Kim Mulkey on 2024 season: 'I'm going to feel very proud'

On3 imageby:Andrew Graham04/02/24

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The 2023-24 season didn’t end exactly as No. 3 seed LSU would’ve hoped, falling short to No. 1 seed Iowa in the Elite Eight on Monday evening in a colossal showdown. But Tigers head coach Kim Mulkey won’t be hanging her head about the season or it’s ending.

Yes, the Tigers failed to defending the national title and yes, their season ended against the team LSU prevailed against in the national championship. And Mulkey wasn’t trying to pretend the loss didn’t sting plenty, but rather acknowledge there will be a time it has immense value.

And it’s ultimately a season that left Mulkey proud of the work her team had done.

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“Proud. I’m going to feel very proud,” Mulkey said postgame. “I’m going to think of the little things that we overcame, that put us in an Elite 8. You’re one game away from going back to the Final Four. I’m going to eventually think of how did we get here. How did we get here? What did we do as a team and as a staff to get to this moment?”

Mulkey also dove into the emotional dichotomy of the moment, with one team jubilant and hers left to tearfully answer postgame questions before returning to Baton Rouge.

But the head coach, again, was prideful in seeing her team that way.

“Only one team finishes the season happy, and boy, we got to do that last year,” Mulkey said. “Somebody will get to do it this year. But everybody else is going to come up here and be sad. You know, there’s nothing wrong with being sad. If you’re not sad, that means you didn’t invest much. So those tears are tears of investment.”

And in due time, Mulkey knows the loss to Iowa is one she and her players will learn from. Some will take their lessons to the WNBA. Others back to LSU for more hoops and some to life in general.

Mulkey shared that once the emotion starts to fade, she’ll be able to look back at the game clearly and take away lessons about what could’ve been done differently to give her squad a win.

“So basically I guess what I’m telling you is you learn,” Mulkey said. “You learn. I learn every day as a coach. I look at the stat sheet, and I just put a lot of little notes down there, and I’ll file it away and think about it when the emotion of the loss goes away. We shot the ball almost 20 times more than they did. So that’s the pace I’m talking about. Then you look at that second and especially the third quarter where we just missed shots. You’ll dissect things like that. Yeah, I could probably tell you a bunch of things you’ll dissect X’s and O’s-wise. Reverse the ball, just a little bit tougher in the moment, depth. I mean, you can just sit and talk all day about the game.”

But one thing that won’t be in question for Mulkey as she watches the tape back is the pride she feels in what her team got done this year.