You can always throw out the rule book for rivalry games so even though Kentucky was bringing a 4-6 record into today it didn’t mean the game would be easy. And it was not. For the better part of three quarters it felt like Louisville was the better team but the score did not corroborate that. It was a 1-point game with just over two minutes left in the third quarter. Then Louisville started to do more Louisville things. They turned up the pressure and grabbed rebounds (they out rebounds the Cats 44-23!) and started to get some separation. Kentucky would never let them run away with it but Louisville just had a little more than their opponent today and won 73-61.
Olivia Cochran had 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 removal of an opponent from their shoes. She also joined the 1,000 point club. Lele Love led the Cards in scoring with 14 points and 9 of those points coming in the 4th quarter when Kentucky was trying to claw their way back in. Nyla Harris and Sydney Taylor both had 13 points apiece.
Olivia’s teammate’s praised her as she hit a scoring milestone today. Nyla said, “I think Olivia is a great player but I think most importantly she’s a great woman off the court. She’s like a big sister to all of us.... we really do look up to her no matter what and we have her back just like she has our back.” She added, “It definitely helps when your captains are very present for the team chemistry as well and not just captains but sisters.” Coach Walz said, “O has been as steady as they come.... I’m proud of her.”
After the game Coach Walz said, “It was a battle which I knew it was going to be. There aren’t many of these [rivalry] games that aren’t.... In the middle of that third quarter we finally got some points from our defense. That’s what we’ve done this entire season we’ve turned people over and they’ve we’ve scored but in the first half we were not doing a very good job of that.”
Nyla said, “In the second half once you get the adrenaline going and the atmosphere and the fans it’s very hard to stop the energy that we have.” Lele said, “I like to have a lot of energy, yelling and screaming, you’ll hear me. I feed off of that.”
Louisville out-rebounded Kentucky a whopping 44-23. Coach Walz said, “I’m not sure they [Kentucky] were really crashing the offensive board. They were trying to slow our transition down and did a really good job of that. You look at fast break points and we only have 8.... so give them credit for that.”
Coach Walz praised Lele’s play, “She is one of our best, if not our best, on ball defenders that we have. She comes up with a huge steal at the end and let her defense start to bring her offense.... If she’s continue to believe and buy in that she can be our best defender every night and if you’re going to be that every single night then you are going to play.”
Coach Walz said, “There as good of people as we’ve had here throughout out my 17 years. They actually have joy for each other. They cheer for each other.... That’s what separates them. They’re all coming in here to win. They’re all sacrificing the number of points they scored in a game last year, but I know they thoroughly enjoyed winning.”
I love you card nation ,thank you ❤️ https://t.co/sHGSUze0U4— Olivia (@its_Olivia44) December 10, 2023
Next up the Cards stay in the Yum to take on Morehead State at 4PM on Wednesday. The game can be seen online on ACC Network Extra.