N.C.A.A. Women’s Tournament: UConn Passes an Early Test

It was the earliest exit for a team led by Kim Mulkey, who has won three national championships as a head coach, since 2008, when she was at Baylor. Ohio State advanced to the round of 16 for the first time since 2017 and will meet Texas on Friday.

The L.S.U. strategy of limiting Ohio State behind the arc held up in the first quarter, when the Buckeyes converted on just one of their four tries. But Ohio State’s 11-point run to close the period, including three layups by Jacy Sheldon off fast breaks, gave the Buckeyes a bit of swagger at L.S.U.’s home arena.

Ohio State’s 3-point machinery erupted in the second, when four players hit long shots and their team built three 9-point leads. L.S.U.’s offense also began to rumble at last, but its 18-point outburst put only so much of a dent into Ohio State’s lead, which stood at 8 at halftime.

The Buckeyes only strengthened their outing after the intermission, adding 23 in the third. And with the Louisiana governor, John Bel Edwards, watching from near midcourt, L.S.U., which rallied in the fourth quarter on Saturday to beat Jackson State, scrambled again late to try to narrow the gap. The Tigers scored 27 in the final period, with a last dose of offensive might from Khayla Pointer, the graduate student whose guard play has been central to L.S.U. for years. Pointer finished with 32 on Monday, by far the most of any Tiger.

Ohio State’s scoring hardly hinged on any one player. Three players — Sheldon, Taylor Mikesell and Rebeka Mikulasikova — recorded at least 12 points, with Sheldon leading the team with 23.

There had been plenty of fanfare, with the crowd also welcoming Matt McMahon, who had been hired Monday to coach the men’s basketball team after taking Murray State (31-3) to the second round of the N.C.A.A. tournament. The chants of “L.S.U.! L.S.U.!” echoed as the seconds ebbed away. By then, though, the game was too far gone.

Alan Blinder

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