VAN LITH'S 17 LEADS LOUISVILLE TO 18TH WIN OF THE SEASON
|(DANA IN THE HOUSE !!)|
The Cards put three in double figures, led by Hailey Van Lith and her five threes, got a huge 13 points off the bench from freshman Payton Verhulst and held off a determined fourth quarter run from Duke to win Sunday afternoon in front of 9001 attendees in the KFC YUM! Center.
Louisville looked to be on their way to another systematic dismantling of an ACC foe early on in This one. The Cards cruised to a 25-14 first quarter lead against the Blue Devils .Van Lith was "on" -- sinking three threes in the first quarter, and it looked like Olivia Cochran might be headed for a big game, too, with five points early, but she picked up her second foul with just slightly over two minutes gone and Walz lifted her from the contest for Liz Dixon.
The Cards were dominating inside in the first quarter with a 10-0 points in the paint edge and
if there was anything to raise an eyebrow over, it was Duke's 3-4 three-point shooting. The Cards had six assists on their 10 baskets and a solld 9-5 edge in rebounding.. Former Card Elizabeth Balogun was a non-factor in the quarter - - just two points on three shots, Engstler and Kasa Robinson doing the shutdown work on her defensively.
Louisville continued to build the lead in the first five minutes of the second quarter, stretching it out to 36-16 after a Chelsie Hall jumper Cochran did not see any second quarter action, but Louisville was getting solid play from Dixon and Engstler inside and Payton Verhulst was also having a huge second quarter...nailing two threes and putting eight points on the board. Duke found some fight left in them, though, and cut the Card lead to 36-23 with 3:24 left in the half after a Vanessa de Jesus jumper.
That is as close as the Blue Devils would get, though...Threes from Hall and Ahlana Smith put Louisville up 42-25 and a Verhulst three with 39 seconds left in the half pushed Louisville's edge to 45-25. Halftime had the Cards up 45-27.
The Cards were letting the three ball fly in the first 20 minutes and sank eight of their 19 attempts. They were also rebounding by committee well and held a 18-10 halftime edge. Van Lith led all scorers with nine points, Day-Wilson had seven for the visitors.
Expecting a Cardinal blowout? I was, but Duke regrouped and made a game of it. The Blue Devils methodically cut into the Cards lead and Day-Wilson and Lexi Gordon led a charge that has diminished the Louisville lead to 47-36 with 6:43 left in the quarter. .A 9-2 run for the Durham school which was finally slowed by baskets from Kianna Smith and Engstler. Another Smith score gave Louisville a 55-41 lead with 3:16 left in the third, Duke would cut that to nine at 55-46 over the next minute, but Verhulst turned in the final five points of the quarter for the Cards with two free throws and then a three with four seconds on the clock and Louisville held a 60-47 lead after three periods.
Duke gave Cards fans a nervous few minutes to start the fourth quarter when they outscored Louisville 10-2 in the first 2-1/2 minutes to make it a 62-57 game. A K.Smith bucket and Hailey Van Lith three over the next minute were huge, though, to push the Cards lead back out to ten, and Engstler got a turnover off of Balogun and created two points to make it 69-57 with 5:45 left in the game. Engstler was whistled for a foul -- her fifth -- was 3:10 to play, one of many questionable calls during the game by Eric Brewton, Angelica Suffern and Thomas Danaher. Without Emily, Duke managed to outscore Louisville 8-5 the rest of the way. A Van Lith jumper was UofL last score with 27 seconds left to make it 77-63 and the Cards get the win 77-65.
FREE THROWS -- No complaints here, except for the disparity in the team's attempts. Louisville went 8-9, Duke went 15-21. No Card attempted more than two in the game, Day Wilson alone went 9-10 for Duke. Still, 86.9% is well over our 70% standard needed for a letter, so we give out the CAPITAL "F". ..
REBOUNDS -- The Cards won the battle of the boards 28-26. Kianna Smith and Engstler grabbing five each for UofL to lead them, An 11-6 advantage on the offensive boards for UofL but Duke took the defensive rebounding total 20-17. The Cards only got three combined from Dixon and Cochran. I'll go with a small case "r" here...
EFFORT/EXECUTION -- Louisville shot 47.5% for the game and had 20 assists on 20 made baskets, a number I'll take any time. The Cards won in points-in-the paint stat 24-20, points-off turnovers 29-17 and 2nd chance points 17-6. 25 bench points would also indicate that Walz was able to successfully distribute the minutes successfully, something he wanted to do,with three games in the next eight days. I asked Van Lith post game about her team high 31 minutes and she responded "I was fine with it. You know me, I think I'd be fine and happy with 40 minutes, because of my conditioning". I'll assign a CAPTAL "E" here.
DEFENSE -- The Blue Devils shot 46.8% and were just 8-15 from three-point range. For the third straight game, an opposing player went off for over 20 points against UofL -- Day Wilson getting 25. The Cards did have seven steals and forced 20 turnovers . A quiet night for Balogun, who finished with just five points, three rebounds and no threes. I'll give a CAPITAL "D" here, because of the win and the way the Cards fought back and pushed the lead back out every time Duke threatened.
FINAL FRED TALLY: F-R-e-D
(PHOTOS BY JARED ANDERSON)
|(Who does Balogun think she is supposed to be guarding?)|
POST GAME VAN LITH and ENGSTLER
Louisville departs tomorrow on a three game road trip that starts against Miami Tuesday night.