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Louisville Ousts Syracuse 71-46

Cards win their first game in ACC Tournament

NCAA Womens Basketball: ACC Tournament - Louisville vs Syracuse Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Cards had a bit of a slow start this afternoon. They only shot 37% in the first half and missed lots of wide open shots that they’d normally make. However, with solid defense they held Syracuse to only 17% shooting so they had a healthy 34-13 lead going into halftime. Things would not improve for the Orange. At one point in the second half the Cards held a 50-22 lead and obviously Syracuse never challenged.

After struggling the last time these two teams played, Dana Evans led all scorers with 23 points. Jazmine Jones had 10 points. Kylee Shook had 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Bionca Dunham had 9 points including her first 3-pointer.

The Cards outrebounded Syracuse 53-31. Jazmine Jones grabbed 11 boards and joked, “Now he [Coach Walz] can get off my back about rebounding.” To which Jeff responded, “Seven of them fell into her hands.” On a more serious note he said, “Not giving them a bunch of second-chance opportunities was another key thing we talked about, we had to do a good job of keeping them off the glass and we did a great job of that today.”

Kylee Shook got into some foul trouble and Liz Dixon came in and quietly had her best game of the season. Coach Walz said, “I thought Liz played as well in the first half as she has played all year. She was on top of every assignment. She knew what she had to do at the defensive end. She was rebounding the basketball with two hands, just really, really impressed with how she played, and that’s what we’re going to continue to need from her as she goes forward.”

On the topic of Liz Jeff also said, “I talked to her, it’s not just about this year, but every day she is learning,” and he compared it to Jaz and Dana’s growth. “It’s the one thing I can say about Dana and Jaz sitting here. They did not come in as freshmen and completely dominate. It’s been a process....Dana was a little bit of a bullhead, and that’s being nice. I’m watching my language, here, her freshman year, but I will say she is fortunate to have a wonderful father who puts her in her place every once in a while, which does not happen all the time as a coach when a player can come and be like, man, I want to apologize. My dad said he wouldn’t have played me as much as you did.”

Also let it be known that Coach Jeff Walz will never, ever let his team get complacent. When asked if he approaches the tournament differently coming into it as the undisputed #1 in the conference he said, “No. There are still plenty of people that don’t think we’re all the good. It’s just a fact. It’s OK. They might not like the way we play or what it might be. At the end of the day, we compete. I watch all the stuff that goes on and Oregon is having a fantastic season and they talk about their one loss in November but they won’t ever say who beat them. I think it was us.”

When Dana was goaded into also giving a quote about Oregon, Jeff jumped in with, “No, I’ll take care of that. We just state facts. That’s it. We’re all about fact checking, and that would be accurate if you looked it up. I fact check for them.”

The Cards turn around and play again Saturday at noon. They’ll meet Florida State in the semifinals. The game can be seen on ESPNU.