Good afternoon Card Nation. It is championship Sunday. Coach Walz and the Louisville Cardinals look to avenge an early season loss, while winning the ACC Tournament championship. The Cards lost to NC State earlier in the season 60-74 in the KFC Yum! Center. Louisville got to the championship game by beating an NCAA Tournament bound Wake Forest team, then beating a very, very good Syracuse team. Louisville had gotten to the championship game despite a couple of subpar statistical outings from Dana Evans.
Dana Evans (10.5ppg, 5apg)
Hailey Van Lith (16ppg, 6rpg)
Mykasa Robinson (7.5rpg, 3.5apg )
Kianna Smith (8.5ppg, 2apg)
Olivia Cochran (6ppg, 5.5rpg)
A Mykasa Robinson mid-range pull-up gave Louisville an early 2-0 lead. The offense came fast for both teams the first few possessions as the score was tied at 9, with 4:40 left to go in the quarter. An Elizabeth Balogun corner 3 gave Louisville a 12-9 lead. The Cards looked sloppy on the final possession of the quarter, but took a 16-15 lead into the second quarter.
It was a back-and-forth affair early, as the teams traded baskets and the lead early in the quarter. A NC State 3 gave the Wolfpack a 22-20 lead. 5 consecutive points from HVL gave the Cards a 25-24 lead. The defense picked up for both teams, as the scoring really slowed down midway through the quarter. The Cards trailed 25-26 going into intermission.
Halftime Stats At A Glance:
FG%: 11-27 (40.7%)
3PT%: 3-9 (33.3%)
FT%: 0-1 (0.0%)
Total Rebounds: 14-17
Leading Scorer: Kianna Smith(9)
Two free throws by Olivia Cochran briefly gave the Cards a 27-26 lead. An 8-0 Wolfpack ran gave the Cards their biggest deficit of the game (34-27). The Cards answered with an 8-2 run to cut the Wolfpack lead to 1 (36-37). UofL picked up their defensive intensity and ended the quarter on a 12-4 run to take a 43-40 lead into the final quarter.
A Konno layup and a Dana 3 gave the Cards a brief 8-point lead. Then the offense for both teams started clicking, as the scoring picked up for both teams early in the quarter. With the score tied at 56, Louisville missed their opportunity to tie the game, but NC State capitalized on theirs. The Cards got 2 out of bounds plays to tie or win the game, but a Dana Evans 3 at the buzzer was short and the Cards lost 56-58.
FG% 25-59 (42.4%)
3PT% 4-16 (42.9%)
FT% 2-4 (50.0%)
Total Rebounds: 31-35
Offensive Rebounds: 7-7
Bench Points: 11
Post Game Notes and Leaders:
Louisville’s rebounding struggles doomed them again. The Cards were up 8 early in the 4th quarter and were leading late in the game, but couldn’t keep NC State off the offensive glass. Dana Evans led the Cards in scoring with 15 points and added 3 rebounds. Kianna Smith also hit double figures for the Cards with 13 points and added 4 rebounds. Freshman Olivia Cochran added 8 points and 8 rebounds for the Cards.
The Cards now await their seeding and opponent heading into the NCAA Tournament.