Good evening Card Nation. Your top-seeded Louisville Cardinals take on the Michigan Wolverines for a spot in the Final Four. Louisville defeated Tennessee 76-64 to reach the Elite Eight. The Cards were led in scoring by HVL with 23 points. Emily Engstler added 20 and Kianna Smith had 12 to round out all the Cards in double-digit scoring. Louisville defeated Michigan earlier in the year 70-48 in the KFC YUM! Center.
Chelsie Hall (7.6ppg, 3.3rpg)
Hailey Van Lith (21.3ppg, 4.3rpg)
Emily Engstler (16.3ppg, 9.3rpg )
Kianna Smith (13ppg, 2.3pg)
Olivia Cochran (7ppg, 4rpg)
A Kianna Smith 3 put the first points on the board for either team. Michigan almost went scoreless for half of the quarter, until a pair of free throws from Naz Hillmon. UofL started off hot, but cooled off a bit and allowed the Wolverines to get back in the game. The Cards still took a 17-13 lead into the second quarter.
Both teams started to find their rhythm towards the end of the first quarter and that carried over into the second quarter. UofL continued to not only turn over Michigan, but score off of those turnovers. Michigan, however, kept fighting and clawing for every loose ball and every rebound they could get their hands on. Louisville still took a 30-27 lead into intermission.
Halftime Stats At A Glance:
FG%: 12-29 (41.4%)
3PT%: 5-10 (50%)
FT%: 1-2 (50%)
Total Rebounds: 15-15
Leading Scorer: Chelsie Hall (13)
An HVL reverse layup off a beautiful feed by Engstler gave the Cards their first points of the half. Louisville used their defense to continue to confuse Michigan and to extend on a 3 point halftime lead. The Cards continued to make field goals hard to come by for Michigan, but the Wolverines lived at the foul line the last half of the quarter. UofL was still able to take a 45-43 lead heading into the final quarter of regulation.
Kianna Smith got the scoring started for Louisville in the quarter and helped the Cards open up a 47-43 lead. Louisville had a scoring drought that lasted a little over 5 minutes, but Olivia Cochran ended that by making back-to-back layups and extended the Louisville lead to 6 points. Cochran scored 6 straight for the Cards, as Louisville finished the game on a 10-0 run and will be heading to Minneapolis for the Final Four, with a 62-50 win over Michigan.
FG% 25-58 (43.1%)
3PT% 5-15 (33.3%)
FT% 7-9 (77.8%)
Total Rebounds: 31-39
Offensive Rebounds: 10-14
Post Game Notes and Leaders:
Louisville will head to the Final Four for the 4th time in program history and the first time since 2018. The Cards were buoyed by a great second half performance by Hailey Van Lith. HVL led Louisville in scoring with 22 points. Kianna Smith added 11 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist. Emily Engstler didn’t do a lot of scoring this game, but she was a force on the defensive side of the basketball with a number of steals and 16 rebounds. UofL will have to get more offense and defense from their bench vs South Carolina if they want to make it to the championship game. The Cards must also take care of the basketball and rebound better than they did tonight.
Louisville will take on the South Carolina Gamecocks, Friday April 1st at 7 pm in the Target Center in Minneapolis.