Louisville has played some amazing halves this season. Unfortunately they’ve also had some amazingly bad collapses after those halves. In the second half Texas made a frenetic run and fans started to get a little nervous. Fortunately Coach Walz did not. His team did not. They took Texas’s jabs, shook it off, and then turned around and started throwing haymakers.
Hailey Van Lith said, “I think a lot of people have questioned our toughness this year.... we’ve let big leads get away from us, we’ve let defenses punk us a little bit, so that’s been a question of if we were tough and we kind of got tired of hearing it. We wanted to go out and prove that we’re the same ‘Louisville tough’ that this program has been for a long time now.”
Mykasa Robinson sat much of the first half with foul trouble. She said, “Personally for me this is my last go-round so I told my teammates I’m putting everything out there. Whatever we have to do to win I’m willing to do. I know that I’m surrounded by great players so it will all work out.”
Coach Walz responded to a question about how he probably expected to have given more by saying, “I thought Texas played hard. I’m not going to say they GAVE us anything. I mean that’s crap. We earned it. We threw that damn ball in the paint on the first possession to Olivia Cochran and said we’re going right at your bigs....It’s not like they didn’t play hard and they backed down. Do NOT write that because that’s a lie.”
Hailey led all scorers with 21 points. Morgan Jones came off the bench to score 10 points and grab 6 rebounds. Liz Dixon had 10 rebounds and 5 points. Coach Walz said, “We’d been out rebounded 13 to 6 in the first quarter and we end the game out rebounding them by 8. Toughness does matter.”
Hailey finished by saying, “This team we’ve been growing closer and closer. If you want to talk about leaders I think we’ve had people who have wanted to step up and lead and control the mood of the team but we also have girls who are willing to follow and be led and that’s really important too.”
Coach Walz attributes his 6th straight Sweet 16 appearance to his players. “It’s players that believe. Players who know that we care about them. We challenge them every single day.” He added, “I said at our tip-off luncheon this is going to be a team that is going to take some time and you’ve got to be patient with us. And we have several of our fans out there who weren’t.... but we have figured out how to get our kids to play their best when it matters.”
Next up the Cards meet Ole Miss who upset top-seeded Stanford. The game will be Friday, March 24th time TBD.
Let's keep dancing!! #GoCards X #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/ob8J6PTIcS— Louisville Women’s Basketball (@LouisvilleWBB) March 21, 2023
Enquiring minds really need to know what was said here pic.twitter.com/aILW052yNo— Christopher Bishop (@ChrisBishopL1C4) March 21, 2023
For all those inquiring, I asked Hailey Van Lith what was said in the postgame handshake line and here was her response. FWIW, midway through the question, Olivia Cochran yells out, “We got your back!” pic.twitter.com/MRbwS2d42r— Alexis Cubit (@Alexis_Cubit) March 21, 2023