Notre Dame poses a hurdle for Louisville women
The University of Louisville women’s basketball team has won four straight games going into a big game against Notre Dame at South Bend, Thursday. A major test for the Cardinals, the Irish currently ranked 12th in the nation with a 20-4 won-lost record, 10-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
During the winning streak the Cardinals (19-8, 9-4) have allowed an average of 61 points a game. The season average is right at 64 per game. Back in November, however, the Cardinals weren’t all that effective, actually giving up 96 points in a loss to Ohio State. The Cardinals are getting better on defense at jus the right time.
“We just decided to start doing it now (defense),” said junior Hailey Van Lith. “We didn’t get any new skill sets or players. We are the same girls. We just changed our mindset.”
Norika Konno has been inserted into the starting lineup and has made a difference. “We live scrimmage (in practice). Coach Walz really puts in a lot of focus on defense in practice. Box out, play hard.”
In Sunday’s victory over Clemson the Cards held the visitors to 22 first half points. The Tigers were held to 10 of 28 field goals.
“We played the scouting report, didn’t swat down,” said Van Lith. “We played really good defense. We fell off in the second half and that can’t happen.”
Louisville has four regular season games remaining, including 10th ranked Notre Dame (20-4) twice, Boston College and Miami.
“Nobody in our league is going to quit,” said Walz. “Everybody gets caught up in wins and losses. Look at Clemson they are 5-10 in the league but they’ve lost two in overtime.
“I thought we defended extremely well in the first half,” said Walz. “In the second half we weren’t as dialed at the defensive end. We weren’t able to get things off our defense for our offense. This time of year you are just trying to stack wins.”
Walz spoke with his team about how to get thought the dog days of a season. “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”
With the post season just around the corner Van Lith likes her team’s progress. “We are in a good place right now.”