LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – After a slow start, Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz needed to jolt his team to life in Monday’s NCAA Tournament first-round game against Marist.
He didn’t have a pair of jumper cables – but he did have Norika Konno, Mykasa Robinson and a full-court press that overwhelmed the Red Foxes and sent the No. 2 seed Cardinals on their way to a 74-43 victory in San Antonio’s Alamodome.
Louisville trailed by 9 early in the second quarter, and it was easy to wonder if the Cardinals' offensive struggles from the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament hadn’t followed them west.
Instead, the press took Marist out of its comfort zone and sped up the game. Louisville dominated from that point forward. The Cards finished the first half with a 17-3 run, giving up only one field goal in the half’s final eight minutes.
Robinson was incredibly active on defense, deflecting passes and crashing the defensive glass. Konno had five steals in the first half alone — four in the second quarter — and finished the game with 5 points and six steals.
After getting things going in the second quarter, the third was more of the same — with a twist. Walz sat All-American Dana Evans early, and the Cardinals gave up only one field goal the entire quarter, putting together a 22-2 run that settled the matter.
Walz brought Evans back to start the fourth quarter but pulled her and most of his other starters with the Cardinals up 30 and just under four minutes to play.
Louisville was led by Hailey Van Lith, who had 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting along with four assists. Evans was the only other Louisville player in double figures with 15, though she struggled from 3-point range, where she went 1 for 8.
Louisville will face Northwestern, which was an 11-point winner over UCF, on Wednesday. Tipoff time has not been announced.
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