Womens Basketball: Central Michigan vs LSU - D1SportsNet


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Womens basketball

Central Michigan vs LSU

LSU and Central Michigan have very different histories in the NCAA Tournament.

The Tigers are making their 26th appearance and have more Final Four trips (five) than the Chippewas have tournament appearances as they prepare to make their fourth.

But the teams have one thing in common this season and that's an eagerness to shake off an inability to get past the first round of the tournament. One team will get its wish and one won't when they meet Saturday morning at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Sixth-seeded LSU (19-9), which received an at-large bid for the second consecutive season, is making its sixth NCAA appearance in coach Nikki Fargas' seven seasons, but the Tigers haven't reached the second round since 2014 when they lost to Louisville in the round of 16.

LSU lost in the first round at South Florida (73-64) in 2015, missed the tournament for the only time under Fargas in 2016 and lost to California (55-52) in the first round last year in Waco, Texas.

"We had a quick exit last year," Fargas said. "We fell short, and it's a long road to get back. It's not easy to be one of those teams whose name is called."

Central Michigan knows that. The No. 11-seeded Chippewas (28-4), the Mid-American regular-season and tournament champions, are making their first NCAA appearance since 2013 as they seek their first victory in the tournament. They know first-round frustration in the Women's National Invitation Tournament as well, having gone 0-5 in that event.

"I don't want to do the two-step: One step in, one step out," Central Michigan coach Sue Guevara said. "I want to cha-cha a little bit. We want to go and show people that the MAC is a very, very good conference."

Whichever team does advance will face the winner of the game between No. 14 George Washington (19-13) and host No. 3 Ohio State (27-6) on Monday.

"I have one more shot," LSU senior guard Raigyne Louis said. "We're going to try to go far this time."

The Tigers will be challenged defensively as they try to advance. The Chippewas average 82.5 points per game and five of its players at least 10 points per game.

"They have a balanced attack," Fargas said of the Chippewas. "They can shoot the 3 and can score at a high rate."

LSU is 16-4 all time in the first round of the tournament.

"I am not going to change my approach because of who we're playing," Guevara said. "To me, that defeats everything that we've done all year long."

The Chippewas have won their last eight games and have just one loss since Dec. 21.

"Everyone on our team wants it," MAC Player of the Year Tinara Moore said. "We know this is our year, we have to do something big this year, and we're going to go far in this tournament."

This will be the first meeting between LSU and Central Michigan.