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Flau’jae Johnson, the 2023 SEC Freshman of the Year, led the LSU Tigers to a 78-69 victory over the UCLA Bruins in the Sweet 16. Johnson’s team-best 24 points helped the defending national champions secure a spot in the Elite Eight for the second consecutive season. Angel Reese also played a key role in the win, recording her 26th double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Despite trailing by three points in the fourth quarter, LSU went on a 14-2 run to close out the game and secure the win. LSU will face the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Elite Eight, a team they defeated in last season’s national championship game.

LSU led by seven points at halftime, but struggled with their 3-point shooting early in the game. The Bruins made a comeback in the second half, hitting four of their next five 3-point attempts to take the lead. However, LSU responded with an 11-2 run to regain control of the game. Flau’jae Johnson had two early 3-pointers in the first half and helped spark an 8-0 run that put LSU up by seven points. The Bruins struggled from behind the arc, making just one of 16 shots before halftime.

LSU coach Kim Mulkey shrugged off a piece released ahead of the Sweet 16 game that profiled rifts during her career, stating that she hadn’t read it. The team remains focused on their goal of becoming the first team in NCAA Division I women’s basketball to win back-to-back national titles since the UConn Huskies achieved the feat in 2016. Despite facing a tough challenge from UCLA, LSU showed resilience and determination to secure the win and advance to the Elite Eight. The Bruins, who have made 19 NCAA Tournaments and been in the Sweet 16 nine times, have struggled to advance to the regional finals in recent years.

LSU’s impressive performance in the Sweet 16 showcased their ability to overcome adversity and come together as a team when it mattered most. Flau’jae Johnson’s standout performance, along with Angel Reese’s double-double, played a crucial role in the team’s victory over UCLA. With their sights set on another national championship, LSU will face the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Elite Eight. While the Bruins have a strong history of making it to the Sweet 16, they have struggled to advance further in recent years. LSU’s victory over UCLA demonstrated their determination to defend their national title and continue their successful season.

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