LSU sets scoring records. But the points came from an unlikely source.

Louisiana State scored 32 points in the second quarter of the Women’s NCAA Championships, setting a tournament record for most points in a quarter. At the end of the half, the Tigers had 59 points, setting another record for most points in a half. They posted another at the buzzer, with the most points scored in a tournament game, as they beat Iowa 102-85.

LSU can thank Jasmine Carson for that.

Carson, a 5-foot-10 guard from Memphis who is in her senior year of eligibility with the Tigers, led LSU in Sunday’s championship game with 22 points, nearly all of which came in the first half with a barrage of 3 points after coming into the game as a reserve when the team’s leader Angel Reese ran into trouble.

She made all five of her three-point shots in the half, including a bench shot at the halftime buzzer that left the gold-and-purple clad fans at the American Airlines Center on their feet.

It was a turn of events worthy only of the NCAA tournament. Iowa and Caitlin Clark, the nation’s top 3-point shooter, lost to LSU and his flurry of perimeter shots from a breakaway athlete few had heard of before Sunday afternoon. In her perfect first half, Carson had one 3-pointer than Clark in five fewer tries, hitting all seven of her shots and both of her free throws.

Carson said when she woke up on Sunday she was winning and ready to “do anything” her team needed. She delivered, and then some.

“This is the game of my life,” said Carson. “I won a national championship on the biggest podium possible.”

LSU coach Kim Mulkey has consistently called her team a big puzzle, with nine transfer players. Carson, one such transfer, had started 30 games this season before being relegated to bench minutes during the tournament. But she was the 3-point leader of that puzzle this season.

“She can just light it,” Mulkey said.

Carson came to LSU this season after two years at West Virginia, where she shot 45.3 percent last season. She also spent two years at Georgia Tech.

But she wanted to end her college career under Mulkey.

“I worked hard all my life and I came to LSU to contribute and win a national title,” said Carson. “I wanted to play for the Hall of Fame coach and play with great players.”

“I couldn’t have wished for a better ending than for it to end like this,” she added.

Mulkey said the Tigers won the game in the second quarter with Carson, Last-Tear Poa and Sa’Myah Smith leading as all three “got in there and extended the lead and scored with Iowa” as the Tigers grew. their lead to 17 at the half. “I thought: this is going to be a fun evening. Not only did they keep it close, they moved in and attacked.

Surprisingly, Carson’s first half offense gave way to a much quieter second, in which she played just 10 minutes and missed her lone field goal attempt. She hit one of two free throws to increase her team leader’s scoring total by one point, as Mulkey mainly returned to Reese and the rest of the starters to clinch the win.

Reese, who was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, said the win was “bigger than her,” and she credited the team’s success to the “supporting cast,” including Carson, adding: “Everyone played a part this weekend. .” Carson was also named to the team for all tournaments.

Alexis Morris, a fifth-year point guard, said she gave Carson clear instructions after nailing her first few shots on Sunday.

“Stay there, stay locked in, whatever headroom you’re in right now, don’t check out, just stay ready,” Morris said after the game. “She gave us a huge spark from the bench today. She was the game-changer tonight.”

Carson heard Morris loud and clear.

“I just lived in the moment. Usually I don’t even celebrate after I take a shot, but tonight I’m just letting it go,” she said. “I just had to get it out, you know. I had nothing to lose.”