Northwestern is not known for their 3-point shooting... so naturally they came out shooting lights out against the Cards in the first quarter. They were shooting 64% overall to the Cards’s 21% and Louisville found themselves down 25-10. In the second quarter Louisville turned up the defensive pressure and kept Northwestern from scoring but the Cards went into halftime with only 20 points. In the second half the offense started clicking and Louisville went on a 17-0 run and on the first play of the 4th quarter Louisville took the lead on a Kianna Smith layup. They would never trail again. In the end the Cards staged one of the the largest comebacks in NCAA history and won the game 62-53.
Kianna Smith led the Cards in scoring with 16. Dana Evans finished the game with 14. Last game Coach Walz went small, but today he made the adjustment to play 2 bigs at the same time and both Olivia Cochran and Liz Dixon finished the game with 13 points apiece. Olivia also added 15 rebounds.
After the game Coach Walz said, “We got physically beat that first quarter. They got their hand on a lot more loose balls, they got 50/50 balls, they were a lot tougher. But we figured out a way to adjust the way were playing which we had to or we wouldn’t be sitting here right now as excited as these players are in the locker room.”
Coach Purcell said, “I’ve really got to tip my hat off to Coach Walz because when we were watching film last night we were showing highlights of what we had to do to have success and he kept stopping the film and saying ‘Ladies, look at the score of these games for Northwestern [they were up 15]. It might be like that, y’all. The way you play you’re going to have to get a feel for how great they are but when you get a feel you’ll be able to make adjustments.’”
Dana Evans said that Coach Walz didn’t rip the team at halftime. “We both stayed calm. We both stayed positive. We just knew we had to fight. We knew we had to trust our coaches. We had to trust each other and just grind it out. These are good teams. We expect them to go on runs.”
One of the biggest plays of the game was a steal by Mykasa Robinson. With just over 2 minutes left in the game the Cards had a tenuous 3 point lead when Mykasa kept her tiptoe in bounds to claim this steal. Olivia Cochran was fouled on the next possession and gave Louisville a small cushion in the final minute.
Coach Walz said, “Can’t say enough about Mykasa Robinson. I’ve said it all year. I called her parents.... I talked to her dad and just said what a pleasure and absolute joy their daughter is to coach. She puts her body on the line every single possession. She doesn’t give you anything but 100%.” He added, “That play she made was nothing but pure heart and guts.”
Coach Sam Purcell also praised Mykasa saying, “The thing that goes unnoticed in the box score is we put her on #10 [Lindsey Pulliam] who is no doubt a pro... and she was 1 for 11.”
On to the Sweet 16 where Louisville will take on the Oregon Ducks. The game is on Sunday the 28th at 7PM.