Louisville women’s basketball improved to 12-0 on the season Sunday in a revengeful way.
Florida State entered Sunday’s contest the winner of six of last eight meetings, including in last year’s ACC Tournament semifinals. But the Cardinals had hot shooting performances from Kianna Smith and Hailey Van Lith, who finished with 16 and 15 points, respectively, and made a combined seven of Louisville’s 11 three pointers to secure a 84-56 win for the Cards.
U of L had a strong overall team performance, with 22 team assists to just 11 turnovers.
With No. 1 Stanford losing in overtime to Colorado on Sunday, the Cardinals could be the new top ranked team in the land — which would mark the first No. 1 ranking in program history.
Before thinking about rankings, it was about taking care of business against the Seminoles.
Here’s three things that stood out in Sunday’s performance.
Rebounding shows promise
The one thing coach Jeff Walz has preached about more than anything this year is rebounding.
The message was received by his team.
Not only did they crash the boards, but they hustled for loose balls and managed to outrebound a team known for rebounding, 38-25. Even more impressive, the Seminoles had six offensive rebounds for the game, but five of those came in the first half.
“If we rebound, we’ve got a chance to do some special things,” Walz said. “When we rebound, we can get out and run, and when we can get out in transition we’re a pretty darn good basketball team because we’ve got so many that can shoot.”
Continued growth of Smith makes this team dangerous
There were a few questions as to if Smith would play Sunday after hurting her ankle in Thursday’s game against Boston College. While Mykasa Robinson started in place of Smith, the redshirt junior guard from California made an impact from the moment she checked into the game.
She finished the game with 16 points, six assists and five rebounds.
“I was definitely concerned (about not playing),” Smith said. “Honestly, just a big shoutout to our trainer, Yoshi (Saito). Since the end of Thursday’s game until even before this game we’ve done nonstop treatment, really early in the morning towards the afternoon, and he’s just done a great job, and I felt really good before the game.”
Cardinals’ defense is getting closer
For three quarters, Louisville’s defense was elite.
But for one, it wasn’t its best showing.
Walz even called a timeout early in the third quarter and had what he called a “nice little discussion” with his team about defending better.
“We weren’t picking up the ball,” he said. “We started the third quarter by just exchanging baskets. We didn’t pick up the ball the way we needed to, because when Florida State starts going downhill and you don’t pick that thing up until six-seven steps past half court, you’ve got some serious problems.”
The Seminoles early on had no problems driving in the lane and getting easy buckets, but once U of L settled in at the start of the second half, FSU had no answer.
Louisville turned up the pressure, forcing 13 turnovers and holding the visitors to 41% shooting and 4-13 from three.
Reach Dominique Yates. Twitter: @RealDYates. Email: email@example.com.