The No. 15 Louisville women’s basketball team (20-5, 9-3 ACC) did everything it could but ultimately dropped Sunday’s contest to No. 23 Syracuse (20-4, 10-3 ACC), 73-72, at the JMA Wireless Dome. The Cardinals led for most of the game but it was back-and-forth over the final minutes of the fourth quarter. The Cardinals held a three-point lead in the final minute but Syracuse scored the final four points to close it out after a bogus and incomprehensible intentional foul was called on Olivia Cochran as the Cards had fouls to give.
Walz was especially animated in his post-game comments acknowledging that he would most likely get fined in an effort to try to finally get the ACC to take Women’s Basketball seriously and address its officiating problem.
Nyla Harris had another career game for the Cardinals as she set a career high in points for the second-straight game. Harris tallied 22 points and hauled in 11 rebounds for her second-straight double-double and the third in her last four games. Harris leads the team with five double-doubles this season and two of them have come against Syracuse. Kiki Jefferson joined Harris in double figures with 13 points, six rebounds and three assists. Nina Rickards had a team-high four assists to go with nine points and five rebounds.
The Cardinals got off to a fast start from the Dome on Sunday and they hit their first five shots from the floor. Louisville was 7-for-9 from the floor to begin the game and held a 14-10 lead going into the first media timeout. Louisville continued the strong shooting throughout the quarter and finished 11-for-17 from the field in the first frame and posted a 25-19 lead.
Harris continued her strong play against Syracuse this season as she tallied 10 points halfway through the second quarter. She scored in double figures against the Orange earlier this season with 18 on Feb. 1. Going back to last season, Harris scored eight points or more in both matchups against the Orange.
The Cardinals shooting cooled a bit in the second quarter but they still took a 40-37 lead heading into the half. Harris led all scorers with 14 first half points and had a game-high seven rebounds over the first 20 minutes of play. Curry had nine first-half points and beat the buzzer with a floater to end the first quarter.
Louisville had a great start to the second half as it ripped off the first seven points in the third quarter to build the lead to double digits. Syracuse fought back in the quarter and held the Cardinals to just four field goals in the frame but Louisville was 8-for-8 from the line and took a 57-52 lead into the fourth.
Syracuse got the first basket of the fourth quarter but Louisville quickly went on a 6-0 run and caused the Orange to burn a timeout. Louisville held a nine-point lead, 63-54, with 6:45 remaining in regulation. The lead evaporated as the game got down to the final minutes and Syracuse took their first lead of the game with 2:36 remaining. Olivia Cochran scored four-straight points to put the Cards back up by three but those were the final points of the afternoon for the Cards. Syracuse scored the final four points to etch out the one-point win.
The Cardinals have another road game on deck heading into next week. Louisville will head back to the Northeast to take on Boston College for their second matchup against the Eagles during the regular season. The Cardinals and Eagles will square off from Conte Forum on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET and it will be streamed on the ACC Network Extra.
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