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Louisville Outlasts Scrappy NKU 74-64

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NCAA Basketball: TEAM USA vs Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The last few weeks of the year were peak 2020 for the women’s basketball team. Pauses, cancellations, and quarantines kept the Cards out of competition for the last 23 days. But a new year has dawned and with 2021 came a game against a solid opponent in NKU. They gave Louisville a challenge last season so it was no surprise that the score was even late in the game. It took a defensive spark from Dana Evans in the third quarter for the Cards to get a sliver of breathing room.

Dana Evans led Louisville in scoring with 20 points (matched by former Card Lindsey Duvall who had a great game in her return to the Yum). Olivia Cochran had 13 points and 5 rebounds. Hailey Van Lith played hard but still seemed a little rusty and was only 3 of 11 shooting on several shots she would’ve easily made in previous games.

After the game Liz Dixon talked about getting back into game action after such a long break. She said, “Everybody is healthy. To be able to wake up this morning—this new year—with everything that’s been going on and step on the court and play the game that we love... it was just a blessing.” Coach Walz added, “It’s going to take us a little bit of time. You don’t take three weeks off and then just jump right back into things.... we’re very fortunate to have a talented group of players.”

Dana Evans talked about the team’s rusty shooting. “We’ve got to give credit to Northern Kentucky too they played good defense but we did have some open ones that we missed. First game back. We didn’t expect to make every shot. We knew it was going to be a little rough. Now we know what to do just get in the gym and shoot.”

Liz played another solid game with 12 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist. She talked about the difference between this season and last season, “Last year was like a learning year. I was learning from Bionca, Jaz, Kylee so the difference is that now I know I have to be a leader..... I have to be on my A game every single night with mental preparation and mental toughness.”

Dana Evans added, “Liz stepped up big tonight. She was able to catch and finish around the room and that’s what we’re going to need from her.” She also said when the 3s weren’t falling, “we started to go to the post with Liz. I think O [Olivia Cochran] can learn from Liz that keeping the ball high on teams like that with five guards that they’re going to smash you and you have to make quick moves.”

The Cards have a quick turnaround and play Bellarmine tomorrow at noon at the Yum Center. Coach Walz said, “It will be similar to what we face in the ACC tournament— you’re going to have to play back to back days. We’re just happy to have the opportunity to get back out on that court and play.” The game can be streamed on ACCNX.