Louisville is talented. They have played competently this season. But they haven’t played like they did tonight. Tonight they came out with the fire and attitude and desire that has marked Louisville women’s basketball in the Jeff Walz era.
The one-two punch of Emily Engstler and Kianna Smith had Michigan on their heels from the opening tip, but the Cards absolutely dominated in the second quarter by going on a 37 - 8 run. Kianna had the hot hand and had 14 of her 17 points in the first half.
Coach Walz said, “We were going to challenge others to beat us. We wanted to make sure when the ball’s on the wing when the ball is in the corner that we’re in big time help. Make somebody make some threes. And they made one early in the game and then they end up going 2 for 15.” He praised Olivia Cochran’s play. “I thought Olivia played fantastic. She has had several games back to back to back where she’s played well and tonight defensively she made Naz [Hillman] work.”
Emily brought the nasty that Louisville needed and was all over the floor offensively and defensively. She was close to once again getting a double-double in the first half and she finished the game with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 steals.
Coach Walz talked about Emily, “We were tired of playing against her for three years. We know what she can do. When she decided that she wanted to transfer and ended up with us we knew we had something special.” He added, “She has five steals on the stat sheet but I’d love to know how many jump balls she caused. That doesn’t count as a steal but she had hands everywhere.”
Next up the Cards take on Belmont. The game is this Sunday the 5th at noon. It can bee seen on the ACC Network.