LSU women’s basketball is entering a new era this season under Hall of Fame Coach Kim Mulkey. One constant that LSU fans can look for is fifth-year senior Khayla Pointer. Pointer enters this season just outside of the top-20 for career scoring and fifth in career assists for the Tigers.
Before the season I asked Pointer what the difference is that LSU fans can look for this season. She simply said, “Fun.” According to Pointer, they have been practicing new fun, electric plays more than ever this off-season. And for the fans in attendance for the 82-40 opening day victory for the Mulkey era, that’s exactly what they got.
Fun. It’s going to be a word to follow all season with this new LSU women’s basketball team. Next to the media, sat a couple of classes of kids who certainly don’t know that LSU hasn’t won the SEC since before any of them were born. All they know is what they saw on the court, and around them in the media. All they know is Kim Mulkey’s basketball team. That was plenty for them to scream their heads off in excitement for four quarters.
I think we can learn a lot from them as we enter into this new era. LSU can’t expect to win a NCAA championship in year one, but let’s have fun with the foundation being built in Baton Rouge. I mean, Kim Mulkey isn’t making that a very hard task through one game.
To do that--to transport ourselves into the mindset of those kids on a field trip, we need to ask ourselves: What is fun? Is three point shooting fun? The Tigers finished 276th in Division I three-point shooting last year, connecting on 27.92% of attempts. Throughout the off-season, LSU’s players reassured us that they had shooters and they would be better this year. They followed through on that promise in game one, bumping that number up to 42.9% with 6 made threes.
Personally, I find defense very fun. I know Mulkey does too. LSU’s players came to play defense today. They held Nicholls to their lowest points total since Dec. 3, 2019. I told this to Mulkey post-game, and she was unaware of the uncharacteristically low point total for Nicholls. I asked her what she liked about the defensive effort.
“I like that stat,” she laughed. But she loved the effort that her players showed. “Can we keep up the scoring in the 80's? I don’t know. But what I do know is that every game we can come out and play defense.”
Winning by a lot? Totally fun. LSU won by 42, their largest margin of victory since Dec. 11, 2018.
So far, I think Pointer has followed through on her promise of fun. I’m sure she had fun becoming the third player in LSU Women’s Basketball history to record a triple double, and I'm sure her teammate Faustine Aifuwa had fun scoring her 1,000th career point as an LSU Tiger. I asked Pointer about having fun after the game, and she confirmed.
“When we’re out there playing like that," she said, "it’s impossible to not have fun.”