The No. 5 Louisville Cardinals held the No. 24 Michigan Wolverines to only 12 second half points to secure a 74-49 victory and a trip to the WNIT Championship. Louisville has knocked down two top 25 teams in five days.
The Cardinals started out slow as Myisha Hines-Allen was the nearly the only Louisville player to find the bottom of the net in the first half.
“The first half, I apologize to the fans, that was absolutely embarrassing,” Louisville head coach Jeff Walz said. “We did not play hard, we played very immature.”
Louisville had no answer for Katelynn Flaherty. Flaherty was on fire from beyond the arc connecting on four of Michigan’s five triples in the first period and five total in the first half. Asia Durr, on the other hand, could not buy a bucket. Michigan blocked Durr out, keeping her from getting comfortable with a shot. Durr was able to pick up five points in the first 20 minutes, scoring on a jumper and getting fouled on a three-pointer. However, Hines-Allen ultimately kept the Cardinals in the game with her 14 points.
Aside from shooting 67% from beyond the arc, Michigan controlled the defensive glass. The Wolverines pulled down 13 defensive rebounds limiting the Cardinals to only six offensive boards.
Coach Walz was not pleased with Louisville’s rebounding in the first half.
“When the ball goes through the net and you get it, it doesn’t count as a rebound.” Coach Walz said in the post game interview. “We had a lot of those in the first half.”
The Cardinals were able to convert eight Wolverine turnovers into 11 points, which was essentially the best part of Louisville’s first half effort.
Louisville trailed Michigan by five at the half, 37-32.
It is unknown what Coach Jeff Walz said in the locker room during halftime, but Louisville looked like a different team in the third period.
“It was a great second half of basketball,” Coach Walz said. “We came out with passion, with some fight.”
Michigan was unable to score, starting off 0-of-5 from the field and turning the ball over five times. The drought forced Flaherty to cool off. She was visibly frustrated as she went to the line to miss two free throws. The Wolverines did not score until the 4:06 mark when Flaherty was finally able to connect on a layup. Michigan went on another scoring drought for two minutes.
The Cardinals held the Wolverines to 2 field goals, while forcing 10 turnovers. Louisville went on to rack up 19 points behind Durr and Hines-Allen’s combined 10 points.
The final period was no different. Louisville continued to offensively dominate Michigan. While defensively, the Cardinals, again, limited the Wolverines to just two made field goals.
Michigan only scored 12 points in the second half on 19% shooting from the field. The Wolverines biggest struggle was turning the ball over. Louisville converted 15 turnovers into 13 points. Michigan looked exhausted and overwhelmed in the second half.
Louisville outscored Michigan, 42-12 in the second half to secure a 74-49 victory.
The Cardinals had two players notch double-figures: Myisha Hines-Allen paced Louisville with 19 points on 50% shooting from the field. Hines-Allen also grabbed eight rebounds and two assists. Asia Durr added 13 points, five rebounds and two assists.
For the Wolverines, two players notched double-digits: Katelynn Flaherty led all scorers with 23 points, knocking down 5-of-6 three-pointers, while Hailey Brown added 10 points.
The No. 5 Louisville Cardinals will face the winner of No. 10 Oregon Ducks and No. 18 Texas A&M on Sunday in the preseason WNIT Championship.