After a sizzling performance against Michigan a few nights ago, Louisville came out this afternoon with a lot less heat. The game was back and forth in the first quarter but then the Cards went on a 17-4 run to end the half. They extended the lead in the third but then in 4th quarter Belmont used their hot 3 shooting to swing momentum their way and cut the lead to 11 with about 5 minutes to go. Coach Walz had to reinsert the starters to secure the win.
After the game Coach Walz said that the team seemed tired in practice after the Michigan game and in the midst of finals. He told them, “Belmont isn’t going to care on Sunday if you’re tired. You’ve got to bring it for two hours.” He added, “We played in the 2nd half just like we’d practiced.”
Hailey Van Lith also talked about the team’s energy level. “We’re very athletic. We’re very skilled. We're a great team but we lack energy sometimes.” She said, “We’ve got to learn to bring it every time we step on the court. Everyone wants to beat us. We have a big target on our backs. If we don’t pick up energy for every game we’re going to have a tough road coming up.”
Coach talked about the breakdowns that led to the momentum swing. “The end of the 3rd quarter is where it all started to go bad.... I wasn’t going to say it because I was comfortable of where the game was but I was waiting for someone on that floor to yell ‘one shot!’ [Instead] we take a quick shot and now they throw in a Hail Mary, but it doesn't matter they never should’ve got that shot. Now it goes in and they run off the floor all excited and the next thing you know they come out in the 4th quarter and hit three straight 3s.”
Hailey Van Lith led Louisville in scoring with 16 points. Kianna Smith’s 14 pushed her over the 1,000 career points mark. She said of this achievement, “It’s rewarding. Obviously all the hard work I’ve put in from my journey from Cal to here. I’m just so grateful to be in this program and getting my 1,000th point here.”
Next up the Cards meet in state rival #16 Kentucky in the Yum Center. Coach Walz said, “Our kids understand the importance of this game. It’s amazing how good both programs have been for the last ten years. I think it speaks volumes about women’s basketball in our state.” Kianna Smith said, “We definitely know how big that matchup is going to be. It’s a top 25 matchup along with the rivalry. So we’re excited. We have a week to prepare for them so we’ll be ready.” The game is on Sunday the 12th at 1PM and can be seen on ESPN.