Wow! Just Wow! Two really good teams playing at a high level with State defeating LSU, 89-79.
I expected a little larger crowd, but as it was, the crowd was electric. Even Coach Lutz and his family attended the game sitting in section 14 near me. My seat is actually in Section 12, B-13, but I sit in Section 14, H-1 because it is less cramped and because I can better watch State's offense in the second half.
LSU is a really good shooting team, shooting just under 50% for the game. State shot just over 50% for the game, and shot over 60% in the second half. It's not hard to shoot a high percentage with Gatling on one's team. Gatling again had a great shooting night from the field going 11 of 13. It would be hard to find a better inside tandem in the ACC (including both the men's and women's teams) than Gatling and Burke, who each scored 25 points.
Part of Harper's problem was her recruiting; however, she did not recruit that poorly. Her problem was maturity as a coach. I wondered if Harper could coach inside players, and maybe that is true, as Gatling has certainly improved with Moore as her coach. Harper's teams also had a hard time against the zone press, but this current State team does much better against that defense. Since the players are the same, that has to be coaching.
Early LSU broke down State's defense scoring with short jumpers or open threes. However, State remained ahead due to good three point shooting and Burke being on fire. Then Gatling took over. The only way LSU could stop her was to let the refs do that. With Gatling's skill, refs should give her the same type of break that players of her caliber normally get. Let the ticky tacky stuff go.
While Pack fans voiced their anger over a number of calls, the refs called the game fairly, not including the Gatling fifth foul that was pure b.s. The call was on a turn around jumper of 8-10 feet (she made it of course) by Gatling. The call should have went the other way.
If one has read my articles in the past, one knows that in the past, I have wanted to stand and scream to Krystal Barrett "stop shooting." In the games I attended or watched this season, she seemed to have that problem under control. Tonight not so much. Barrett shot 1 for 7 hitting one layup and missing five three-point shots. Coach Moore finally sat her down. Barrett is a good defender, has very good ball handling skills and is fast, so she needs to play. Just stay away from three point shots and wild drives to the basket. Learn to shoot a short jumper.
In the end, great game to watch.