By Sam Draut–
Syracuse defeated Louisville 80-75 in the semi-final round of the ACC tournament to advance to the conference championship game. Mirroring similar first quarter play to its quarterfinal win, U of L women’s basketball team couldn’t climb back to victory after another slow start and missed shots late in the fourth quarter.
Myisha Hines-Allen posted her 11th double-double of the season with 27 points and 12 rebounds, but Louisville couldn’t hold onto a four point lead in the fourth quarter after rallying from a 12 point first half deficit.
“They attacked us from the get go. Unfortunately, we did not play the way I thought we would,” Louisville head coach Jeff Walz said. “We aren’t good enough to play without following a scouting report.”
The Cardinals (25-7 overall, 15-1 in the ACC) led 73-69 with 3:23 left in the fourth quarter, but Syracuse closed out on an 11-2 run. Louisville missed 6 of its last 7 shots.
Trailing 76-75 with 30 seconds left, Hines-Allen’s 18-foot jumper bounced off the front iron and Syracuse forward Cornelia Fondren rebounded the miss and made two free-throws to extend the lead to three points with 18 seconds left.
After committing seven turnovers in the first quarter against Georgia Tech, Louisville faced similar problems protecting the ball in the first quarter against Syracuse. The Cardinals had six turnovers and fell behind by seven points. Similar to the 60-50 win over Georgia Tech, Louisville played a cleaner second quarter, committing only one turnover. Walz said the first quarter turnovers gave Syracuse “momentum.”
Asia Durr helped Louisville respond in the second quarter. The freshman scored 8 of her 23 points in the second period. Durr finished with three 3-pointers and added four rebounds. “Offensively, she does some really good things,” Walz said. “We need to have her on the floor because she can do a lot of things on the floor.”
For the second-consecutive game, Mariya Moore struggled shooting from the field. After going 1 of 12 against Georgia Tech, the sophomore missed all six shots and was held scoreless. “It’s her mental approach,” Walz said. “She holds onto everything, if its a missed shot she holds onto it the next possession.”
Syracuse outrebounded Louisville by two, but Walz said his team got outrebounded and outhustled at big times.
Part of the rebounding issues were based in large part by Syracuse’s containment of Louisville’s second-leading rebounder Cortnee Walton. The 6-foot-3 forward injured her hand in the final game of the regular season, also affecting her low-post prowess. Walton had just two rebounds in 28 minutes of play.
“I thought they did a really good job of making contact with her, and then her hand affected her,” Walz said.
Photo by Wade Morgen / The Louisville Cardinal