LSU WBB's 2023-24 roster: Can the Tigers repeat?

LSU WBB's 2023-24 roster: Can the Tigers repeat?

In women’s basketball, Division I teams are allotted 15 scholarships, but most fall short of that number for one reason or another. At this moment, LSU is at 13, but after the two transfer portal additions could they be set for the 2023-24 season?

Over the past month, the Tigers have become the top team in the country for next season, less than six weeks removed from winning the national title.

With 13 players on board and the roster appearing set, let’s take a look at what head coach Kim Mulkey has to work with in the coming season and the newfound strengths of this roster.

Returners

angel-reese-records-her-34th-double-double-the-most-in-a-single-season-in-womens-college-basketball-history
(Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Angel Reese: A returning All-American, the MVP of the Tigers’ championship run, and one of the most polarizing figures in college sports right now. Reese averaged 23 points and 15.4 boards last year. A dominant force in the game right now.

Flau’Jae Johnson: The 2023 SEC freshman of the year, Johnson bought in defensively and became an elite wing defender while letting the offense come to her. She will be expected to take a step forward as a sophomore and become more efficient.

Kateri Poole: A huge piece of the title run with her defense, 3-point shooting, and ball handling, Poole is going to once again be a huge piece for the Tigers in 2023 at the guard position. Ended 2022-23 season as the best shooter on the team at 45 percent from deep.

S’Myah Smith: Showed a ton of potential as a freshman last year, especially with her defensive energy. Smith has really nice tough around the rim and was able to step out and hit the mid-range jumper as well. Another young player who will be even better this year.

  Todd Gurley II Is Taking the Leap

Last-Tear Poa: The steady-handed point guard who was able to get LSU into its offense and set up her teammates well. A really good role player that I know Mulkey is excited to get back.

Alisa Williams: A 6-foot-2 forward who didn’t get on the court much as a true freshman, but was a skilled big coming out of Texas and will look to develop and earn minutes as a sophomore.

Amani Bartlett: A 6-foot-3 forward who has spent two seasons at LSU in a reserve role. Mulkey gave her spot minutes when the starters got into foul trouble, but Bartlett will also be looking for more minutes.

Transfer additions

Hailey Van Lith-LSU Tigers-LSU Basketball-Adidas-Nike-NIL
Provided by LSU athletics

Hailey Van Lith: One of the premier scorers in the country and the No. 1 player in the transfer portal, Van Lith immediately helps replace Alexis Morris’ offense at the guard position. A fiery competitor who can score from all three levels.

Aneesah Morrow: A third-team All-American selection, Morrow was the No. 2 player available in the portal. Coming off of a season averaging 25.7 points and over 12 rebounds, Morrow adds even more scoring potential to the Tigers’ roster in 2023.

Freshmen

LSU WBB's 2023-24 roster: Can the Tigers repeat?
Courtesy Team USA

Mikaylah Williams: The No. 2 ranked player in the 2023 class, but in reality, Williams has performed the best of any player in her class at the various All-American showcases. Her 6-foot-1 build and quality strength give her the foundation to play right away and the 3-point shot is already elite. She’s going to have an incredible career at LSU.

Aalyah Del Rosario: The No. 7 player in the 2023 class, Del Rosario stands at 6-foot-5 and has shown a quality jump shot, good rebounding foundation, and good understanding for the game. She still can improve her finishing around the rim, but her upside is huge for this team.

  2024 Kia Telluride Review: Square-jaw style, sensible shoes practicality

Angelica Velez: Perhaps the most underrated player in this freshman class, Velez is ranked as the No. 44 player in the country, but when you watch her tape, you see a potential star. The 5-foot-7 point guard is incredibly strong, has a great handle, and is comfortable from deep. We’ll have to see how she factors into the Tigers’ guard rotation this year.

Janae Kent: A 6-foot-1 wing out of Oak Forest, Illinois, Kent is the No. 73 player in the class and a player who can impact the game in a variety of ways. Mulkey wanted to get bigger on the perimeter and Kent provides that along with her scoring upside.

Overall thoughts on this roster

This team is clearly more potent offensively, now with three players who averaged more than 19 points per game last year in Reese, Van Lith, and Morrow. LSU has three of the top 15 players in the country. Around those three you have Williams, Poole, and Johnson who all play their roles. It’s going to be the best offense in the country once they all come together and adjust to each other’s games.

On the other end, the interior defense is not going to be as good after losing LaDahzia Williams, but the hope is for Smith and Del Rosario to come in and play the five to take some pressure off Reese on defense. Additionally, losing Alexis Morris on the perimeter is noteworthy. We saw how effective she was in the Final Four and while Van Lith has great intensity, she’s not as quick as Morris was on defense.

  Santa Clara University 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Guide

Still, there are plenty of capable defenders who will allow this team to be more switchable and active. The rebounding with Morrow and Reese will be dominant against most teams, but I do wonder how they matchup with Kamilla Cardoso when they play South Carolina.

As I’ve mentioned before, even if the defense takes a slight step back, the offense has the potential to average 90 points per game and bludgeon most teams in the country.

The stage is set for LSU to be the No. 1 team in the country entering the season. They no longer will have the underdog role motivating them. They are now the hunted – and the hated. Mulkey has an incredibly challenging task ahead of her, but if she can get this team on the same page, the Tigers will be in position to win it all yet again.