Almost every team has at least one game in a season where nothing seems to be clicking. Tonight was one of those games for Louisville. The shots weren’t falling. Players were sick. injured, or out of the country. The officiating was mystifying at times. Still the Cards fought back to make it a 2-point game at the end of the 3rd quarter. Unfortunately, they could never get over the hump, the momentum swung back Florida State’s way, and they gave Louisville their first loss at home dropping them to #2 in the ACC.
Dana Evans led Louisville in scoring with 18 but she was 7-20 from the field/2-9 from the 3-point line. She also had 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Bionca Dunham had 14 points. Kylee Shook had 9 rebounds, 9 points, and 3 blocked shots. The team shot 34.4% from the field for the game, but that was a vast improvement from the first half when they shot 24.1% (7-29). Also, despite missing 42 shots the Cards only grabbed 15 offensive rebounds.
Elizabeth Balogun is in Serbia playing in the Olympic trials for Nigeria. She’ll miss the next game as well and return on Monday. Coach Walz said that the opportunity for her to potentially play in Tokyo this summer made the decision a “no brainer.” Dana Evans said of Elizabeth, “She contributes a lot to this team. Not even as far as scoring, she does that, but she rebounds really well. That’s what we missed tonight—that length and getting after it on the rebounds.”
Yacine Diop started in her place but Coach Walz said that she threw up at halftime and had to leave the bench to be sick so she wasn’t at full strength.
After the game Coach Walz said, “We’re a really good basketball team. We just didn’t play that well tonight, and that’s my fault. I’ll take the blame for that....I was proud of them. We made a nice run there and tied it up and I thought, ‘ok one more stop’ and we got them to miss we just couldn’t finish it out.” He added, “Are we disappointed? Of course we are. We’re competitors.”
On the defense he said, “we did defend well. We held them to 26 points [in the first half] but it could have been 18.” He added, “It’s two teams that defended pretty darn well. But when we did have breakdowns they scored, and you’ve got to give them credit for that.”
Dana Evans joined the 1000 point club. She said, “There’s been a lot of great players to come out of Louisville and to join that club means a lot.” Coach Walz joked, “It means she shoots a lot,” and as they laughed Dana shook her head and said, “Missed a lot too woooo.” Then on a serious note Coach Walz added, “She puts the time in in the gym. She really works hard.”
Next up the Cards travel up to Syracuse. The game is on Sunday the 9th at 2PM. The game can be seen on ESPN2.