No. 3 Louisville’s first half offensive clinic boosted the Cardinals to a 67 – 56 victory over Virginia Tech. But, the Cardinals, for the second consecutive game, struggled in the second half.
“For the last two games, we’ve been starting off strong,” Asia Durr told the media. “But, I think the challenge that Coach Walz and the staff is trying to tell us is play hard for four quarter, all four quarters, and that’s what we’re trying to do.
The Cardinals scored 29 points alone in the first period, with Asia Durr grabbing 16 of the points. Louisville was on fire, making its first seven shots to take an early 16 – 2 lead.
The Cardinals limited the Hokies to only three field goals in the first period. Louisville’s defense forced eight Virginia Tech turnovers and converted the turnovers into 11 points. Seven of the Hokies’ turnovers came in the first four minutes.
On offense, the Cardinals could not miss, knocking down 11 field goals, four of which came beyond the arc. Louisville cleared the first period behind a 25 – 5 run to take an easy 29 – 9 lead.
“I thought our attitudes were a little bit bad in the first quarter,” Virginia Tech head coach Kenny Brooks said. “I thought we came in with the mindset that if something happened, we didn’t adjust to it. We hit adversity and just kept letting it snowball.”
After a rocky start, Virginia Tech eased into the game in the second period. The Hokies’ offense picked up tempo as Taylor Emery and Chanette Hicks were able to find the bucket.
Despite only collecting five field goals, Virginia Tech was able to score 16 points, while holding Louisville to only 19 points.
The Cardinals still surged in the second period. Sam Fuehring and Myisha Hines-Allen each grabbed six points for Louisville. The Cardinals dominated the defensive glass, pulling down 10 defensive boards.
The Cardinals held a 48 – 25 advantage at the half.
In a game that started out extremely lopsided, the Louisville Cardinals were only able to score 19 points in the second half of the match against Virginia Tech.
“If we could erase the first half and just take the second half, I’d be kind of happy.” Hokies’ Coach Brooks told the media.
Virginia Tech took the court with purpose in the third period. The Hokies, who allowed Louisville to score in the paint at will in the first half, limited the Cardinals from grabbing buckets inside.
“They’re a great defensive team and we knew they weren’t give up and keep fighting until the end, which they did,” Myisha Hines-Allen said. “Offensively for us, just shots weren’t falling. We were rushing. We were driving into the paint, knowing they were going to collapse on us and we weren’t able to finish or kick the ball out successfully.”
The Hokies cut into Louisville’s lead outscoring the Cardinals 14 – 8 in the third period.
Alexis Jean was crucial for Virginia Tech. The junior, who was benched for much of the beginning of the season, led the Hokies with five points.
Coach Brooks was extremely pleased with Jean’s performance.
“This is good,” he said. “We needed her to have this type of game.”
He added, “She’s an integral part to what we do. It gives us another scoring threat inside and outside.”
Going into the final period, Louisville still held a 56 – 49 advantage.
The Hokies were able to find the charity stripe. Virginia Tech went 9- of – 11 from the free throw line in the final 10 minutes.
While Louisville struggled to get a shot to fall, Virginia Tech capitalized forcing the Cardinals to turn the ball over five times.
Despite Virginia Tech’s second half surge, Louisville’s first half lead allowed the Cardinals to hold on for a 67 – 56 victory.
The Cardinals had three players collect double-digits: Asia Durr led all scorers with 21 points. Sam Fuehring notched 12 points for Louisville, while Kylee Shook added 11 points. Myisha Hines-Allen was just short of a double-double, but she led all players with 15 boards.
For the Hokies, three players notched double-figures: Regan Magarity paced Virginia Tech with 14 points and nine rebounds. Taylor Emery and Alexis Jean both added 12 points a piece.
It’s a top-5 matchup at the KFC Yum! Center as the No. 3 Louisville Cardinals take on the No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Catch the primetime showdown on ESPN, Thursday at 7PM.