By Matt Bradshaw —
Though not a long-time member of their conference, U of L women’s basketball has stoked a fierce rivalry with Notre Dame. The Cardinals held the upper hand in 2018, but the Fighting Irish turned the tables last week to become top dog in the ACC.
On Jan. 10, No. 1 Notre Dame gave No. 2 Louisville its first defeat of the 2019 season. The Cards led at halftime before losing control and notching an 82-68 loss.
Arike Ogunbowale, starting slow for the Irish, finished with 30 key points. Louisville senior Asia Durr nearly matched the total with 29.
“We got it down to two and then took a couple of poor shots we normally don’t do,” head coach Jeff Walz said. “I’m proud of our effort, but we got exposed in every area I told our players we were weak in.”
U of L struggled from the three-point line, sinking only 4-of-20. Their advantage came from 25 points off 18 turnovers from UND.
Notre Dame offset its ball-handling struggles with solid shooting, superior rebounding and fast break points. They also drew a staggering 28 fouls, placing most of the Cardinal bench in foul trouble.
“I’ve got to do a better job of coaching,” Walz said at halftime. “I’ve got to teach my kids not to foul. I suck at that.”
A confusing sequence occurred late in the game when Ogunbowale tangled herself with Louisville senior Arica Carter. The pair locked legs on the ground and, at one point, it appeared Ogunbowale aimed a kick at U of L players picking up Carter.
Referees reviewed what happened and, whether Ogunbowale intended to kick or not, no direct contact occurred. The no-call “dumbfounded” Walz, who maintained his cool throughout the contest despite a frustrating performance from the officials.
“So if we throw a few haymakers but because we don’t connect, it’s okay?” Walz said. “It’s women’s basketball. That’s all I can say.”
The Cards (ranked No. 2 as of Jan. 13) bounced back from the loss with a decisive victory over Georgia Tech, moving them to 15-1 on the season and 3-1 in ACC play. They host Virginia on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.
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Photo by Taris Smith / The Louisville Cardinal