Coach Walz hustled for another top 20 team to play after Connecticut cancelled playing in the Mohegan Sun due to Covid issues. I’m not sure if any other teams said no, but after seeing DePaul get absolutely flattened by the Cards I’m sure there are quite a few other teams who were glad they weren’t there.
In the first quarter the game was close and the teams seemed evenly matched. The score going into the second quarter was 30-24. Then Louisville settled down, got in a rhythm, started rotating through the bench and then the beatdown was on. Kianna Smith came off the bench to make her debut as a Cardinal and scored 13 points in the second quarter alone. Going into halftime they tied a school record for most points in a half with 61 points. There was no letdown in the second half. Tears were shed by by the other team.
Kianna finished the game with 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists and got the Player of the Game from the ESPN crew. Hailey Van Lith also had 21 points and one technical foul late in the game. Dana Evans had 20 points and 7 assists. Olivia Cochran finished with her first collegiate double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds).
After the game Coach Walz said, “We knew they were going to run in transition and try to get spot threes and try to create as many three-point opportunities as they could. I thought we did a great job of making them put the ball on the ground and get to the rim. I told them that if we can make them attempt more twos than threes then I like our chances.” DePaul attempted 81 two-point shots and 27 threes. “We’re a ball club that takes pride in what we do defensively. If we get a few days to put a scouting report in place, get a chance to watch film, and we really try to take away player’s go-to moves....then we have a chance to be pretty good.”
When asked about breaking the scoring record he said, “The pace of the game is something that we like. We like to get up and down the floor. We’re trying to play as fast as we can. And that’s how DePaul plays.... they have a style of play and they’re going to press hard the entire game and we worked on it hard the past two days. Not just trying to break the press but score out of it and I thought we did a really nice job of looking for our teammates and making easy opportunities.”
On Kianna Smith he said, “She wants to be special, and I told her I’m going to challenge her to be that..... There are some things that others might do that I might not get on them but I’m going to get on her because I know where she wants to take her game. I challenge her every single day. I challenge her in practice. I challenge her during games. And she’s responding.... [The returners] respect her for how hard she works. She’s very unselfish. She’s a humble kid and wants what’s best for our team. I’ve really been impressed with her.”
I feel like such a proud friend seeing @_naannna hoop like this right now !! ❤️❤️— Jazmine Jones (@Jazmine_Jones4) December 5, 2020
When Kianna was asked about how the team’s depth is an advantage she said, “It’s a really big advantage. We can constantly keep running on teams and get up and down the floor and play at the fast pace we want to play. It’s exciting that we have a deep bench, and I just love playing with my teammates.”
I see why everybody was so scared to play Louisville— G Redus (@iGREDUS) December 5, 2020
Watching @UofLWBB play DePaul...thoughts...— Debbie Antonelli (@debbieantonelli) December 5, 2020
1. If you press UofL, you open the court & they fill lanes scoring on backside easily
2. Olivia Cochran runs ahead of ball & best rim-runner I've seen in hoops in long time!
3. Evans, Van Lith, K Smith perimeter...forget about it!
Up next the Cards take on UT-Martin who took them double overtime last year. The game will be televised Sunday at noon on the ACC Network.
And finally, Happy DePaul Day, everyone.