Snow forces LSU women’s game to Friday

Slick roads and near-whiteout conditions from heavy snow blanketing central Missouri postponed the LSU women’s basketball game Thursday night at Missouri.

Officials announced the game was moved to 1 p.m. Friday.

The decision, reached by school and Southeastern Conference officials, came down at roughly 4:30 p.m. with more than 9 inches of snow on the ground in Columbia, Mo., and a forecast calling for more accumulation into the early evening.

The snow, which reportedly fell at 2 to 3 inches per hour in the early afternoon, left crews scrambling to clear major roads in the college town of roughly 110,000 residents.

“The Mizzou Women’s Basketball program appreciates the support of our fans, but we understand that your safety is most important,” MU said in a statement. “If you decide to venture out tonight, please travel safely.”

LSU (15-10, 6-6) is on a two-game winning streak and trying to improve its prospects on the NCAA tournament bubble after sitting at No. 55 in the Ratings Percentage Index, according to collegerpi.com.

The Lady Tigers flew into Columbia Regional Airport, then bused 12 miles north along Highway 63 to its hotel, LSU spokesman Bill Martin said. The issue was trying to navigate a team bus the remaining 3 miles to Mizzou Arena with Stadium Boulevard — a major north-south road in Columbia — covered in snow and plows focusing their efforts on Interstate 70 and Highway 63.

The heavy snowfall started at roughly 8 a.m. and forced the university to cancel classes. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon also declared a state of emergency for the entire state.

Emergency crews had trouble reaching accidents because of abandoned cars and vehicles stuck in roadways, according to a report by the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Aside from treacherous conditions reaching Mizzou Arena, the officiating crew for the game also faced potential issues reaching Columbia after flying into St. Louis. Around 3 p.m., the Missouri Department of Transportation reported that all four lanes of I-70 along a three-mile stretch east of Columbia were closed for several hours as plows tried to clear a path, meaning the major access point into the city was effectively shut off.

By playing Friday, LSU and Mizzou (15-11, 4-8) face a quick turnarounds for Sunday matchups. Missouri, which has lost three in a row since upsetting No. 9 Tennessee, travels to Auburn for a 2 p.m. tipoff, and LSU hosts No. 8 Kentucky at the same time Sunday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.