AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Drake’s offensive finesse controlled the first three quarters of their upset bid against Louisville.
Cardinals guard Hailey Van Lith’s grit and tenacious drives to the basket took over the fourth, and No 5 Louisville survived what would have been another dose of March Madness from the No. 12 Bulldogs.
Van Lith scored 26 points, 13 of them coming over the final five minutes, to pull Louisville to an 83-81 win Saturday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. She played only 27 minutes because of early foul trouble.
â€œI had a nice break there,” Van Lith said. “My team did a great job. of keeping us in the game while I wasnâ€™t on the court. So thatâ€™s the only reason it was possible for us to win that game in the end. I was fully rested and ready to go.â€
Her three-point play off a layup out of timeout with 16 seconds left put Louisville up by four before Drake answered with a 3-pointer by Sarah Beth Gueldner. Van Lith then made two more free throws to all but seal the win for the Cardinals.
Mykasa Robison scored 14 for Louisville (24-11), which advances to Monday’s second round matchup of the winner between No. 4 Texas (25-9) and No. 13 East Carolina (23-9).
A Final Four team last season, Louisville will be playing for a chance to advance to the Sweet 16 for the sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament.
Katie Dinnebier scored 20 points for Drake (22-10), which confused Louisville’s defense early with a series of backdoor cuts that had the Bulldogs shooting layup after layup. Anna Miller scored 17 for Drake.
The Bulldogs had five players score in double figures and scored 42 points in the paint. They made 21 layups as Louisville struggled to close passing lanes and close down on shooters.
Louisville did its best job on Maggie Bair, Drake’s leading scorer and rebounder this season. She scored just five points on 2-of-10 shooting, and five six rebounds before she fouled out with just under four minutes to play.
That was about the same time Van Lith took the game on her shoulders. Her mid-range jumper with 53 seconds left put Louisville ahead for good at 77-75. Miller had a chance to tie it again but missed a layup.
â€œI think theyâ€™re just a very physical, aggressive team,” Drake senior forward Grace Berg said.
Drake: The Bulldogs have a solid…
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