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Louisville Toughs Out 76-63 Win Over Central Michigan

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NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Albany Regional-Oregon State vs Louisville Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The first two games of this season Coach Jeff Walz was uncharacteristically quiet on the sideline. He was coaching hard but without the same....joie de vivre....that has made him a favorite of officials and NCAA bigwigs alike. Well, old Jeff was back loud and proud tonight, and there was plenty to yell about in his team’s victory over a scrappy and savvy Central Michigan.

Louisville held a mere 3 point lead going into halftime. In the third quarter senior Jazmine Jones (25 points, 9 rebounds) picked up her 4th foul and that is when junior Dana Evans took over the game. She raised her level of defensive intensity and scored 11 of her 24 points.

After the game Coach Walz started his remarks with, “This was a really good win. This is a ball club that’s going to win a lot of basketball games. Really, really impressed with them.” He added, “What kinda changed the game is when we started to press a little bit. After a free throw we went a little trap and turned them over three straight times and then got them playing a little faster than they may have wanted to.”

Jazmine Jones said, “Central Michigan is really good...I was just trying to be aggressive and try and lead my team. When I got in foul trouble Dana took over. Kylee came in and gave us a big lift—another double double again [15 points, 12 rebounds] in back to back games now. The pieces come together. We did a better job of taking care of the basketball than we did in the first two games [only 12 turnovers] and that was key.”

Of her second half run Dana Evans laughed, “Well I knew I couldn’t play any worse than I did the first half...I just knew it was going to eventually fall. I just had to keep playing and keep pushing because I didn’t want to let my teammates down.” On the defensive end she said, “I didn't do a good job keeping the girls in front of me....I’ve got to work on moving my feet again and staying in front of the player instead of reaching.”

Coach Walz talked about his team and how they’re learning to play together, “This is what our team is going to be this year. It’s going to be somebody is having a night and we’re going to have to recognize it and get them the ball....But that’s what can make us really good too if we become really smart about this and understanding the game and who’s on—who’s making shots.”

One of the issues his team needs to work on is spacing, “Players want to get the ball and make a play. I’ve got to get them to understand that our spacing is terrible so that when you do get the ball you have no chance to make a play because everybody is coming and running to the ball. It’s like a mosh pit.”

Mykasa Robinson night may not look that impressive on the stat sheet, but she really changed the game with her defensive intensity. Dana said, “That’s what she does. She comes in and gives us energy and tempo....She’s that bulldog. She’s gonna play hard.” Coach Walz said, “We have to have a spark coming off the bench and I thought Mykasa did a really nice job of that.

Louisville returns to the Yum in a week. They play UT-Chattanooga on Thursday the 21st at 6:30PM. The game can be seen on the ACC Network. It is 80s night.