The No. 22 Louisville Cards were on the road at No. 19 Ole Miss for the inaugural ACC/SEC challenge this week and put a W in the win column for the ACC.

Let’s get this out of the way immediately. Women’s officiating is, was, and always will be trash. We know that as well as we know nothing will ever be done about it. By the final buzzer there were 51 personal fouls on the count from both teams combined. Were you breathing? You probably got a whistle. Congratulations. 

Now that we’ve covered the obvious, let’s dive into the win Louisville had over Ole Miss Wednesday night. In a 64-58 victory, the Cards battled their way through one of the longest basketball games I have ever watched that ended in regulation. Two hours and twenty-nine long minutes of fouls, defensive battles, and nearly four-minute-long scoring droughts. 

At the end of the first quarter, everything was tied up at 14 and neither team would see another basket until three and a half minutes into the second quarter. That alone should tell you how chaotic the entire first half of the game was. From missed jumpers to bad pass turnovers, it seemed like neither team could find a groove. Sure, we can partially blame that on the officials not allowing them to play, but some of that was good defense preventing either team from finding a steady offense.

Louisville had 11 defensive boards in the first half and doubled that number by the end of the night. They also applied enough pressure to the Ole Miss offense to rack up 8 steals and a block that was clean from Olivia Cochran. The defense was able to turn 21 Ole Miss turnovers into 18 points of offense and I personally feel as though the defensive performance from Louisville is what really secured the win for them. Sydney Taylor led the team in boards with 6, all of them being defensive. Nina Rickards, Olivia Cochran, Merissah Russell, and Eylia Love all tallied 4 boards each and Nyla Harris had 3, one which ended the game. 

Offensively, Louisville was 41% from the field, but only had 14 points coming from the bench. An unusual stat for this roster so far this season. There was an improvement in the three-point shooting, which came in at 50%. It’s not great, but that has been one thing I’ve stated repeatedly I hoped we would have a breakout star in. Sydney Taylor was responsible for 2 of 3 made three-pointers by the Cards. The real stars of the offense were Kiki Jefferson and Nina Rickards who had 16 and 15, respectively. They were also the only players who were in double-digit scoring that night. Jayda Curry (still the president of this fan club) and Sydney Taylor tallied 8 points each.

The Cards are back home this Sunday to host NC A&T at noon. You can stream the game on ACCNx or listen live on 93.9 The Ville. 

Dave Scull and I will be back with your women’s basketball post-game show on December 10th after Louisville faces the blue team from down the road! Keep an eye out on twitter and your ears open on 93.9 next week for a big announcement from both of us! 

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