By Dalton Ray —
Women’s basketball’s season came to a devastating end at the hands of Mississippi State in overtime, 73-63.
The Cardinals had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but the two attempts at the rim just missed.
After a painful end to a historic season, Louisville must now move on.
Coach Jeff Walz points to the big picture when it comes to the loss.
“Athletics: Sometimes there’s good, and sometimes there’s bad. You can’t let one game define you as a person or define your season,” Walz said.
As expected, the Louisville locker room was filled with emotion. Walz harped all year about the character of his team. The players showed their class, fielding any and all questions after their crushing loss.
Louisville’s leading scorer entered the press conference far from the normal, smiling and joke-cracking self. Defeated, Durr’s shoulders slumped as reporters slung questions across the four-person panel.
Somehow, Durr seemingly went unnoticed throughout the press conference — until the end.
“Question for Asia,” a reporter said.
The junior snapped out of mourning and sat tall.
“When you think of Myisha Hines-Allen, what comes to mind?”
And just like that, the emotions hit Durr like a truck.
“I’m sorry. I can’t talk,” Durr said.
She gathered herself and shared her thoughts on one of the best friends and now former teammate.
“When I first got here, she did so much for me. My first year here was so hard for me. She’s the one who brought me through, took me underneath her wing,” Durr said.
Durr looked at the highlights of the season in the locker room.
“We made history … we’ve done a lot of great this year. This loss does not take away from what we did,” Durr said.
The team’s lone senior walked into her final press conference as a Louisville Cardinal with tears in her eyes.
The first question to Hines-Allen pertained to the shot that sent the game into overtime. Hines-Allen said she hoped it didn’t go in so Louisville would have won. Then in an act of class, she praised Mississippi State’s Roshunda Johnson and the Bulldogs.
“She’s a phenomenal 3-point shooter. Phenomenal team that we just played,” Hines-Allen said. “It was a mental breakdown that we had and she got that open look.”
Hines-Allen took the opportunity to talk about Durr after the game.
“She was an All-American this year and not a lot of people can do that after injury,” Hines-Allen said. “Off the court, you want to be around her. She’s so goofy and nice and kindhearted … she’s so humble.”
The sophomore from Florida had one of the best games of her career on the biggest stage she’s ever been on. In 40 minutes, she recorded 15 points (7-of-9) and nine rebounds.
Staying to together was the biggest thing to Jones.
“We all had each other’s backs. We never turned on each other,” Jones said. “We stuck with each other through the ups and the downs. We’ll continue to do that through the tough down we’re having right now.”
Fuehring only had two points, but had one of the games biggest moments late in the fourth quarter. The junior was called for her fourth foul while boxing. Unhappy with the call, she slapped the floor to release her frustration.
Her reaction garnered a technical, sitting her down for the rest of the game.
“I just wasn’t expecting it at all,” Fuehring said. “I slapped the floor in frustration. The ref could have called it either way, but she just called it on me.”
Evans helped carry Louisville during the second quarter, preventing Mississippi State from running away from the game. The freshman had nine points and four rebounds in the contest.
She earned All-ACC Freshman honors, but doesn’t take the credit for herself.
“I just want to say thank you to my teammates for always being there for me,” Evans said. “I’ve had my ups and downs as a freshman, but Myisha was always there for me. (Arica Carter), Asia and everyone helped me out through hard times.”
You can follow Dalton Ray on Twitter @dray5477.
Photos by Karen Nguyen / The Louisville Cardinal