Battle of the boards: LSU was not a particularly good rebounding team in the regular season. It wasn't a good rebounding team in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, either -- it was a great rebounding team in those games. The Lady Tigers played 31 games through the regular season and SEC tournament and had 71 more rebounds than their opponents. In two NCAA tournament games against Georgia Tech and West Virginia, they had 42 more rebounds than those teams. That's not all because of one player, but Danielle Ballard is responsible for a lot of it after the 5-foot-9 dynamo pulled down 32 rebounds in two games. When Louisville beat LSU handily in November, blowing the game open with a 32-8 run in the second half, it had a decisive advantage on the boards.
Home sweet home: Along with Penn State, LSU is one of two teams to go directly from playing two games on its own court to playing on an opponent's home court in the Sweet 16. That matters. LSU came up with its single biggest win of the season on the road when it won at Tennessee on Jan. 2, but it also heads to Louisville with a 6-7 record in true road games and a 12-4 record at home in Baton Rouge. Those losses include the game against the Cardinals. One stat that jumps out from their travels? LSU averaged 22.6 fouls per game away from Baton Rouge. In home/neutral games, it averaged just 18.8 fouls per game in the regular season and 18.5 in the first two rounds. We just mentioned Ballard. She had 34 fouls in 12 road appearances this season -- and 33 fouls in her other 20 games.
Shoni's show: If you want to see the maturation of Louisville's Shoni Schimmel as a basketball player, look at what she did in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. In a first-round game against Idaho in which Louisville just needed to avoid getting in its own way, she attempted just one 3-pointer, didn't commit a turnover and was involved enough to come up with 11 rebounds. Going head-to-head with Iowa's Samantha Logic on the road in the second round, Schimmel finished with seven assists and just one turnover in 34 minutes and got to the free throw line eight times. That's a master class in poise, and with the exception of some tough games against Connecticut (and who hasn't had those), that's pretty much what she has done all season. Now she's at home for the final weekend and has another pretty good lead guard to deal with in Jeanne Kenney. Can Schimmel keep letting the game come to her?