all scores

Mikaylah Williams: LSU coach Kim Mulkey is ‘staying on my tail’

Mikaylah Williams scored the most points by an LSU freshman in the NCAA era on Tuesday. (Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports)

No. 2 recruit Mikaylah Williams has had an eye-popping start to her freshman campaign, including a 42-point performance in LSU’s win over Kent State on Tuesday.

Williams’ 42 points were the most scored by an LSU freshman in the NCAA era and the second-most all-time. For the 18-year-old guard, it “all starts in practice.”

“How you practice is how you play,” she said. “Coach Mulkey has been riding me and riding me and staying on my tail about working hard and effort. So that in practice showed to the game today.”

Mulkey has known what Williams is capable of since recruiting her out of Parkway High School in Shreveport, La. A consensus top-two prospect in the Class of 2023, Williams was a big get for the Tigers.

“I’ve been riding her because I don’t think she knows how good she is. You saw today what she’s capable of doing,” Mulkey said. “She’s a special talent. I guess it’s just those moments where you feel that rim is as big as the ocean.

“I want to be that coach that pushes her beyond the limits. I think you’re just seeing her scratch the surface.”

The hard work is paying off for Williams, who had never scored more than 35 points in a game before Tuesday.

“I work hard for putting out what I put out,” she said. “I applaud my teammates for finding the hot hand and helping me get to this success.”

Williams has been a bright spot for LSU, who came into the year with sky-high expectations as the reigning NCAA champions and have dealt with early-season adversity. Ranked No. 1 to start the season, the Tigers lost their opener to then-No. 20 Colorado. Then Mulkey held star Angel Reese out of the second half of the Kent State game, calling it a “coach’s decision,” and drama surrounding the team erupted on social media this week.

Through the challenges, LSU players are trying to stick together and find positives, such as the play of freshman Williams.

“It makes me feel good to get Mikaylah a pass and see her score,” LSU teammate Aneesah Morrow added after the Kent State game. “I get to see the work that Mikaylah puts in every day. It’s a nonstop thing. She’s very consistent and works hard every day. To see that pay off is amazing.”