CRAWFORD | Near miss: Louisville goes cold in OT to fall to Mississippi State 73-63 in Final Four
Eric Crawford with a quick look at Louisville's national semifinal game against Mississippi State.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDRB) – You don't come much closer to reaching the NCAA championship game than the University of Louisville women's basketball team was with Myisha Hines-Allen driving on the break for a layup with seconds ticking down in regulation, and the game tied against Mississippi State.
Hines-Allen was bumped on the layup and couldn't finish it, but Jazmine Jones came in behind on a point-blank follow that also rolled off. The game went to overtime after that, tied at 59. But Louisville wasn't the same. It made only 1 of 10 shots in overtime, and Mississippi State walked away with a 73-63 victory.
The loss ended a splendid season for Louisville. The Cards finished with a school-record 36 wins against only three losses. But they will look back at some big plays that cost them in their biggest game of the season. A technical foul in the fourth quarter that sent junior Sam Fuehring to the bench. The missed layups at the end of regulation.
Louisville got 18 points from Asia Durr, 11 from Myisha Hines-Allen and a fantastic game, 15 points and 9 rebounds, from Jazmine Jones. But the Cardinals could not overcome an NCAA-record 25 rebounds to go with 21 points, nor 25 points from MSU All-American Victoria Vivians.
Louisville led for large stretches in the first half, but Mississippi State had runs at the end of each of the first two quarters to end with the lead. The Cardinals jumped to a 6-0 lead and held the Bulldogs without a field goal for the first 5:15, but MSU’s defense was nearly just as good.
Foul trouble dogged the Cardinals in the second quarter. Myisha Hines-Allen picked up her second foul early in the second period, and Sam Fuehring and Arica Carter both had two at halftime.
The Cardinals led for more than 12 minutes of the first half, and got a major lift from Jazmine Jones, who had nine first-half points, and off the bench from Dana Evans, who also had nine in the half. It was huge for Louisville, because Hines-Allen and Durr didn’t have a point between them in the quarter.
The third was another back-and-forth period, as both offenses began to heat up. A pair of three-pointers by Durr at the end of the quarter, including one at the buzzer, gave Louisville a 48-46 lead heading into the final period.
The Cardinals got a break in the final minute of the period when Vivians, who led the game in scoring with 18 points at the time, picked up her fourth foul and went to the bench. A three-pointer by Hines-Allen moments later put the Cards up 51-46.
A Durr jumper with 6:49 left put Louisville up 53-46, and forced a timeout from MSU coach Vic Schaefer, who put Vivians back into the game. She responded by driving for a layup to stabilize the Bulldogs. After a stop, they scored another one. That sparked an 8-0 run for Mississippi State, while Louisville missed five straight shots.
Then came a devastating sequence for Louisville. Fuehring was called for her fourth foul on a block out, then slammed her hands to court in frustration and was assessed a technical foul, her fifth of the game. Two free throws MSU up three, but Hines-Allen came away with a steal on the ensuing pass in to the post, and then hit a 19-foot jumper to pull the Cards within one with just under two minutes to play.
Jazmine Jones came up with a steal on MSU's next trip, and Carter drove for a layup with 1:03 to put Louisville ahead, 57-56.
Vivians missed a jumper for MSU on its next possession, and Louisville rebounded with just under 30 seconds left. The Bulldogs then had some fouls to give. They fouled twice, and Walz called timeout with 14.6 seconds left. He needed another one after Louisville couldn't get the ball in bounds.
Hines-Allen then broke open and drove the baseline for a layup to go up three with 11.3 seconds left.
MSU called its final timeout to get the ball at midcourt. Roshunda Johnson then nailed a three-pointer from the top left to tie the game with 5.6 seconds left. Hines-Allen took the ball and streaked down the court, but missed a layup, and Jones missed the put-back.
Vivians started the overtime scoring with a three-pointer after a Jones turnover. And Louisville went cold. It missed four shots in a row, and after a Vivians layup with just over a minute to play, the Bulldogs led by five.
Then, another key moment. Vivians was whistled for her fifth foul for holding Durr, who made both free throws with 58.2 seconds left. After that, The Cardinals forced a turnover, tying up MSU. A Jones put-back put Louisville within a point with 50 seconds left. Evans fouled William on the other end, then Hines-Allen threw an ill-advised downcourt pass and MSU came up with the turnover. Carter fouled out on the other end with 38.4 seconds left. MSU's
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