The outlook was getting worse, the University of Louisville women’s basketball team falling behind Kentucky by nine points with less than eight minutes to go in the third quarter. Situation getting out of hand, with any thoughts of a thrilling 67-66 win all but out of the question.
Some will say that it was two minutes, 25 seconds into that quarter that this UofL team would find itself, shortly after Coach Jeff Walz inserted Yacine Diop into the lineup. Diop was in to try and contain UK’s Rhyne Howard who had scored 22 points to that point. Mission accomplished, Diop allowing Howard only four more points over the next 17 minutes
Diop, who sat out last season with an injury after transferring from Pittsburgh, would contribute four points in the quarter, including a 3-pointer that would cut Kentucky’s lead to 55-53 at the 1:59 mark. She would wind up with a season high eight points to go with six rebounds and two assists.
Providing the go-ahead basket for Louisville would be Kylee Shook, perhaps playing the game of her career. Shook would sink a 3-pointer from the top of the circle in the midst of a furious 13-point run for the Cardinals.
Shook claiming a major stake in this Louisville-Lexington rivalry, making life miserable for those associated with Wildcats. Kylee would finish with her fourth double-double this season, with 11 points and 13 rebounds. UofL needing every one of those, as well as five in-your-face blocks.
Dana Evans, ever the leader, making only one 3-point shot, but leading UofL with 19 points and a whopping 10 assists. Jazmine Jones bringing the enthusiasm, along with 10 points. Bionca Dunham, another Card with a career game, also adding 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and a block.
This game perhaps answering any question about the toughness of this team, setting the stage for more significant victories ahead. The leadership qualities of Evans, Diop, Shook, Dunham and Jones emerging when they were most needed, showing the way for their younger teammates.
Fourth in a row over Kentucky for UofL, ending UK’s undefeated nine-game win streak this season.
Gallery courtesy of Cindy Rice Shelton: