During the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament championship game, head coach Kim Mulkey of the LSU Lady Tigers conversed with Kateri Poole about their match with the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Following the Tigers’ victory over Louisiana-Lafayette on Sunday, coach Kim Mulkey announced that Kateri Poole has left the LSU basketball team.
Regarding whether it was a consensual agreement, a dismissal, or Poole’s decision, Mulkey remained silent.
So what exactly is the matter, and how do the Tigers plan to proceed with the loss of their key player?
What happened to Kateri Poole?
Kateri Poole has left the LSU basketball team. The announcement comes after their win over the Iowa Hawkeyes. Poole began each of the team’s six NCAA Tournament games at the
Tigers’ final season, when they won a national championship. She played in all 35 of the Tigers’ games during the previous campaign, averaging 22 minutes per game, 4.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists.
She made four appearances for the Tigers this season until Mulkey made her absence from the squad known.
The Thanksgiving games versus Niagara and Virginia were played in the Cayman Islands, although neither Poole nor Angel Reese travelled there.
Following the loss of starting sophomore forward Sa’Myah Smith to a season-ending knee injury seven games into the season, Poole becomes the second important player the Tigers will be without for the remainder of the year.
Guard Hailey Van Lith, a senior, was also out for the Tigers’ matchup with Louisiana-Lafayette in order to treat plantar fasciitis.
Without Poole, what are the Tigers missing?
Despite starting each tournament game during LSU’s championship run, Poole was by no means the most important guard/wing in the Tigers’ lineup.
Last-Tear Poa was a superior defender, Flau’jae Johnson was a more effective driver, and Jasmine Carson scored a lot to lead LSU in the title game.
Poole was never going to be more of a need in the Tigers’ run for a repeat, as Johnson, Poa, and rookie Mikayla Williams all started this season ahead of Poole in the rotation.
Does LSU need to be concerned about this?
Poole’s significant contributions to the LSU championship run were off the court. Instead, it was she who gave Reese a call and persuaded her to travel to Baton Rouge when Reese used the transfer portal in 2022.
The most outstanding player from the 2023 Final Four might not have worn a Tigers uniform if it weren’t for Poole’s support.
Even though Reese has returned to LSU following her inexplicable departure, it’s important to keep a watch on the team dynamics now that she doesn’t have her transfer buddy. Poole seemed to be Reese’s greatest friend on the team.