By Sam Draut–
Louisville weathered a slew of seven first quarter turnovers and defeated Georgia Tech 60-50 to advance to the semi-final round of the ACC tournament. After being named the ACC Player of the Year earlier in the week, Myisha Hines-Allen finished with her 10th double-double of season for the seventh-ranked Cardinals.
The 6-foot-2 forward scored 22 points and pulled down 13 rebounds as Louisville advances to face the winner of Syracuse and NC State on Saturday for a spot in the ACC Championship.
Hines-Allen was rebound shy from tying her career-high in boards and made 10 shots from the field.
“She has been playing extremely hard and efficient, she is rebounding the ball,” Louisville head coach Jeff Walz said.
With Louisville clinging to a one-point lead with seven minutes left in the second quarter, Asia Durr scored seven points in a four-minute span that helped the Cardinals (25-6 overall, 15-1 in the ACC) to extend their lead to 10 points before halftime. The freshman scored all of her points in the second quarter.
“She is a phenomenal player,” Hines-Allen said. “She comes off the bench and gives us points, gives us the spark that we need.”
Coming off the bench in her usual reserve role, Durr helped to make up for a poor offensive first quarter performance by the Cardinals. Along with the seven turnovers, Louisville shot 30.8-percent from the field and managed to score only 13 points.
“We had to slow down and take our time with their press because they were throwing a lot of different looks at us,” Hines-Allen said.
Trailing by as many as 13 points in the second half, Georgia Tech (19-12 overall, 8-8 in the ACC) closed the deficit to six points with 3:03 left in the fourth quarter. Hines-Allen responded with a 10-foot jumper in the paint and Mariya Moore sunk two free-throws the following possession to extended Louisville’s lead to double-digits with two minutes left.
Despite struggling from the field, going 1 of 12, Moore scored 9 of her 11 points from the free-throw line. The sophomore added five rebounds and four assists.
“Mariya stepped up at the line,” Walz said. “She did not shoot the ball well for us tonight, but for her to go 1 of 12 and us to win speaks volumes to the rest of our team because that’s not what she is going to do on a normal basis.”
After suffering a left pinky-finger injury the last game of the regular season, forward Cortnee Walton started and played 29 minutes with the appendage heavily taped. Walton had 11 rebounds and scored four points.
“At first, I was a little nervous with shooting,” Walton said. “I surprised myself how good I could still be.”
In the postgame press conference, Walz said he has grown to expect his redshirt-junior’s rebounding performances, believing she should have been named as a member of the All-ACC team.
Filling in for Walton, freshman Sam Fuehring played 14 minutes and contributed with six points and six rebounds.
“I was really pleased with the energy Sam brought,” Walz said.
Louisville faced another brief injury scare in the third quarter when Hines-Allen landed hard on her right shoulder. She received attention from the trainer and returned to the game a few minutes later.
“I tweaked my shoulder a little bit, it hurt, but I’m all right,” Hines-Allen said.