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ACC Semis: No. 7 Louisville battles streaking Orange

The Louisville Cardinals squashed the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Friday evening to advance to the ACC Women's Tournament semifinals. The Cardinals will face the third-seeded Syracuse Orange in a battle for the ACC Women's Championship.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Greensboro, NC -- The No. 7 Louisville Cardinals keep on dancing as they face No. 17 Syracuse in the ACC Women's Tournament semifinals.

Louisville Stings the Yellow Jackets

The second-seeded Louisville Cardinals squashed the seventh-seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a 60-50 decision to advance to the ACC Women's Tournament semifinals.

"We didn't expect this to be an easy ball game by no means," Louisville head coach Jeff Walz told the media in his post-game press conference, "If you look at what Tech has done the entire year, every game is a battle."

The ACC Women's Tournament quarterfinal match was no different.

Louisville struggled to find their groove in the first period turning the ball over seven times and allowing Georgia Tech to convert the seven turnovers into six points. The Cardinals held a slight advantage at the end of the first, 14-13.

Louisville battened down the hatches in the second period coming out strong defensively. The Cardinals kept ACC leading scorer Whiteside quiet as she went 0-of-4 from the floor.

Georgia Tech struggled against Louisville's defense only scoring eight points in the second. The Yellow Jackets committed five turnovers allowing Louisville to convert the turnovers into seven points.

Louisville held a steady 10 point lead heading into the half outscoring the Yellow Jackets, 30-20.

The third period was another battle as Aaliyah Whiteside found her game. Whiteside came out with vengeance scoring 12 of Tech's 16 third period points. However, Whiteside's effort was not able to dig the Yellow Jackets out of the hole. Louisville led 47-36 heading into the final period.

Georgia Tech was able to come within six points after Whiteside drove to the bucket with 3:03 remaining in the contest. Once again, Hines-Allen and Moore came to Louisville's rescue. Hines-Allen connected on a jumper to extend the Cardinals' lead to eight and Moore drew contact and earned herself a trip to the charity stripe to hit two shots and put Louisville up by 10 with 2:00 remaining.

Louisville sailed to victory in a 60-50 decision.

Stunning sophomores Myisha Hines-Allen and Mariya Moore were Louisville's saving grace. Hines-Allen recorded her 10th double-double of the season on 22 points and 13 rebounds. Moore struggled from the field going on 1-of-12, but her ability to draw contact earned her several trips to the charity stripe. Moore finished the evening hitting 9-of-10 from the line and collecting 11 points.

Scouting Syracuse

The No. 17 Syracuse Orange finished the regular season strong winning the final nine contests of the season. The Orange racked up wins against then No. 16/17 Miami at Miami and then No. 10/9 Florida State at the Carrier Dome.

Alexis Peterson is pacing the Orange posting 14.7 points per game and grabbing a team-best 71 steals on the season. Brianna Butler falls close behind adding 14.1 points per game and connecting on an ACC-best 108 shot from beyond the arc. Rounding out the top scorers is Bria Day. Day averages 10.2 points per game and pulls down a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game.

Syracuse Quiets the Wolfpacks Howls

The third-seeded Syracuse Orange put a muzzle on the NC State Wolfpack in an 80-61 decision.
Syracuse was lights out from beyond the arc hitting a game-high 12 three point shots. Brianna Butler led the Orange in threes firing off five of her own.

The Orange came out hot in the first period outscoring NC State, 21-12. Syracuse held State scoreless for nearly four minutes while the Orange went on an 11-0 run. Brianna Butler hit back to back shots from beyond the arc to put Syracuse up, 16-7 with 2:37 remaining in the first period. State's Jennifer Mathurin ended the drought for the Wolfpack firing off a three.

What NC State lacked in the first period, they made up for in the second period. State outscored the Orange, 16-13. A shot beyond the arc by Ashley Williams cut the Syracuse lead to one, but a clutch three from Butler put the Orange back on top by four. Syracuse took a 34-28 lead into the half.

NC State could not stop Syracuse's long-range game. The Orange fired off five three-pointers in two minutes to take a nine-point lead. NC State could not mount the momentum needed to claw their way back into the game.

Syracuse mounted an enormous fourth period, outscoring the Wolfpack 25-16 and ending State's hope of advancing.

The second-seeded Cardinals and the third-seeded Orange tip off at 2:30 PM EST. The contest will air on ESPNU.