After a yr off due to COVID-19 scheduling, Louisville and Kentucky ladies’s basketball groups had been again on the court docket collectively.
A top-15 matchup between No. 5 Louisville and No. 14 Kentucky was a closely-contested battle by way of all 4 quarters. Louisville, although, outlasted Kentucky 64-58, successful its fifth straight recreation of the rivalry.
Louisville (8-1) was led by Chelsie Corridor with 15 factors, Ahlana Smith with 13 and Hailey Van Lith with 13. Kentucky (6-3) was led by Dre’Una Edwards with 14 factors. Rhyne Howard completed with 9 factors.
The Cardinals, who’ve now gained eight straight recreation since dropping its opener to Arizona, will host Jap Kentucky on Thursday. Kentucky, which has dropped two in a row, will host Morgan State on Friday.
Protection the story for either side
Offense was optionally available on Sunday afternoon because the Wildcats and Cardinals each struggled from the sphere.
The groups shot beneath 41% from the sphere, with Louisville taking pictures 40% and Kentucky taking pictures 39%. Kentucky made only one subject objective within the third quarter whereas Louisville’s proportion was helped by taking pictures 61% within the fourth quarter.
Howard, Kentucky’s All-American, shot simply 3-of-13 from the sphere. Louisville performed a number of defenders on Howard. It started with Kianna Smith on protection and had 4 or 5 completely different gamers switched onto her at completely different instances of the sport.
Louisville labored to smother her as a lot as doable.
“Rhyne is a superb participant so we knew coming in we simply needed to hunker down and maintain her to nonetheless many factors we may and get the job carried out,” Corridor stated.
Louisville struggled offensively as nicely, but it surely did sufficient down the stretch to shut out the sport. It ended the competition on a 11-4 run.
Louisville coach Jeff Walz was thrilled about his crew’s defensive efficiency.
“When you’re taking part in a recreation like this, that’s the way it’s going to be. I didn’t anticipate to have 95-90 recreation, but it surely was nice effort everybody, simply actually actually excited for all of them,” he stated.
Louisville’s capacity to power turnovers the distinction
Louisville’s offense wasn’t there all afternoon, however its protection was the distinction maker. Louisville compelled 21 turnovers in opposition to Kentucky and turned these into 21 factors.
The Cardinals have lived on their protection this season and it was the distinction as soon as once more on Sunday. Louisville’s compelled turnovers weren’t lifeless ball turnovers, both. The Cardinals had 10 steals within the recreation, which killed any momentum Kentucky needed to get again within the recreation or lengthen small leads.
Within the scouting report, Louisville knew it might have an opportunity to power turnovers and it did that in bunches. Louisville has now compelled 183 turnovers this season, a median of 20.3 per recreation.
“Simply going off the scouting report and figuring out what now we have deliberate, we knew that in sure performs we may get steals in sure choices,” Corridor stated. “We simply wished to execute the sport plan and get it carried out.”
Ahlana Smith offers spark for Cardinals
Louisville has been on the lookout for extra out of Ahlana Smith and acquired it in an enormous approach on Sunday. The junior faculty switch had 13 factors, two steals and one block in 22 minutes. She set her Louisville profession excessive and had a large hand in a late possession that modified the sport.
Down one level, she scored 4 of Louisville’s subsequent six factors together with a block and rebound. If Smith can proceed to play that approach, Louisville’s bench will simply get deeper.
Walz and his workers have been hoping to get extra consistency from Smith since final season. Final yr she averaged 2.8 factors and simply 10.6 minutes per recreation. She struggled with consistency at instances in her first yr with Louisville, however now into her second yr, she’s proven that Walz and his workers can depend on him to play a whole lot of minutes in huge video games.
“When she performs like that she’s able to doing what she did,” Walz stated. “She went 6-for-11, took good photographs, had an enormous pull up in transition late within the fourth quarter, as nicely. I used to be actually pleased for her and I am hoping she is going to use this to get higher.”
This text initially appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Louisville ladies’s basketball: Playing cards win 5 video games in opposition to Kentucky