Heavy is the head that wears the crown and Syracuse did their level best to knock it off but at the end of the night Louisville was still undefeated. Coach Walz said, “The first one is always the toughest. At least I say that. We’ve never been ranked #1 before so I just pulled that one out of my rear.”
Despite what the score might indicate, it was a tough win. Syracuse has great height, including 6’7” Kamilla Cordoso, and their interior scoring kept Louisville on their toes. The first half was even but the Cards seemed to wear them down in the second half. Once again Dana Evans took over the game with her shooting and finding open teammates.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before but with her 21 points Dana led all scorers. She also had 7 assists. Hailey Van Lith has definitively closed the book on her shooting slump with 18 points to which she added 8 rebounds. Liz Dixon had 8 rebounds and two big blocked shots when the game was still in doubt.
Coach Walz said, “They [Syracuse] really do a nice job of trying to make it difficult to score with their press and their length and their size. I thought we really handled things well.... I thought Liz Dixon made a huge difference for us at the defensive end of the floor in the 3rd quarter. She really made some great reads by backing off the five, she comes up with a steal.... I was really, really proud of Liz.”
He also praised Dana Evans, “She passed the ball well. She knocked down a couple of big shots. She found Hailey on two possessions that kind of gave us some separation in the 4th.”
Dana said of Hailey, “I know the time she puts in the gym and just seeing it pay off is a good feeling as a leader. Watching her continue to grow and get better. She had the hot hand so I knew I wanted to go back at her.... if they help on me it was an easy kick and she knocked it down.”
Hailey talked about her rebounding prowess, “I feel like I’ve embraced that. My posts have done a great job rebounding too so sometimes I just get the easy cleanup rebounds because they’ll box the big girl out for me.”
Next up the Cards head to Wake Forest. The game is on Sunday at 2PM and can be seen on the ACC Network.