Good afternoon Card Nation, your Louisville women’s basketball team hosts the Clemson Tigers on Superbowl Sunday (Go Chiefs). Louisville is coming into today’s game on a 3-game winning streak. The Cards beat the Virginia Cavaliers 63-53 on Thursday, behind a big contribution from their backcourt. CC Carr came off the bench to score 14 and Hailey Van Lith led all scores with 17. Louisville leads the all-time series 10-3, with Coach Walz being a perfect 10-0 vs Clemson. Coach Walz is also 5-2 on Superbowl Sunday.
Hailey Van Lith
Norika Konno gave the Cards the early lead with a corner 3-ball. Clemson scored 4 straight points to take a 4-3 lead as both offenses looked lifeless early on. Louisville had a 10-6 lead, Clemson scored on offense, slapped the floor on defense and the Cards immediately responded with 10 consecutive points. Two Konno 3’s, free throws by Morgan Jones, and a buzzer beating layup is how the Cards ended the quarter as Louisville took a 20-8 lead heading into the 2nd quarter.
CC Carr added to the Louisville run with a 3-point shot of her own. UofL led 23-8. Louisville started the quarter the way they ended the first, on fire. Louisville frustrated the Tigers on both ends of the court with their suffocating defense and their constant ball movement as they opened up a 23-point lead on multiple occasions. Louisville took a 51-22 lead heading into intermission.
Field Goal %: 19-37 (51.4%)
3PT Field Goal %: 10-16 (62.5%)
Free Throws: 3-6 (50.0%)
Total Rebounds: 21 (7 offensive)
Leading Scorer: Hailey Van Lith & Norkia Konno (12)
As good as the Cards ended the 1st half, the start of the second half was equally as bad. There was very little purposeful ball movement, there was a lack of defensive awareness, and there was a lack of effort. It enabled Clemson to get on a 7-0 run. The Cards struggled on both ends all quarter, as they were outscored 15-21, but still took a 66-43 heading into the final quarter.
Although the outcome of the game was never in doubt midway through the 2nd quarter, Louisville allowed this game to be a lot closer than it needed to be. The Cards offense remained stagnant, they lost focus on the defensive side of the ball, and started being careless with the basketball. Clemson was able to cut what was once a 29-point lead down to 9 (76-67) with 2:12 remaining. A huge 3-point conversion and rebound by Olivia Cochran helped stem the tide as the Cards were able to hold off the Tigers for a 81-69 victory. Coach Walz moves to 6-2 on Superbowl Sunday.
Field Goal %: 30-62 (48.4%)
3PT Field Goal %: 12-24 (50.0%)
Free Throws: 9-13 (69.2%)
Total Rebounds: 34 (11 offensive)
Bench Points: 33
Leading Scorer: Hailey Van Lith (19)
Post Game Notes:
The Cards improve to 19-8 and 10-4 on the season. This was an important win for the Cards as they have 4 remaining games, 2 on the road and 2 at home. Louisville still has a shot at a double bye in the conference tournament with 3 games against opponents they are either tied with or behind in the ACC standings. UofL was led in scoring to by Hailey Van Lith with 19. Konno added a huge boost to the Cards in the first half with her shooting and her ability to rebound, as she finished with 12 points and 5 rebounds. Mykasa Robinson had another great game as she finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 steals. As postseason basketball approaches and these games become closer, the Cards need to find a way to put a halt to their 4th quarter struggle before it cost them another game.
Louisville heads back on the road, as they face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on February 16th at 7 pm.