Kim Mulkey held her preseason press conference Monday afternoon where she addressed the media on roster moves, expectations, practice plans and more. LSU enters Year 2 of the Mulkey era, and after a dominant first season, it’s hard not to be excited about this upcoming year.
But it’s important to be patient. After losing a significant amount of depth from upperclassmen, Mulkey’s squad will take some time to gel and that’s why these next few weeks are important.
Here are a few takeaways from Mulkey’s press conference:
“Transfer portal is free agency”
Kim Mulkey went into the offseason with a plan. Looking to revamp her roster and add a few inside pieces, she did that beautifully via the transfer portal.
But there was another challenge she faced and that was to replace All-SEC guard Khayla Pointer. The dynamic point guard, who led the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament, took her talent to the WNBA, leaving LSU with no other option than to hit the transfer portal with force.
A large part of the team making such a huge jump in Year 1 under Mulkey was the veteran leadership this squad attained in the locker room. Whether it be Pointer, Autumn Newby, Faustine Aifuwa or Jailin Cherry, the seniors of this squad held it down for the Tigers.
This season, she hit the transfer portal to reel in talent. Ranging from All-American Angel Reese to shifty guard Kateri Poole, Mulkey nailed the transfer portal to grow this roster, stating that it’s like free agency the way programs can reel in players.
Angel Reese is the real deal
The 6-foot-3 forward was a force for the Terrapins throughout their 2021-21 season. Averaging 17.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, Reese’s inside presence is exactly what the Tigers need heading into next season.
A five-star recruit out of high school, Reese exceeded expectations once at the college level, becoming the first Maryland player to average a double-double since 1975. Her elite footwork paired with incredible size down low is what will give LSU the push they need in the paint.
“Angel is coming to Baton Rouge as one of the most dynamic players in the country,” Mulkey said. “She’s an outstanding scorer with a knack for rebounding that will make an immediate impact in our front-court.”
Excitement with the depth of this team
It’s no secret this team has the talent to be successful, it’s just a matter of putting it all together and Mulkey hinted at that through her presser. She spoke highly of freshman guard Flau’Jae Johnson and JUCO transfer Last-Tear Poa, who look to be key contributors to this backcourt.
The No. 1 JUCO prospect in the country, Poa led Northwest Florida to a NJCAA National Championship in her freshman campaign. With two years of JUCO ball under her belt, the 5-foot-11 forward gives the Tigers a sheer playmaker with exceptional ball-handling skills and vision for her size.
Mulkey has raved about Poa, even saying she draws comparisons to WNBA legend Diana Taurasi:
“Poa just brings excitement to the floor,” Mulkey said. “When the ball is in her hands, something good will happen. She is a big guard who can distribute it around the floor, and she has tremendous ball handling skills. Her game has a little bit of Diana Taurasi in it and Tiger fans are going to enjoy seeing her play.”