It was a close game in the first half and then the Cards got down in the third quarter and it felt like their championship dreams were slipping away. Then they went on a 12-4 run to end the third with a slight lead. The lead grew to 8 in the last quarter and Card Nation began to taste the sweet victory. However, it was not to be. The Cards had a couple of scoring droughts and with less with a minute to go the game was tied. NC State’s Raina Perez made a tough jumper with 5 seconds to go. Dana Evans missed a shot at the buzzer and that was that.
Dana had another rough night and scored all but 2 of her 15 points in the second half. Kianna Smith had 13 points and 4 rebounds. Olivia Cochran had 8 points and 8 rebounds.
After the game a tearful Dana said, “I didn’t do the best that I could with bouncing back and letting the last play go but it’s basketball. I tried to kinda get a rhythm a flow... but I couldn’t get in the flow. At all.” She added, “We’ve just got to use it as motivation. Can’t dwell on it there’s nothing we can do about it but watch film. Watch this game over and over again and see how we can be better... how I can be better.”
On the bright side Coach Walz said, “Our bench play has really given me some confidence. I thought Norika [Konno] really played well again today. Ramani Parker gave us ten solid minutes. Alahna Smith only got seven but I also think she did some good things for us.”
However Coach Walz also pointed out: “We gave up some big time O boards when we got them to take shots we wanted.” He added, “We had some stretches were we were not very good,” but also, “it’s all a learning lesson. We’re going to continue to get better and better. I had some devastated kids in that locker room, and I think that’s a good sign.”
Next up, the NCAA tournament. The selection show is March 15th and the tournament will begin on March 21st.