CRAWFORD | Ugly game, perfect outcome: Louisville women beat UNC to go unbeaten on road in ACC
It wasn't pretty, but the result was perfection -- Louisville completed a perfect 8-0 slate in ACC road play to improve to 27-2 overall in Sunday's 67-57 win at North Carolina.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The snapshot isn’t much to look at. The University of Louisville women’s basketball team struggled with a North Carolina team that had lost six straight games, but pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 67-57 victory.
It wasn’t a showy offensive game for Louisville. It may have been that the Cardinals have been on the road since last Sunday, when they traveled to Connecticut for a Monday matchup with Connecticut.
“It was definitely an ugly basketball game,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said to open his postgame interview with Nick Curran by Louisville Sports Properties on WKRD-790 radio. “I thought defensively we actually did some pretty good things, held them to 57 points, a team that averages in the upper 70s. We just couldn’t get anything going on offense.”
Louisville missed all five layups it shot in the first quarter; for the game it went just 3-9. The Cards had 19 turnovers in 69 possessions. Asia Durr went down with a sprained ankle with 8:20 left, and didn’t return.
“We miss those layups in the first quarter, and it should’ve been 14-5, and now you’ve got things going,” Walz said. “But I thought we kept battling and chipped away. We’d score and then we wouldn’t sprint back on defense and they’d get a layup.”
You get the picture. Now let’s widen out the lens to the big picture. This game wasn't pretty -- but the result was perfection. The Cardinals have completed their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule with a perfect 8-0 road record. They’ve won 10 straight league road games. They’ve won 15 out of their past 16 on the road overall. This is the second time in three seasons they have navigated through their ACC road schedule unbeaten. In the past three seasons, they’re 21-3 in ACC road games.
That’s an amazing mark. It’s worth stopping for just a minute to appreciate.
But only a minute. Walz continually has the ACC regular-season title in front of his players. They’ve not won a league championship of any kind under Walz. This is a rare opportunity.
“I talked with them in the locker room,” Walz told Curran. “I told them I’m proud of them. Especially with Asia going down with a sprained ankle in the fourth quarter. They could’ve folded, but they kept fighting. I thought Arica Carter played outstanding.”
Carter went 5-9 from the field and scored 14 points. She also dished out five assists and had only one turnover. She’s improving now with almost every game. Durr had 19 points before her injury, which Walz said should not keep her out against Virginia in the KFC Yum! Center on Thursday. And after struggling the first three quarters, Myisha Hines-Allen delivered some big baskets and rebounds late to finish with 10 points and seven assists.
“Everything is in front of us,” Walz said. “We’ve got a chance to win the league, be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament if we can win these last two games, but I really challenged them today, because we had some offensive opportunities where we missed some people who were wide open and you can’t do that, you’ve got to be able to deliver a pass to a wide-open shooter.”
Louisville also continues to struggle at the beginning of games. After falling behind Connecticut big, they’ve trailed both Boston College and North Carolina at the end of the first quarter. With two regular-season games remaining this season – on Thursday and Sunday at the KFC Yum! Center – Walz said they’ll still work to fix that.
“We’re going to keep working, there’s no question about it, to try to solve it,” he said. “We have two huge games this week at home. . . . There’s a lot of things to take from this today, but we’ve got to get better offensively.”
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