Louisville, KY -- The top-seeded Louisville Cardinals are moving on to the Sweet Sixteen after running past the Marquette Golden Eagles, 90 - 72.
In her last game at the KFC Yum! Center, Myisha Hines-Allen put on a show. The lone senior hit her first ten shots from the field, finishing with 24 points and 13 rebounds for her 16th double-double of the season.
”It was my last game here and I wanted to go out with a win and my teammates got that for me,” an emotional Hines-Allen said after the game. “I’m just so thankful to make it here this far and have great teammates around me and wonderful fans that actually come out to the games and know what they are watching and just support us.”
As the senior took her final stroll across Denny Crum Court, in front of 8,000 fans, Hines-Allen bent down at center court and kissed the Cardinal bird logo.
Hines-Allen’s post play has been crucial for the Cardinals. The forward leads the ACC in career double-doubles with 45 and holds the season rebounding top spot averaging 9.8 boards a game.
Hines-Allen, along with Sam Fuehring, gave life to Louisville’s post play. Collectively, the duo pulled down 21 of Louisville’s 42 rebounds.
Marquette, a team that lacks physicality in the post, could not compete with Louisville’s post players, in particular, Hines-Allen.
”We don’t have a physical presence like her that we can keep throwing bodies at her” Marquette head coach Carolyn Kieger said. She continued, “We’re just one too many big bodies short.”
Louisville’s guards also stepped up in a big way. Asia Durr bounced back from a scoring slump, picking up 19 points as she started the game 4-4 from the field. The junior guard notched 10 points in the first frame, knocking down two triples.
Sophomore guard, Jazmine Jones, went 6-9 from the field for 14 points. Jones also pulled down six rebounds and dished out seven assists. Louisville’s guards combined for 40 of Louisville’s 90 points and 19 of the Cardinals 27 assists.
After the win, marking a second consecutive trip to the Sweet 16, Louisville head coach Jeff Walz explained why, aside from spectacular shooting, his team has been so successful.
”I want them to be able to laugh. I think laughter is a key to success,” Coach Walz said. “If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at? And I think it just calms them down, it gives them a little peace.”
At the end of the first half, the Cardinals led the Golden Eagles, 52 - 27. Louisville shot 70% from the field, picking up 32 points in the paint. Unfortunately, the Cardinals got sloppy in the second half, and Allazia Blockton took over. The junior guard notched 20 points in the second half and finished with a career-high 34 points.
”We had to do everything we could to make it difficult for [Natisha] Hiedeman to score and Blockton to score,” Coach Walz said. “And I thought we did that the first half. Now, Blockton put on a clinic there in the second half. She was very, very impressive.”
Despite Marquette winning the second half, the Golden Eagles were unable to come closer than 17-points.
Louisville advances to the Sweet Sixteen for the eighth time under head coach Jeff Walz. The top-seeded Louisville Cardinals will face the winner of No. 4 Stanford vs. No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast in Lexington.
Louisville had four players earn double-figures: Myisha Hines-Allen paced the Cardinals with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Asia Durr came out of her shooting slump to collect 19 points, five rebounds and six assists. Sam Fuehring also earned 19 points on 8 - of - 12 shooting. The junior was just shy of a double-double pulling down eight rebounds. Jazmine Jones notched 14 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
For Marquette, two players grabbed double-digits: Allazia Blockton scored a game-high 34 points, six rebounds and five assists. While Erika Davenport added 11 points and nine rebounds.