Jan. 05, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Myisha Hines-Allen and Louisville knew they were in for a talking to after a sloppy first half at Virginia.
The eighth-ranked Cardinals had 12 turnovers leading to 17 points for Virginia and trailed 38-25.
After the break, Hines-Allen, Mariya Moore and the Cardinals turned things around, erasing a 15-point third-quarter deficit with help from a smothering press, withstanding a 3-point shot at the buzzer that forced overtime and escaping John Paul Jones Arena with an 86-81 victory Thursday night.
”It all starts on defense, getting stops,” Hines-Allen said after establishing career highs with 31 points and 17 rebounds. ”That’s the main thing we weren’t doing in the first half.”
Virginia had just five turnovers in the first half, but they gave it up on six consecutive possessions in the second, allowing the Cardinals to run off 12 straight points.
”We had to try to change the tempo of the game,” coach Jeff Walz said, and his players made the plan work to perfection.
”We know it’s effective if we play hard and that’s our biggest thing,” Hines-Allen said. ”If we go hard, I feel like we can turn over a lot of teams.”
Moore scored 18 of her 23 points after halftime for the Cardinals (14-3, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). Louisville seemed to have command in the final minutes, but Virginia erased a six-point deficit in the final 2 minutes, pulling even when freshman Dominique Toussaint hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime.
The Cavaliers (11-4, 0-2) lost for the third time this season after leading by double figures at halftime.
”We’ve just got to find the thing that’s holding us back and crush it,” Toussaint said.
Coach Joanne Boyle thinks the Cavaliers are close to turning the corner, and a victory in one of their close games would go a long way.
”The second half when people kind of really turn it up on us is when we lose confidence,” she said.
The Cavaliers allowed 24 offensive rebounds that Louisville turned into 26 points.
Louisville: Now that they will be facing quality competition almost every time out, the Cardinals’ offensive shortcomings may begin to hurt. Only four players had scored until Cortnee Walton’s basket with 3:10 left in the third period. Only six players scored in their three-point loss at Duke on Monday, and three of them had four points or less.
Virginia: More than half the Cavaliers’ 11-player roster is underclassmen (five freshmen and one sophomore), so the more they can accomplish against quality teams, the faster they can learn what it takes to win in the ACC. Boyle has them focusing on defense, a formula that surely has worked for the Cavaliers’ men’s team.
LET’S PLAY TWO
Walz said he was fearful of a second overtime because Hines-Allen and Moore, who combined for 54 points, both fouled out in the first overtime.
The Cardinals were 13 for 20 from the free throw line in regulation, including four misses in the last 4:19. They were 11 for 12 in overtime.
HE SAID IT
”It’s really hard to score when you throw the ball to the other team, and I haven’t convinced them it’s impossible.” – Walz.
Louisville is at home against Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Virginia travels to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to play the Tar Heels on Sunday.