Coach Walz warned everyone after the last game that Belmont was definitely not going to be a pushover. His words proved prophetic as the Bruins gave Louisville everything they could handle today. It was like a fight where both sides just traded punches. In the final minute Louisville was up 71-70 and two free throws from Hailey Van Lith pushed Louisville’s lead to three. On the next possession Belmont was called for a hard hip check and with 5 seconds left Peyton Verhulst sank two free throws to put the game out of reach.
Olivia Cochran celebrated her birthday today by pulling in a double-double. She had both 13 points and rebounds. Hailey Van Lith led all scorers with 25 points. Mykasa Robinson came off the bench but played 35 minutes. She finished the game with 9 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals. The Cards went 20 of 21 (95.2%) from the free throw line in a game where every point was crucial.
After the game Coach Walz talked with Nick Curran and said, “It was a great basketball game and one I knew was going to be tough.” He said that he talked with Belmont’s AD and Coach who both thanked him for coming there to play but he said, “that’s why we played it though. You can sit there and schedule these home games and win by 30 and 40 and that’s great... but what’s it really getting you prepared for. THIS was a learning experience. We gutted it out and found a way to win.”
Coach Walz also pointed out, “We have a huge target on our back. We’re Louisville. We’ve got some players who are starting to realize what it takes to possibly play at the level that we’re playing at.” He added, “Defensively we are not very good. We’ve got a lot of work to do and we will.”
Next up the Cards head to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Coach Walz said, “It’s going to be three tough games. You can come out of there 3-0, 2-1, 1-2, or 0-3.” He said that there’s nobody they look past and they’ll have their “hands full” with their first opponent: Gonzaga. The first game is Saturday, November 19th at 7:30PM and can be seen online at FloHoops.