The first two rounds of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament were to have wrapped up Monday were it not for the coronavirus outbreak forcing the cancellation of all collegiate sports for the rest of the spring.
At 20-10 overall (9-7 Southeastern Conference) the LSU Lady Tigers were poised to make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2018. ESPN women’s bracketologist Charlie Crème had LSU pegged as a No. 9 seed in the Dallas regional, taking on No. 8 Drake in a first-round matchup in Waco, Texas.
Would LSU have won to make it through to the second round against top-seeded Baylor? We’ll never know. All we do know is that the Lady Tigers have a long and storied history of success — and a little infamy — in their first- and second-round NCAA tournament games with a record of 30-12 overall.
Here’s a look at five of the most memorable first- and second-round games in LSU history:
No. 10 Lamar 93, No. 2 LSU 73
Second round/Midwest regional
March 17, 1991
For LSU, it will always be the “Big Bird game.”
The Lady Tigers were 24-6 and coming off their first SEC tournament championship to earn a No. 2 seed in the Midwest regional. That earned LSU a first-round bye and the right to host a second-round game against No. 10 Lamar in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Just one problem: The PMAC was already booked for a week-long run of the children’s stage show “Sesame Street Live.” So LSU had to play at Lamar before 9,143 screaming fans in the Montagne Center.
The result: Lamar poured in 53 second-half points to erase a 42-40 LSU halftime lead and win going away. “I’d be remiss if I didn’t compliment those 9,000 people in the stands,” LSU coach Sue Gunter said. “It did make a difference.”
They said it: “No, it’s not fair to those kids. It’s not fair to me. Hey, it’s not fair to Lamar. But you were here. Let’s face it.” — Gunter
No. 1 LSU 72, No. 16 FAU 48
First round/San Antonio regional
March 18, 2006
In her incomparable career, Seimone Augustus played 19 NCAA tournament games and led the Lady Tigers to the first three of their five straight Final Four appearances. This game against outmatched Florida Atlantic stood out as Augustus poured in 22 points on 10 of 17 shooting for her 128th career-double figure scoring game. The two-time national player of the year would go on to finish in double figures in 132 of her 140 LSU games.
The result: The win sent LSU on to a similarly easy 72-49 victory over Washington and into the Sweet 16. The Lady Tigers beat DePaul and Stanford in San Antonio before falling to Duke in the Final Four in Boston.
They said it: “If you ask my teammates they call that ‘The Shimmy.' ” — Augustus explaining a side-to-side move she used to freeze an FAU defender on a drive to the basket
No. 3 LSU 49, No. 11 West Virginia 43
Second round/Fresno regional
March 19, 2007
Playing in the aftermath of the resignation of coach Pokey Chatman over an alleged inappropriate sexual relationship with a player, the Lady Tigers found themselves on the ropes against a West Virginia team they routed 64-25 in the season opener. LSU trailed 34-25 with 12 minutes left before Quianna Chaney buried a 3-pointer from the end of the Lady Tigers’ bench, fueling a 12-0 run that allowed LSU to escape.
The result: LSU, playing under interim coach Bob Starkey, went to Fresno, California, and beat Florida State before dismantling Connecticut 73-50 in the regional final to return to the Final Four.
They said it: “I’ve been part of a lot of postseason runs, and teams that advance win games like this.” — Bob Starkey
No. 6 LSU 71, No. 3 Penn State 66
Second round/Spokane regional
March 26, 2013
Pete Maravich Assembly Center
A year earlier in the PMAC, Penn State outraced LSU 90-80 to reach the Sweet 16. This time with only seven healthy players, the Lady Tigers turned the tables on the Nittany Lions. Adrienne Webb led LSU with a career-high 29 points in her final home game, helping the Lady Tigers overcome the loss of point guard Jeanne Kenney to a head injury in the first round against Green Bay to spring the upset.
The result: LSU advanced to Spokane, Washington, for the Sweet 16 but fell 73-63 to a California team that advanced from there to the Final Four in New Orleans.
They said it: “We did not want our last game to be played with seven players. All seven of us got together and really came together and played for our fans. We also played for Jeanne because (she) has really been a leader for us.” — Adrienne Webb
No. 7 LSU 76, No. 2 West Virginia 67
Second round/Louisville regional
March 25, 2014
Pete Maravich Assembly Center
Once again, LSU found itself shorthanded against a higher-seeded team. Raigyne Moncrief went out with a knee injury in a 98-78 first-round win over Georgia Tech, and Kenney left with an injury with 12 minutes remaining. But led by 22 points from Danielle Ballard, the Lady Tigers rallied from a 63-56 deficit with 5:05 remaining to go on a 20-4 run, scoring on each of their last 10 possessions.
The result: LSU got 24 points and 10 rebounds from Ballard, her third straight NCAA tournament double-double. But without Kenney and Moncrief, the Lady Tigers were routed in the Sweet 16 by Louisville on its home court 73-47.
They said it: “They've shown time and time again, although our record did not reflect it, that they could play and beat some of the best teams in the country.” — LSU coach Nikki Fargas