National Championship game. The Tigers are looking to dominate the paint on the back of Sylvia Fowles. The Scarlet Knights hope to stop LSU with their stifling defense.
6:33 pm: Wow. I’m shocked that Stacey Dales even knows what chopped & screwed hip hop is. She just used it to describe this matchup. These ESPN gimmicks piss me off.
6:37 pm: If you know you to rearrange the word “LOHIDAY”, you can win $15,000. Wow, that’s a tough one. If that’s not a scam, I don’t know what is.
6:42 pm: This is LSU’s fourth consecutive trip to the final four. They are building a dynasty in Baton Rouge. It’s too bad that the team’s architect won’t be coaching them anymore. As serious as the allegations are against Pokey Chatman, I was really looking forward to seeing her coach the Tigers for the next 20 years.
7:02 pm: Tonight’s announcing crew: Mike Patrick, Doris Burke, Mark Jones, and Holly Rowe. The lack of Erin Andrews is thoroughly disappointing. Still, it beats Jim Nantz and Billy Packer.
7:06 pm: C. Vivian Stringer’s motto: Feed yourself first. Now that’s a coach I can get behind.
7:07 pm: 3-0, Rutgers. Tamee Ajavon (#22) hits a three to open the game and give Rutgers the early lead.
In a game where 60 points will give you the win, LSU cannot afford to miss their free throws.
7:09 pm: 6-0, Rutgers. On the next possession, Epiphanny Prince gets three the hard way.
7:10 pm: 6-2, Rutgers. Fowles gets the ball inside and gets the easy layup. LSU seems to be trying to dictate a faster pace, which is uncharacteristic of them. Maybe they want to throw the Scarlet Knights off guard.
7:12 pm: The Tigers have given Rutgers quite a few early opportunities. If they don’t convert them, it could haunt them later.
Just as I say that, Heather Zurich hits a three. 9-2, Rutgers.
7:13 pm: 12-2, Rutgers. Essence Carson hits another three for the Scarlet Knights. As we hit the first official timeout, Rutgers is baffling LSU so far. Their defense leads to bad shots or turnovers, which in turn leads to opportunities on offense. LSU’s guards aren’t coming up to defend the three.
7:17 pm: LSU finally contests a three attempt, and Rutgers misses badly. Erika White gets a nice reverse layup on the next possession. 12-4, Rutgers.
7:19 pm: The Scarlet Knights have not allowed a single easy shot since Fowles’ first basket. Even when White was on a Tigers fast break, Rutgers caught up and stopped her from getting the layup. Ajavon hits the three on the next possession. 15-4, Rutgers.
7:21 pm: 18-6, Rutgers. Ajavon is on fire, as she hits another three.
Official timeout, 11:16 left. LSU’s three baskets have all been inside attacks. The guards need drive the ball inside more if LSU wants good scoring opportunities.
7:24 pm: The need to attack the inside increases for LSU, as Rutgers center Kia Vaughn is on the bench with 2 fouls.
7:25 pm: 18-9, Rutgers. LSU finally gets an outside shot, from White.
7:26 pm: 20-9, Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are running a clinic on how to stop the fast break.
7:28 pm: 23-13, Rutgers. If LSU is going to come back, it looks like it’s going to be on the shoulders of Sylvia Fowles’ defense and Erika White’s offense. However, it means nothing if the Tigers can’t defend the three.
7:34 pm: 25-15, Rutgers. 5’3″ Erika White is taking over for the Tigers. My mom would be proud.
7:36 pm: 27-16, Rutgers. LSU continues to struggle from the free throw line. Every point is magnified in a defensive game like this; the Tigers have to make those.
7:37 pm: What a block by Sylvia Fowles! Rutgers attempts a seemingly easy layup off a great pass, but Fowles comes out of nowhere to swipe the shot off the backboard.
7:39 pm: Official timeout.
7:42 pm: 29-16, Rutgers. LSU puts defensive pressure on Ajavon, but she creates space with a devastating crossover, and hits the fadeaway jumper. She has 11 in the first half.
7:42 pm: 31-16, Rutgers. The Tigers can’t control the defensive rebound, and Carson makes them pay.
7:44 pm: 37-16, Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are shooting lights out, and they’re bullying LSU on defense. As Just Call Me Juice would put it, Rutgers is playing like a team of density…err, destiny.
7:48 pm: As the first half ends, Rutgers leads, 37-19 at halftime. The Scarlet Knights are shooting very well from outside (8-11 from the bonusphere), but more importantly they’ve rendered Sylvia Fowles a non-factor, even though Kia Vaughn has spent most of the game on the bench. If LSU wants to come back, they must put pressure on Rutgers’ guards, do a better job of passing the ball and penetrating the defense. Even if they don’t shoot the ball well, they stand a chance of coming back if they can dominate the boards and not commit turnovers.
8:06 pm: 37-21, Rutgers. The second half starts, and Sylvia Fowles finally gets a good look and scores.
Erika White tries to score on the fast break, but 3 Rutgers players close in on her as she tries to make a layup. It’s nearly impossible to run a fast break on the Scarlet Knights.
8:09 pm: 37-21, Rutgers. RaShonta LeBlanc hits a three for the Tigers, only their second of the game.
8:13 pm: 39-24, Rutgers. Kia Vaughn gets the offensive rebound against three LSU players, scores the putback and draws the foul.
8:17 pm: Vaughn picks up her third foul. LSU needs to drive the lane.
Quianna Chaney hits a three for the Tigers. 39-27, Rutgers.
8:20 pm: Vaughn gets another offensive rebound.
Essence Carson looks like she’s hurt pretty bad.
8:22 pm: I can already tell that LSU is unlikely to come back from this one. Rutgers continues to dominate the boards, and that keeps you ahead even when the shots aren’t falling.
8:25 pm: 41-28, Rutgers. With 10:42 left in the game, Rutgers’ shooting has gone cold, but LSU hasn’t been able to take advantage of their good defense; they’ve been taking very bad shots in the second half.
8:28 pm: 43-28, Rutgers. Vaughn hits a tough shot inside, stretching the lead back to 15.
More than midway through the first half, neither team has scored in double digits.
8:32 pm: 45-28, Rutgers. 7:24 left.
If you look at the scoreboard, this may be one of the ugliest games I’ve seen in a while. But Rutgers has played great basketball in this game, preventing LSU from being effective at all.
8:36 pm: 50-28, Rutgers. More great passing by Rutgers, Brittany Ray hits an open three, and rutgers has taken their lead above 20 with less than seven minutes left.
8:37 pm: 50-31, Rutgers. LSU finally breaks their scoring drought, but it seems far too little, far too late at this point.
8:39 pm: 52-33, Rutgers, 4:56 left. The Scarlet Knights will know Tuesday if they have the best team in the nation. There is no doubt, however, that their players have the best names:
- Kia Vaughn
- Epiphanny Price
- Essence Carson
- Dee Dee Jernigan
- Matee Ajavon
- Rashidat Junaid
- Myia McCurdy
How can anyone compete with that? I challenge you to find a team with a better collection of player names.
8:47 pm: 56-35, Rutgers, 1:58 left. I didn’t think it was possible to render Sylvia Fowles useless, but Rutgers has done exactly that. Candace Parker, Erlana Larkins, and/or Camille Little will have a very hard time with this team.
8:52 pm: The game ends. Rutgers wins, 59-35 in an absolutely dominating performance. I cannot believe that such a good team could be bullied so badly with so much at stake.Rutgers will go to the National Championship game against the winner of Tennessee vs. North Carolina, which promises to be a much faster game. I’ll be liveblogging it at Tar Heel Mania.