Who can Louisville WBB depend on as March Madness rapidly approaches?

U of L head coach Jeff Walz huddles his team during their game against Virginia at the KFC Yum!
U of L head coach Jeff Walz huddles his team during their game against Virginia at the KFC Yum! / Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal / USA

At No. 22 in the nation, the Louisville women’s basketball team, the Cardinals are doing surprisingly well, especially considering they lost their star player Hailey Van Lith.

Ranked higher than most league experts expected, Louisville is third in the highly competitive ACC standings.

Without a nationally recognizable player like Van Lith, Caitlin Clark, or JuJu Watkins, which players will need to step up to carry their team through the NCAA Tournament?

Louisville WBB Starting Five:

The Cardinals have put up some impressive numbers this season due in large part to their starting lineup. Head coach Jeff Walz has molded his team into a defensive force using five key players; Nyla Harris, Olivia Cochran, Kiki Jefferson, Sydney Taylor, and Nina Rickards.

Taking a look at the team’s overall stats, where could these five improve their production levels?











Senior guard Kiki Jefferson leads Lousiville with 13.2 points per game while Taylor, Cochran, and Nyla Harris combine for an additional 32 points. Without these four players, the Cardinals’ offense would be almost entirely lacking

Rickards as well as bench players need to improve their shooting to boost the team’s offensive output.

Defensively, Cochran is a monster on the court. Leading the team with 1.4 steals and 0.5 blocks per game, she has helped hold Lousiville’s opponents to a measly 62.8 points on average.

If more players can step up defensively, the Cardinals stand a good chance of shutting their opponents down in the tournament. At the end of the day, the fewer points that the other team scores, the easier it is to win.

2023-24 season so far:

Louisville has seven losses this year, five of them coming in conference plays. Heading into the ACC Tournament, the team needs to push its way to at least the semifinals. Already this season, the Cardinals have some pretty impressive wins over ranked foes:

  • 59-51 win over No. 23 Washington on Dec. 20
  • 77-72 win over No. 23 Miami on Dec. 31
  • 81-69 win over No. 21 Syracuse on Feb. 1
  • 73-66 win over No. 12 Notre Dame on Feb. 8

The road to March Madness:

The Cardinals will face unranked Florida State and No. 19 Notre Dame in their final two games of the regular season. Closing out the year with two wins would greatly boost Louisville’s postseason stock.

  • Vs. Florida State – Feb. 29 at 8 p.m. ET
  • At Notre Dame – March 3 at

Leaning on Jefferson to lead the team in scoring and having the team combine for continued defensive prowess bodes well for Louisville’s path in the NCAA Tournament.

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