LSU Women’s Basketball Makes Unwanted History on Opening Night

LSU Women’s Basketball Makes Unwanted History on Opening Night
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The LSU Tigers did something no defending NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament champion has done since the mid 1990s on Monday, with no one around Baton Rouge popping the bubbly this time around.

Kim Mulkey’s team found itself on the wrong end of an opening night loss at the hands of Colorado, who marched into Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena and handed the Tigers a 92-78 defeat.

In falling on the opening night of the season, LSU became the first defending champion since UConn in 1996 to lose their first regular season game the following season, with the Huskies doing so against Louisiana Tech. It also sent a jolt to hard core Louisiana sports betting fans. Two Colorado players finished the night with at least 20 points, as Frida Formann dropped 27 and teammate Aaronette Vonleh added 24 more.

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Last 10 Women’s Champs on Opening Night

Year Defending Champ Opening Night Result
2023LSUColorado 92, LSU 78
2022South CarolinaSouth Carolina 101, East Tennessee State 31
2021StanfordStanford 91, Morgan State 36
2019BaylorBaylor 97, New Hampshire 29
2018Notre DameNotre Dame 75, Penn 55
2017South CarolinaSouth Carolina 99, Alabama State31
2016UConnUConn 78, Florida State 76
2015UConnUConn 100, Ohio State 56
2014UConnUConn 102, UC Davis 43
2013UConnUConn 89, Hartford 34

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LSU In Bad Company After Monday’s Loss

By losing to the Buffs, LSU bucked Louisiana betting apps trends and became the first defending champ to lose on opening night since the Clinton administration and the first to fall against its first Power Five opponent since Stanford in 2021.

That year, the Cardinal were knocked off by Texas, 61-56, in a season that saw them reach the Final Four before falling to UConn, 63-58, to end their repeat quest. Prior to Monday night, the closest a defending champion came to losing since 2013 was when UConn beat Florida State 78-76 in 2016, which was the only single-digit victory during the timeframe.

Conversely, the largest margin of victory on opening night for a defending champ since 2013 was when South Carolina routed East Tennessee State, 101-31, in 2022.  

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How Loss Impacts LSU Title Odds

It seems like LSU’s loss to Colorado did little to move the needle, odds-wise, for the team going forward — with the Tigers’ title chances on FanDuel Sportsbook Louisiana going from +230 to open the year to +250 after Monday’s defeat.

The Tigers still stand far and away atop the NCAA women’s odds board, with UConn coming in at +600, while Iowa (+800), and South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Indiana (+1000 apiece) round out the top five nationally. LSU will look to get its feet under it the rest of the month with six straight games against unranked foes before it tangles with the Hokies at home on Nov. 30 in a game ESPN will air live nationally.

ESPN BET Louisiana lists the Tigers men’s basketball team championship odds at +8000. The LSU men opened their season Monday with a 106-60 win over Mississippi Valley State.



Christopher Boan writes for and has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, with experience at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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