In what was appropriately dubbed as “The Gender Reveal Game” by The State of Louisville, Louisville upset ACC rival and #11 in the AP Poll North Carolina with a 62-55 victory. Hailey Van Lith and Chrislyn Carr each added 17 points apiece to propel the Cardinals over the Tar Heels.
The closest in scoring behind HVL and Carr was Morgan Jones with only nine points. Head Coach Jeff Walz was able to get his squad to squeeze out this victory because it was an overall mediocre night on the offensive side of the court. Shooting a mere 33.9% from the field and a less than stellar 29.6% from behind the arc, the question then becomes how did the Cardinals pull off this upset?
Not only could Louisville not seemingly hit shots from the field, but they also lost the turnover battle, turning it over 22 times to North Carolina’s 14. Turning the ball over more than the other team and failing to hit consistent shots is usually a good recipe for a loss. But, Jeff Walz was able to will his team to a win despite all of the adversity.
One of the big difference makers for the Cardinals was their bench outscoring the Tar Heels 28-11 to go along with 18 second-chance points to only 8 for the blue squad. It was a defensive grind for both teams with Louisville coming out on top.
ESPN College Basketball Analyst Kelly Gramlich had this to say about the KFC Yum! Center:
The @LouisvilleWBB home court environment & fans are a difference maker. One of the toughest places to win in the country.
— Kelly Gramlich (@kellygramlich) February 5, 2023
The crowd this season has been much more involved in the women’s games than the men’s games and it is clearly making a difference if someone not directly tied to Louisville is noticing it. Fans in attendance became a “sixth man” on the court for the Cardinals and certainly were a factor in affecting the game.
Next up for Head Coach Jeff Walz and company are the Virginia Cavaliers on February 9, 2023 at 7:00 PM EST in Charlottesville, Virginia. Louisville heads into the matchup with a 17-8 record to Virginia’s 14-10 record.