There were a lot of rough patches and tough losses this season. Tonight was not a perfect game. The Cards watched a double-digit lead shrink down to 58-53 with 2:52 to go. This is where all of those rough patches paid off because Louisville was able to stay calm and hold the line. And lo and behold the Cards find themselves in the Elite 8 for the fifth straight season.
Coach Walz talked about the changes he made that helped his team get to this point, “Over the past month and half I switched our line up around and put Kas at the point because you’ve got to guard her when she’s got the basketball because she sees the floor so well.... as soon as we did that it freed Chrislyn up to score.”
He added, “I’ve really been pleased with Morgan for the last two and a half weeks... if she was sitting here I’d say this... it has not been easy for Morgan. It’s been an adjustment trying to have her understand the level of play you have to play at every single day. Believe me I’ve gotten a lot of grief from a lot of our fans for not playing her more but I told her I’m not doing her just if I just put her in the game if you’re not going to go as hard as you can.... she’s really picked things up. Just really happy for her.
Mykasa Robinson said, “It took us a little longer to glue and we did it at a good time and that’s why we’re playing like we are.” Olivia Cochran said, “Everybody is just executing their role and knowing what the scouting report is.... everybody is playing together and having each other’s back.” Hailey Van Lith said, “What I think makes us unique is you have to guard our bench players. Like you have to know who they are on the scouting report. You can’t just leave them open because they’re good and they can score and they can defend and they can rebound.”
Hailey Van Lith led all scorers with 21 to which she added 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Morgan Jones had another strong game off the bench with 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocked shots. Mykasa Robinson scored 7 of her 11 points in the 4th quarter. She also had 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
Hailey talked about playing back in Washington her home state. “Obviously it was amazing to have friends and family and the whole state out cheering for us... I’m a very focused player and everyone knows that about me. There were no distractions before the game to say the least but after the game I went and kissed all the babies and hugged all the people. After business is done I celebrate.”
Safe to say Jeff Walz didn't have to look far for motivation heading into the Ole Miss game. @WHAS11 pic.twitter.com/NGGCtAnpKR— Kent Spencer (@WHAS11Kent) March 25, 2023
Next up the Cards take on Iowa and phenom Caitlyn Clark. The game is on Sunday at 9PM and can be seen on ESPN.
LOUISVILLE HEADS BACK TO THE ELITE EIGHT FOR THE 8TH TIME UNDER COACH WALZ#MarchMadness x @LouisvilleWBB pic.twitter.com/WDKUenk2ql— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessWBB) March 25, 2023
5th straight @CoachJeffWalz that’s tough — Asia Durr (@A_Hooper25) March 25, 2023
Can’t wait to see Mykasa guard Clark— Peyton Siva Jr (@PeypeySiva3) March 25, 2023