Kim Mulkey says she “looks at the self-confidence” in her LSU team; here is the continuation | LSU

It may be too early to say that Kim Mulkey’s efforts to revive a once-proud LSU women’s basketball program are well ahead of schedule, but it’s clear the Tigers have taken a giant leap forward this week. last.

LSU’s 69-60 victory on Thursday came against Iowa State, a perennial NCAA tournament team and a regular resident of the top tier of the Top 25, no one brawls in the 20’s. The game was sometimes tight, but LSU was leading from half-time in the second quarter and the win can be called decisive.

With 11 days off due to final exams, Mulkey can continue to tinker with her fledgling creation and come out of her break like a juggernaut, maybe even classified. LSU won six places too early ranking at No. 6. Better yet, Iowa State moved up two spots to No. 20 with the loss.

LSU returns to action against Texas Southern on Dec. 12 in the PMAC. At 6-1, LSU is in good shape to surpass last year’s nine-game winning streak before the end of the month. Ten wins is one of Mulkey’s “celebration” milestones, along with beating a ranked team, going up and making the NCAA tournament.

Mulkey said she knew her team weren’t ready to face an opponent like the Florida Gulf Coast in their second game of the season, but the Tigers responded as they grew together thanks in training and in the first three weeks of the season.

“We did not allow this (loss) to defeat us,” Mulkey said. “We continued to grow and challenge them in practice. When you see some success, like going to Puerto Rico. … we played very badly at UL (November 18, a 70-41 win) but we kept hanging on, trying to grind. By watching self-confidence build and put these kids in a position where they understand you are good, we can win these games.

“We celebrated the victory over Mizzou State. We’re going to celebrate tonight, ”Mulkey said Thursday. “Why wouldn’t we do it?” And we will celebrate the victory of this 10th game, and when we have this winning season. All of those things add up and maybe we get the NCAA offer. This is how you build it.

Build a fan base

Another goal for Mulkey is to bring the crowds back to the level of the last four years of 2004-08, and she’s off to a good start. Season ticket sales are around 4,500, and Thursday’s crowd was estimated at 5,800 for an 8 p.m. whistleblower, competing in a televised New Orleans Saints game against the Dallas Cowboys.

It was probably the biggest crowd in the past five years, and players have taken notice.

“They impact us as we impact them,” said senior transfer Alexis Morris, who recorded a career-high 25 points. “We need our fans. Without our fans, I don’t know if we would have had the kick we had tonight. We appreciate them.

Khayla Pointer, who had 20 points, led the rest of her teammates into the student section to celebrate the victory.

“I see the boys going over there after their games and saying hello,” Pointer said. “Even seeing them lined up on the outside before the game was exciting. We feed off the fans. There’s a different energy inside PMAC, especially when we’re going to run.

Cherry OK

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LSU was scared when fifth-year senior starting goalie Jailin Cherry’s left knee buckled as she drove for a breakaway layup in the second quarter. Mulkey said Cherry was fine and was allowed to return to the game, although she did not.

“It looked like this might be what we all fear,” Mulkey said. “I told him over there, ‘Whatever it is, it’s fixable. We will get your year back. We’ll do the waiver and everything. Turn around and let them examine you. “

To beat

Mulkey and Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly have a long history on the opposing sidelines and a strong friendship off the field. Fennelly, her son Billy and grandson Will are all die-hard St. Louis Cardinals baseball fans. Ahead of Thursday’s game, Mulkey presented senior Fennelly with a bat and ball for Will, signed by son Kramer Robertson, a Cardinals infielder and former LSU All-American.

The generosity ended there as the Tigers handed the Cyclones their first loss in eight games, improving Mulkey’s record against Fennelly to 31-6.

Flamboyant blazer

Fans and viewers on Thursday noticed Mulkey’s sequined blazer, adorned with large colorful butterflies. It hardly held up, she said, as she tore the back of the right shoulder with her fist excitedly during the game.

After the final horn sounded, she was sprayed with water during the victory celebration.

“They’re going to pay for this jacket,” Mulkey joked. “It’s not against NCAA rules. It is worth anything that gets wet.

Pointer wasn’t sure the party bath was a good idea for their first year coach.

“When they got the idea, I was like, ‘Are you sure you all want to do this? “”

Coach to coach

Mulkey also visited the pre-game with newly hired football coach Brian Kelly, who stayed an extra day after his introductory press conference after Mulkey extended an informal invitation on Tuesday. The two coaches exchanged a double high-five.

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