Analyzed Sports | Stephen Patrick
From Elite Eight to the Final of Four
The Madness continued in the Elite Eight. Rupp Arena was a sea of red as Louisville fans traveled to the hated home city of rival UK. It was rocking in Lexington, Ky as the #1 seed Lady Cardinals took on the # 6 Oregon State Lady Beavers in what was basically a home game for Louisville. Louisville beat Stanford in the Sweet Sixteen, while Oregon defeated Baylor. Over 6,000 fans witnessed the University of Louisville punching it’s ticket to Columbus with a 76-43 beat down. In the first half, it was a competitive game but Louisville came out with halftime adjustments and went wild.
The game started off as a defensive struggle for both teams. At the end of the first quarter, the score was 14-8 with Louisville in the lead. The quarter was plagued with turnovers and missed open shots by both teams. Especially with the Cardinals defense picking up Oregon State from half court. The Cardinals defense caused the Beaver to use clock taking ill-advised shots throughout the play. The Beavers shoot 27% but their defense was solid as the Cards sho
t only 29%.
The play picked up in the second quarter as the teams settled into the game. Both teams scored more than did in the first quarter after picking up the intensity and effort. Asia Durr lead the Cardinals with 11 points slowing down play, leading to the better execution of the offense. Taya Corosdale lead the Beavers with 9 points. The halftime score was 31-24. Louisville shoot 4-12 from the land of three and 54%. The Beavers were 4-8 from three shooting 60%. The story of the first half was Louisville’s ability to get second-chance points even though the Beavers had better field goal percentage.
Louisville came out firing and changed their defensive scheme from half court defense to a full press defense that frustrated the Beavers throughout the third quarter. Thanks to Louisville’s strong transition and fast play; the Beavers had no answers turning the ball over numerous times. Louisville could not miss as the “hometown” energy powered the Cardinals to a 28-12 third quarter. Entering the fourth quarter with the game in hand Louisville slowed the pace and killed the clock and took shots with under 5 seconds to ensure their third final four under head coach Jeff Waltz.
“Eleven years ago, who would’ve ever thought this would be possible. We sit here going to our third final four. When I was hired I just wanted a program, not a good team but a program that could compete on a national level. Louisville gave us the resources and ability to recruit to do just that.” Jeff Waltz said at his press conference, as he also became emotion describing what these women mean to his kids.
Asia Durr scored 18 points, Myisha Hines-Allen added 16 and Louisville earned its first Final Four berth since 2013. “If we were able to get stops and go in transition, we were going to be confident,” Hines-Allen said. “Our shots were falling in the second half, and it all came down to defense. If we wanted to win, we had to stop them.”
The most stunning stat was that Louisville committed three turnovers to tie an NCAA Tournament record. On the other hand, Oregon State committed 17 turnovers. Louisville cashed in, outscoring the Beavers 24-0 in points off turnovers. After a great weekend, Louisville had four players receive all-region team honors. Durr was named Most Outstanding Player. Joining her were teammates Hines-Allen, Carter and Fuehring, and their elite eight opponents Marie Gulich. The 2018 Women’s Final Four is set to start on Friday, March 30. And Louisville looks to play two days later on Sunday, April 1 for The National Championship.