Conway, S.C. — The 5th seeded Louisville Cardinals narrowly defeated the 4th seeded NC State Wolfpack, 59-58. The Cardinals will advance to the semifinals to face the winner of Notre Dame and Virginia.
The first quarter was a battle from beyond the arc. Both teams combined for 7 made triples. For the Cardinals, Asia Durr knocked down three to account of 9-of Louisville’s- 18 first quarter points. While Miah Spencer fired off two and Ashley Wilson and Dominique Williams connected on one a piece.
NC State dominated the first period. The Wolfpack did not commit a single turnover, but forced 4 Louisville turnovers. NC State was able to capitalize on Louisville’s mistakes grabbing 4-points off the 4 turnovers. The Wolfpack also controlled the glass, holding an 8-6 advantage over the Cardinals.
NC State was able to sprint out to an 8-0 run as Spencer connected on two from the charity stripe, followed by a triple and Dominique Williams added a triple of her own. The Wolfpack took a 19-10 lead.
But, Louisville’s silence was broken as Durr fired off her third three-pointer of the period.
Despite shooting 54% (7-of-13) from the field and (3-of-6) 50% from beyond the arc, the Cardinals trailed by as much as 10 points.
At the end of the first period, Louisville trailed 28-18.
The Wolfpack’s momentum continued in the second quarter as Wilson and Spencer picked up 4 quick points. NC State But, the momentum shifted as NC State senior Jennifer Mathurin went down with what appeared to be an injury to her leg or ankle. Mathurin was immediately taken back to the locker room to be evaluated.
Without Mathurin, the Wolfpack struggled offensively. The Cardinals were able to take advantage of NC State’s offensive woes. Louisville’s defense locked in holding the Wolfpack scoreless for nearly 4:00. The Cardinals racked up 6 unanswered points to cut the lead, 32-24.
Spencer broke NC State’s scoring drought, but Louisville’s defense, again, locked down. The Cardinals closed out the first half behind a 14-2 run.
Louisville outscored NC State, 14-6, in the second period. However, NC State held a slight advantage, 34-32.
Louisville shot 48% in the first half and 40% from beyond the arc. The Cardinals were led by Durr,who racked up 21 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including four three-pointers.
However, the Cardinals struggled to hold on to the ball. Louisville committed 11 turnovers in the first half, allowing the Wolfpack to pick up 8-points off turnovers.
The Cardinals struck first in the third quarter as Myisha Hines-Allen drove to the bucket for two. But, a foul sent Wilson to the line to convert a three-point play.
NC State was able to fight back to regain a 3-point lead. The momentum shifted back into the Cardinals favor as Spencer picked up her third foul with 5:46 remaining in the third period. Without Mathurin and Spencer in foul trouble, the Wolfpack struggled.
Louisville, however, picked up 9 unanswered points to take a 47-43 lead. The Cardinals hit 4-of its previous-4, while holding NC State scoreless for more than 5:00.
The Wolfpack picked up three quick points at the end of the third period. At the end of three, the Cardinals held a slight advantage, 47-46.
A foul sent Nelson to the line early in the fourth to hit two from the charity stripe. But, Hines-Allen grabbed four points as the Cardinals extended their lead to 3-points.
Both teams went an extended period without scoring. But, a triple from Wilson pushed NC State ahead, 58-57, with 56 seconds remaining.
However, a foul committed by DD Rogers put Hines-Allen on the line to shoot two with 19 seconds remaining. Hines-Allen banked both free-throws giving Louisville a one point advantage, 59-58.
The Wolfpack got the ball in Spencer’s hands. Spencer hit the last second shot in the regular season game to give NC State the win. However, this time, it was not in the cards for Spencer.
Louisville narrowly defeated NC State, 59-58, to advance to the ACC Semifinals.
The Cardinals connected on 20 field goals for 43% shooting, including 4 three-pointers. Louisville struggled to hold on to the ball, turning the ball over 17 times. However, Louisville controlled the glass, out rebounding NC State, 36-25.
The Cardinals had two players notch double-figures: Asia Durr paced Louisville racking up 28 points on 8-of-19 shooting. Durr knocked down all four of Louisville’s triples. Myisha Hines-Allen earned a double-double putting up 16-points and pulling down 10 boards.
The Cardinals will tip off against the 1st seeded Notre Dame on Saturday at noon.