After the Clemson game last Thursday Coach Walz said of Duke, “They’ve lost back to back games so there’s no doubt they’re going to be coming in hungry.” That proved to be quite prophetic as the Blue Devils feasted themselves to a quick 12-2 lead over the Cards to start the game. In the second quarter Louisville started to eat away at that lead, but they still went into halftime down 6.
In the second half the battle became more even, but the Cards were only able to get their first lead since the first minute of the game with under three minutes to go in the third quarter. Duke started to miss a few of the shots that had dropped so easily at the start of the game as Louisville picked up their defense. After playing each other evenly the Cards got the ball with 1:06 left and a tie game. Despite going 0 for 6 in the first half Dana Evans stepped up and drilled a huge 3 at the :36 mark. Duke missed their shot attempt and Bionca Dunham was fouled with 16 seconds to go and confidently stepped to the line to sink both free throws to put the game of reach.
Jazmine Jones entered the 1,000 point club while scoring a game-high 26 points to which she added 10 rebounds. Dana Evans went 4 for 16, but all 10 of her points seemed to be when the team needed a clutch basket. Yacine Diop had 9 points and played tough defense. After the game Coach Walz said that Liz Dixon may have sprained an ankle.
After the game Coach Walz said, “I thought we played really well for three quarters. Unfortunately it’s a four-quarter game. We were absolute no-shows for the first ten minutes of the game offensively and defensively. Thank goodness Jaz showed up for that first ten minutes and scored for us [she had 10 of Louisville’s 12 first quarter points].” He added, “I thought we did a really nice job of just battling and grinding it and grinding it and figuring it out.....We’re figuring out ways to win. That’s what encourages me.”
He blamed the slow start on the fact that Duke “played harder.” He said, “Their energy was way better than ours which is really frustrating. When you come out here and you’ve got 10,000 people here...[and] we had some World War II vets talk to our players before the game...then to come out there and play so poorly in the first quarter it’s really hard to explain. But I was proud of them because they kept battling.”
Jamine Jones said, “I knew my teammates were going to pick it up. We started out slow as a unit on defense and we just needed to pick it up. I knew once our defense amped up then our offense would take care of itself.” She added, “They kept with it. My teammates they stay aggressive no matter what and they don’t hang their heads.”
Jeff also said, “We’re a good basketball team. We have some really good players. We’re not as good as we’ve been in the past in terms of we’re not as consistent. I don’t have 3 or 4 that I can count on every single night to know what they’re going to do.” He added, “Every night in the ACC is going to be a grind for us.”
Dana Evans talked about her confidence to take the big shot after starting cold: “My teammates kept talking to me the whole game and saying ‘they’re gonna fall doing worry about it.’ Jaz in particular and B (Bionca Dunham) set the screen and I give her credit for that shot because if she hadn’t set that screen I wouldn’t have had an open 3 at the end.” Coach Walz joked, “She has no idea if she’s 1 of 10 or 10 for 10. She was never good at math. When she hits the rim she thinks that’s half of a point.” He added, “As a player you’ve got to have short term memory...that is if you work on your game. If you don’t work on your game then shooting and praying is not a very good option.”
Next up the Cards travel down to Miami this Thursday. The game is at 8PM and can be seen on the ACC Network.
One of the neat sights to see today @kfc_yumcenter for @GoCards @UofLWBB came after the game when the #GoCards #cheerleaders met 97 yr old Edith Pitzer who graduated from @uofl in 1943. She was also a cheerleader. She & other #Veterans were honored today for their service. #usa pic.twitter.com/XLFTht3Eor— Aaron Ellis (@aaronellis01) January 5, 2020
An absolute HONOR for @CoachJPineda24 @villehoopcoach and I to meet Edith, a member of the @USNavy Waves AND @uofl grad! Edith was a meteorologist during World War II. #Inspiring #HoopsForTroops #GoUSA pic.twitter.com/hcmxOTbp5F— Beth Burns (@coachbethburns) January 5, 2020