By Ed Peak
Given up for dead early, the University of Louisville women’s basketball team had to change. A major gut check. Or makeover. Or whatever when you look flat and listless.
Like having freshman Olivia Cochran emerge as a star at just the right time, contributing 13 points and 15 rebounds. Just too much to handle for Northwestern after running out of adrenaline.
UofL trailed by 18 points in the second quarter and 12 at halftime. With major adjustments by Coach Jeff Walz, the Cardinals came roaring back for a 62-53 victory. Louisville was behind 32-16 with 1:56 in the opening quarter, but outscored the Wildcats 46-30 the rest of the game.
“They came out hot,” said senior guard Dana Evans who continue to struggle at times. “We had to get stops and we figured out a way to win the game.”
Evans finished with 14 points, two rebounds, two assist and two steals. She just one turnover.
Freshman guard Hailey Van Lith gave the Cards a big scoring lift close to a with 13 points. Van Lith made all her four field goal attempts including two threes. She had an assist and a steal.
Late in the game, like she always seems to do, Mykasa Robinson came up with a steal, teetering on the sideline, as the ball was going out of bounds. Some way, somehow getting the ball to Cochran when the Cardinals could not afford to lose the ball.
“I’ve got to give credit to Hailey, Olivia and Kianna (Smith). They came up with big plays,” said Evans. Smith captured scoring honors for UofL with 16 points.
Robinson, UofL’s defensive ace, also held Northwestern’s career 2,000-point scorer Lindsay Pullium to one of 11 shots from the field and only four points.
Louisville advances to the Sweet 16 to play Oregon, a 57-50 winner over Georgia. Game time is Sunday, 7 p.m.