GREENSBORO, N.C. (WDRB) – If you want the applause and respect that come with being the best women’s basketball team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, then you beat Notre Dame.

It’s that simple. But hardly that easy.

For the last four seasons everybody has answered to Notre Dame and coach Muffett McGraw. Four tournaments, four titles. The Irish have been to ACC women’s basketball what the Warriors are to the Western Conference.

The streak stopped here Sunday in the 2018 ACC Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum. Jeff Walz and the University of Louisville stopped it, just the way the Cards stopped the Fighting Irish during the regular season.

Well, actually, not just the way. Louisville defeated Notre Dame by 33 during the regular season two months ago at the KFC Yum! Center.  This time the Cardinals won by – exhale – two, 74-72.

A three-point play by Sam Fuehring, off a splendid pass from Myisha Hines-Allen, followed by two free throws by Arica Carter, followed four free throws by Asia Durr sealed the win for the Cardinals.

Behind by a basket at halftime, Louisville turned up its defensive in the third quarter and ended Notre Dame’s winning streak at 14.

Louisville outscored the Irish, 20-13, to take control. Then they opened the fourth quarter by stretching their lead to 59-52, forcing McGraw to ask for timeout with 7:12 to play.

Didn’t matter.

Walz’s team was too poised and potent. All five Louisville starters scored in double figures. ACC player of the year Asia Durr was scoreless in the first quarter, but Fuehring and Arica Carter handled the load.

Durr was there when Walz needed her. She stuck a three-pointer from the left of the key with 4:45 to play that pushed Louisville ahead, 63-56. Durr finished with 17 while Carter had 16.

The Cardinals face an eight-day wait until they learn the who, when and where for their next game. The draw for the NCAA Tournament will be March 12.  

Louisville is positioned to serve as a host school for the opening weekend of the tournament, with a preference to play on Friday March 16 and Sunday March 18.

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