With five seconds to go in the half and her team down by 20, Georgia Pineau desperately searched for an open teammate to take the final shot of the half. After pump faking toward Emma Guy down low, Pineau passed toward Taylor Ortlepp in the corner, only to find Louisville center Kylee Shook in the way. As BC made a half-hearted attempt to get back on defense, Shook took the ball down the entire court and got her linedrive mid-range attempt to fall just as the buzzer sounded.
Shook’s impressive solo effort capped off a dominant first half for the Cardinals (26-3, 15-2), and No. 5 Louisville never looked back, notching an easy 68-48 win over the Eagles (17-11, 10-7). The win handed the Cardinals the ACC regular-season championship.
BC has shown impressive form of late, winning five in a row and picking up huge last-second victories against Clemson and Notre Dame. The streak has pushed the Eagles into the conversation for an NCAA tournament berth. But a loss to Louisville could spell trouble for the Eagles’ chances at going dancing.
Louisville got off to a fast start, jumping out to a 8-2 lead just five minutes into the game. Two minutes later, Shook hit a 3-pointer and the Cardinals’ lead increased to 12.
BC seemed unable to get out of its own way early on, committing turnover after turnover. On multiple occasions, Eagles guards misjudged the direction of a teammate’s cut and ended up throwing the ball into the stands. BC finished the night with 23 turnovers, a high total even for a team that ranks 265th in the nation in turnovers.
Just as Louisville seemed set to put the game out of reach, Makyala Dickens went on a tear. She hit a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer on the Eagles’ first possession after Shook’s 3 and then hit another 3-pointer less than a minute later. With 30 seconds to go in the half, Dickens calmly brought the ball up and immediately pulled up for another triple, giving her nine points in less than two minutes and cutting Louisville’s lead to three.
Despite Dickens’ heroic performance at the end of the first quarter, the Eagles were unable to carry their momentum into the second period and scored just seven points in the quarter. Dickens’ shots stopped falling, and the Eagles’ turnover woes continued. By halftime, Louisville had capitalized on 23 points from BC turnovers and held a 44-24 lead.
Louisville’s lead stayed largely the same for the entire second half, fluctuating between 18 and 24 points, and the Eagles never made a serious threat to come back.
Shook was a force for the Cardinals, constantly threatening to score from any part of the court, collecting 18 points and 10 rebounds along the way. She was equally effective on the defensive side, notching a pair of blocks and steals, and neither Guy nor Taylor Soule was ever able to get comfortable in the post.
Starting Guy, Pineau, and Soule, the Eagles struggled to keep up with Louisville’s speedy guards. Jazmine Jones put up 17 points on an efficient 7-of-15 shooting, with two of them coming on a beautiful lob from Yacine Diop in which Jones seemed to float by the unsuspecting Eagles defense.
Cardinals star guard Dana Evans, who leads the team with 18.1 points per game, was out with injury, but Louisville did not miss a beat. Mykasa Robinson started in place of Evans and had a strong performance with five assists and three steals.
BC was never able to get anything going offensively, as Shook locked down the block and the Eagles’ shooters struggled to get into a rhythm. BC connected on only four of its 16 3-point attempts and shot just 35.8 percent from the field.
Featured Image by Leo Wang / Heights Staff