If there’s one thing we can count on this season it’s to expect the unexpected. Louisville’s scheduled tip-off was at noon but a couple of hours before the game it was announced it was postponed until 2:00. Then when the team came out there were only 7 players warming up. Shortly after tip other players joined the team.
According to Coach Walz someone exhibited some symptoms of Covid but she was tested this morning and it came back negative. However he said, “We were ready but then we were asked that the ones be tested who had not previously had it. I was like why? That doesn’t make any sense to me.” He added, “We also want to make sure everyone is safe and that’s what we did.”
After the unusual circumstances Louisville was a little turnover prone in the first quarter. Both teams were a little chippy on jump balls and in the second quarter Clemson star Delicia Washington got a T during a tie-up and the coach took her out of the game to cool off. The momentum seemed to swing Louisville’s way after that. Even though Dana Evans sat out the entire second quarter with two fouls the Cards took a 34-26 lead into the half. After the half they took advantage of a poor shooting night for Clemson (0-19 from 3) and ran out to a comfortable lead.
After struggling with her shot as of late Elizabeth Balogun scored 14 points. She also had 6 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 blocks, and 3 assists. Kianna Smith had 17 points and 6 assists. Hailey Van Lith and Olivia Cochran both had 9 rebounds.
After the game Kianna said, “This season we’ve learned to be really flexible. There’s been plenty of times where Covid has impacted our season and our games.” She talked about starting the game without a lot of players on the bench, “We knew that their tests were going to come back at some point during the game and we knew that they were going to join us. We were glad that they got to join us basically right after tip off.”
Elizabeth Balogun said, “This was the first time in my life I experienced something like this.” She joked, “I definitely like warming up with my team every freaking game... but obviously I started making shots so....”
When asked about her threes she said, “At practice I make my threes so I don’t really feel like my threes are off.... My teammates definitely give me the ultimate confidence because they keep saying ‘c’mon E you’re good’ and they try to set me up for good shots.”
She talked about how watching Kianna on defense inspires her. “Ki just fires me up and makes me happy. D for me is my biggest focus and when I see other people do it, especially Ki, I get really excited for them.”
Next up the Cards play Boston College in the Yum on Thursday. The game is at 8PM and can be seen on the ACC Network.