DALLAS — Alexis Morris scored 27 points and had two of her misses in the fourth quarter turned into putback baskets by Angel Reese in a big run as LSU rallied to beat top-seeded Virginia Tech 79-72 in the national semifinal game Friday night.
Reese finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds for LSU (33-2), which is going to the national championship game for the first time. It comes in the second season since feisty and flamboyantly dressed coach Kim Mulkey returned to her home state to take over a Tigers program that lost five consecutive national semifinal games from 2004-08 the only other times they made it this far.
LSU will play Sunday against the winner of the South Carolina-Iowa semifinal.
Mulkey, who won three national titles in four Final Four appearances over her 21 seasons at Baylor, is only the second coach to take two different teams to the national championship game. The other was C. Vivian Stringer, with Cheyney in the inaugural 1982 women’s tournament and Rutgers in 2007.
Trailing 59-50 after three quarters, LSU went ahead with a 15-0 run over a five-minute span in the fourth period. They led for the first time since late in the first half when Falu’jae Johnson had a steal and drove for a layup to make it 64-62.
Reese had six points in that game-turning spurt, including a basket after Morris’ attempted 3-pointer clanked off the front rim. Reese had a second-effort follow of her own miss after rebounding another miss by Morris.
Elizabeth Kitley had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Virginia Tech (31-5), the ACC champion that was in the Final Four for the first time.