Louisville defeated Pitt 77-53 a few weeks ago but that performance was not to be replicated this afternoon. Pitt came out in a zone and it seemed to take the Cards awhile to adjust to it. In the second quarter Louisville was held scoreless for about 4 minutes and got down by 12 before starting to hit some shots. They went into halftime down 6 and shooting 25%.
However, the Cards started to get in the flow in the second half. They ended up scoring a season high 13 three pointers for the game. Still even though they got a 7 point lead early in the 4th quarter they let Pitt back in the game. With a minute to go Louisville was down again by 1 but a three by Chrislyn Carr with 48 seconds to go put the Cards ahead for good. Heads up defensive plays by Mykasa Robinson in the stretch secured the win.
Coach Walz said, “We knew that they were going to come out in a zone... our problem was at the defensive end the first half. Yeah we missed shots but we gave up too many points in transition. We turned the ball over.... they had 10 points off of our 10 turnovers and we had 1 off of their 12. You can’t do that.”
After only scoring 5 points in the first half, Hailey Van Lith finished the game with a team high 18 points. She also dished out 7 assists. CC Carr had 16 points and 4 assists. Olivia Cochran had 9 points and 8 rebounds. Norika Konno came off the bench to play 17 minutes and score 11 points in crucial spots in the game.
Coach Walz praised Norika. “I thought Norika was outstanding. I was just really excited for her after everything that she’s been dealing with to be able to come out and play as well as she did in a really big game was great.” He said that he asks her from game to game if she’s feeling capable of playing. He said that school starts back tomorrow and she’s taking 19 hours to graduate.
At halftime the 2013 runner up team was honored. Hailey said, “We’ve been talking a lot about that team lately.... the coaches have shared with us how much joy that those girls played with when they were around each other. They knew they were the underdog but they just loved to compete together and I think that’s something we can learn from them. In the second half I think we found that and I hope we made those girls proud.”
Next up the Cards travel to Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech who is currently ranked #9. The game is on Thursday the 12th at 7PM and can be seen on the ACC Network.