Louisville started off looking a little sluggish today. Coach Walz substituted out all the starters near the end of the first quarter and kept them in until midway through the second and they seemed to give the team a little boost. Still the Cards were just up 36-29 at the half. In the second half Louisville would get a lead but then Pitt would quickly close the gap but finally in the 4th quarter the Cards seemed to wear them down and they kept a comfortable lead for good.
All the players who entered the game scored today. Leading the way off the bench was Jayda Curry with 15. Kiki Jefferson had 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Sydney Taylor and Merissah Russell both had 9 points apiece.
Coach Walz said, “I thought we played well at times defensively and then we had moments where we were just really bad. So we have to cut back on those,” He said in the third quarter there were stretches where it seemed like the players decided “if you just don’t guard anyone it might shock ‘em and then they’ll miss shots because we left some people so open I didn’t know what we were doing.”
Merissah said, “We tried to be aggressive on defense and usually it works out when we do but sometimes we come out flat and Coach Walz has to get on our butts. We’re capable of doing that for 40 minutes now it’s just we need to start doing that from the tip.” She added as they head into the last part of the season, “Coach Walz is an evil genius and mastermind and he know how to whip us right into shape when it’s time to play. He knows how to push buttons that you didn’t even know you had in you.”
However it wasn’t all bad news. He also said, “We did come up with some big plays at big times. I thought Lele’s [Love] steal on the inbounds play, I think it was a 12 to 14 point game, kind of boosted us and the next thing you know we went on a 6-0 run to put it up to 21.” He added, “It’s a good group to coach. They cheer for each other which is what I like.”
Merissah added to that, “We’re really close off the court as well. We care about each other off the court... we cook dinner together, we watch movies together, “ she laughed, “we may spend a little too much time together but you can see what’s happening on the floor that we really care for each other and we really want each other to play well.”
Jayda said, “I think with Coach Walz the one thing he’s consistently done with me is instill confidence. It hasn’t been something he hasn’t been giving me it’s been moreso me being confident when I’m out there to be aggressive.... Today the shots were falling which was a good thing.” She laughed and said that Coach Walz tells her “never have I ever had to tell somebody to shoot more than you. Usually I have to tell people to stop shooting.”
Next up the Cards stay at home to meet Syracuse on Thursday. The game is at 7PM and can be seen on ACC Network Extra.