Notre Dame blown out by Louisville in ACC Tournament semifinals
With olivia miles unavailable for the ACC Tournament, it seemed like only a matter of time before the other shoe dropped for Notre Dame. Drop it did against Louisville in the semifinals, and it was not pretty.
After both teams struggled for much of the first quarter, the Cardinals started to pull away and never looked back. Faced with a stifling opposing defense, the Irish set a tournament record for offensive futility by a top seed in a 64-38 loss.
The Irish (25-5) defeated the Cardinals (23-10) twice during the regular season, including the finale to clinch the outright ACC regular-season title, and neither win came easily. So it seemed only natural for the third time to be the charm for the Cardinals, who previously had won six straight in the series. Their defense was unforgiving to the point where the Irish finished with more turnovers (22) than field goals (16). In fact, they didn’t allow the Irish to reach double figures in scoring for the first three quarters.
Hailey Van Lith scored 13 of her game-high 15 points for the Cardinals in the second half and had three steals. Olivia Cochran had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and also grabbed eight rebounds. Chrislyn Carr scored all 10 of her points in the second half, and Mykasa Robinson totaled 10 points and eight boards.
Maddy Westbeld was the Irish’s leading scorer but had only nine points, which was a perfect indication of how the afternoon went. The only other game in recent program history that featured such dominance by the opponent was when these same Cardinals jumped out to a 54-15 halftime lead last year at Purcell Pavilion. A loss to this team even with Miles on the floor might have seemed possible, but the Cardinals took complete advantage of her absence. The Irish lacked direction without their floor general, and it showed.
So now, the Irish have over a week to see if Miles can play in the NCAA Tournament. If her availability remains questionable by the time the selection committee releases its bracket, that could hurt their seeding to the point where they won’t get to host the first two rounds. There are a lot of questions surrounding this team right now, and it couldn’t be happening at a worse time. It really shows how sports all are about timing.
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