The No. 4 seed Louisville Cardinals (22-10) left no doubt in its 74-48 win over No. 12 seed Wake Forest (16-16) Thursday afternoon in the ACC Quarterfinals at the Greensboro Coliseum. The Cardinals raced out to a big first quarter lead thanks to 17 points in the quarter from Hailey Van Lith as they advanced to the ACC Semifinals for the eighth time in program history.
Van Lith led all scorers with 26 points against the Demon Deacons, the most points she has scored in an ACC Tournament in her career. It was the third-most points scored by a Louisville player in the ACC Tournament, tying Asia Durr, who had 26 points against Notre Dame in 2017. Mykasa Robinson had another all-around game with a team-high 10 assists, eight rebounds, four points and three steals. She has led the Cardinals in assists in each of the last night games and had eight rebounds or more in four-straight games. Chrislyn Carr scored 16 points and Olivia Cochran was also in double figures with 11 points.
The Cardinals pushed the pace early on and scored the first five points of the game. Nyla Harris had an early block and led to a transition three from Carr and it forced the Demon Deacons to call timeout just 1:24 into the game. The Cardinals were lethal from behind the arc in the first quarter, as they shot 5-for-6 from behind the arc in the opening quarter. Van Lith was the catalyst for the Cards as she scored 17 of the team’s 20 points in the first. The Cardinals held a 20-8 lead after the first quarter.
Wake got the deficit to single digits early in the second quarter but the Cardinals answered with an 8-0 run as they hit three shots in a row to put some distance between the two teams. The Demon Deacons answered with an 8-0 run of their own in the final minutes and the Cardinals took a 34-24 lead to the half.
Van Lith led all scorers with 21 points in the first half on 7-of-11 shooting and she was 4-for-5 from behind the arc. Robinson had a team-high five assists in the first half and Harris had a strong half on the boards with eight in the first 20 minutes.
Cochran and the Cards scored the first six points of the third quarter to extend the lead to 16 and forced the Demon Deacons to call another timeout. The Cardinals lead grew to as high as 25 in the third quarter as they took control of the game. The Decs finished the quarter on a 7-0 run but the Cardinals led 53-35 with 10 minutes remaining.
Another strong run paced the Cardinals in the fourth quarter as they scored the first seven points to put any comeback bid to rest. With the win over the Demon Deacons, the Cardinals advance to the ACC semifinals for the eighth time in program history. Louisville will face No. 1 seed Notre Dame and it will be the third time the two teams have met this season, all within the last three weeks. The Cardinals and Fighting Irish will be in the first semifinal matchup of the day on Saturday at 12 p.m. ET and it will be aired on the ACC Network.