March Madness: No. 3 LSU takes out No. 2 Utah, advances to 1st Elite Eight since 2008

GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 24: Angel Reese #10 of the LSU Lady Tigers reacts during the second half against the Utah Utes in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 24, 2023 in Greenville, South Carolina. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

LSU is headed to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2008, and it required an ending as dramatic as Kim Mulkey's jacket.

The No. 3-seeded Tigers defeated No. 2 Utah 66-63 in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament on Friday in Greenville, South Carolina, setting up a clash with No. 9 Miami on Sunday for a trip to the Final Four.

The matchup between the No. 3 and No. 4 programs in the country by offensive rating wasn't quite as high-flying as some other March Madness games this season, but the two sides kept it close all the way to the end. From five minutes left in the second quarter to five minutes left in the fourth, neither team took a lead larger than 5 points.

The game ultimately came down to free throws. LSU's Alexis Morris made two free throws with 10 seconds left to take a 64-63 lead, then Utah got the ball back and a foul on Angel Reese gave it a chance to take the lead back with free throws from Jenna Johnson.

Johnson, a career 70.4% free-throw shooter, missed both. Utah's Dasia Young managed to get the rebound, but Sa'Myah Smith got the steal and the ability to put LSU up 3 points. Utah got one more chance to tie the game with two seconds left, but a heavily contested 3-point attempt from Young clanked off the backboard.

Morris came up big at the end with 7 points in the final four minutes, but Reese and LaDazhia Williams made the biggest difference down low. Williams led all scorers with 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals, while Reese had 17 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks.

The performance was Reese's 31st double-double of the season, tying her for the most in SEC single-season history.

Foul trouble was a major issue for LSU. By the end of the game, every player to see a minute for the Tigers was either on the floor or fouled out, with Reese, Flau'jae Johnson and Kateri Poole all racking up five fouls.

The loss ends a dream season for Utah, which entered the season unranked but worked its way to a top-10 ranking. The Utes had already notched their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2006, but will have to continue to wait for their first Final Four in program history.