For one half Clemson was right in this game and with 7:24 to go in the 3rd quarter the game was tied at 44.
Then Hailey Van Lith happened.
Hailey scored 16 of her career-high 34 points (6 of 6 on 3-pointers for the game) in the 3rd quarter and pretty much put the game out of reach. She’s been a solid contributor and leader all season but this was the kind of total domination the fanbase has been hoping to see from her. The final score was 93-71.
Of course HVL didn’t do it alone. Liz Dixon came off the bench to score 12 points. Emily Engstler didn’t score in the first half but she finished the game with 10 points and 8 rebounds.
After the game Hailey talked about handling Clemson’s defense. “We’re really, really tough to guard. All five girls on the court can score and have 20 any night. So that’s the fun thing about playing for Louisville... I play with great players and we had fun out there tonight.”
Coach Pineda talked with Nick Curran about Clemson and said, “This team is much better than their record shows.... They hit us and punched us in the mouth, but I thought we punched back and battled back.”
Hailey’s teammates got her the ball (25 assists) and Coach Pineda said, “They knew in the huddle. They were talking about ‘find Hailey, find Hailey’ and then what you love about Hailey is she told them ‘guys, they’re not helping... go ahead and take it to the rim.’”
That lack of help defense was to Emily’s benefit, “Her shot’s been a little off so her main goal in the first half was to try and rebound and do whatever she can to make the team better. Second half she turned a new leaf. They weren’t helping in the paint so we found her on some cuts and she was aggressive at the rim and that’s what we need from her.”
She also praised Mykasa Robinson. “Mykasa changes everything about our team. She is our identity. I thought she did a great job..... She came in and got some steals and that gets our team going.”
The Cards finish off their road trip as they travel to Syracuse for a rematch with the Orange on Sunday. The game is at noon and can be seen on RSN.