Dana Evans and Elizabeth Balogun were dressed and ready to play if the Cards needed them tonight. The Cards did not need them. Louisville had a 1-point lead at the end of the 1st quarter and with two minutes to go in the half they had outscored Boston College 29-10. Even with extended minutes from the bench in the second half the Cards maintained their large lead to clinch the outright regular season ACC title. (Despite what we were raised to believe, sometimes not sharing is a good thing). When asked about being ACC champs Jazmine Jones said, “The last couple of years we’ve been having to share it. So for this year for it to be the first time outright ACC championship, and for us to do it our senior year, it feels great.”
Kylee Shook led all scorers with 18 points to which she added 10 rebounds and 2 blocks. Jazmine Jones had 17 points, 3 assists, and 3 blocked shots. Yacine Diop had 13 points. Coach Walz said, “I could’ve played Dana and Elizabeth tonight. They were cleared to play. So I was just going to see how it went and when we made that big run there in the second quarter I felt pretty good about the fact that I wasn’t going to have to play them.” He added, “I feel a little bit better where Elizabeth is right now compared to Dana, but I have no doubt they’ll both play some on Sunday.”
Kylee finished the first half driving the ball down the floor like a point guard and then pulling up for a jumper at the buzzer. When asked about that play she laughed and said, “Honestly when I got the steal I looked for Jess [Laemmle] and then I looked for Jaz and then I saw the time so I thought alright...here we go.” Coach Walz said, “If you’re the opposing team you’re like are you kidding me what can go right for us?” He added, “I know we were up 20 before she makes it, but...it’s deflating.”
When asked about how Kylee has grown over the years Jazmine said, “Kylee has a chance to be ACC Defensive Player of the Year and that’s big time. Kylee’s been blocking shots all her life probably because she’s probably been bigger than everybody else but....it’s just a true testament to her staying in the gym every day, watching film, and then timing blocked shots.”
Coach Walz said about Kylee, “She’s been battling every single day....The growth she’s made from her freshman year to her senior year is remarkable. I’m really proud of her. I’m happy for her. Not just as a basketball player but as a person. She’s really gone through a lot and has had some tough times but she keeps fighting. It’s been fun because I’ve seen her smile most this year than the past three years. So just really happy for her where she is in her life right now.”
Next up Louisville meets Virginia Tech for their final regular season game in the Yum. It is Senior Day for Jazmine Jones, Kylee Shook, Bionca Dunham, Yacine Diop and Jessica Laemmle. The game is at noon and can be seen on the ACC Network.