Lexington, KY — The top-seeded Louisville Cardinals are moving on to the Elite Eight after defeating the Stanford Cardinal, 86 – 59.
The fourth-seeded Stanford Cardinal, led by legendary head coach Tara VanDerveer, came into its 11th consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearance motivated. It was also Stanford’s third straight appearance in the Lexington Regional. The last two years, the Cardinal knocked off the top-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish to advance to the Final Four. However, this year, the Cardinals of Louisville were too much to handle.
Similar to last year, the Cardinal were behind at the half, 42 – 31. A typically excellent come-from-behind team, Stanford could not make the adjustments it needed it in the second half.
Coach VanDerveer credits Louisville’s physicality for Stanford’s issues.
“I thought they were extremely aggressive, and they were quick to the ball.” Coach VanDerveer said. “A lot of times — they were just more physical. You know, just sometimes you kind of just get kind of put on your heels right away, and I don’t think we recovered very well.”
The matchup was probably Louisville’s most physical outing of the season. The Cardinals battled for every board, every point, every assist, every steal. The late start – 9:52 PM – had no effect on Louisville. The Cardinals’ starters picked up 73 of Louisville’s total 86 points.
Led by junior guard – and leading scorer – Asia Durr, Louisville picked apart everything Stanford threw at them. In the first half alone, the Cardinals forced 12 Stanford turnovers. Louisville was able to control the offensive glass, pulling down eight offensive boards and tallying 10 second chance points.
Louisville could not be stopped offensively, outscoring Stanford, 44 – 28, in the final two frames. The Cardinals, defensively, locked in, forcing 19 Stanford turnovers, while only committing two turnovers itself in the second half.
“If you’re not playing them, I think you could really enjoy watching them play.” Coach VanDerveer said. “They pass the ball well, they shoot the ball well. They work hard on defense. They’re extremely physical, as our players pointed out. A very well-coached team and a very unselfish team. They score well together.”
In the final frame, the Cardinals had eight players score points. Arica Carter led the bunch with six points.
Louisville’s performance – from start to finish – was indicative of its family mentality.
“I’ve got a group of young women that have bought into that.” Coach Walz said. “I mean, they’re great to be around. It’s really hard to tell when someone has had a bad day on our team. And you have them. But everybody doesn’t have to know. And I commend them for that, and I think that’s why they enjoy playing with each other as much as they do.”
Louisville advances to its fourth Elite Eight under Coach Walz and second in four years.
Louisville had four players collect double-digits: Asia Durr led all scorers with 24 points and five assists. Myisha Hines-Allen eclipsed 2,000 career points for her career picking up 17 in the match. Arica Carter notched 13 points and Jazmine Jones added 10 points.
For Stanford, two players racked up double-figures: Brittany McPhee paced the Cardinal with 15 points and six boards, while DiJonai Carrington added 14 points.
The top-seeded Louisville Cardinals will face the six seeded Oregon State Beavers on Sunday at Noon. The two will battle for a Regional Title and a trip to Columbus, Ohio for the Final Four.