No. 7 Louisville women beat Georgia Tech 60-50 in ACC
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Louisville coach Jeff Walz knew his team would have a tough and physical opener at the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
Good thing he had Myisha Hines-Allen to help pull the seventh-ranked Cardinals through on a night when they struggled to make shots.
Hines-Allen had 22 points and 13 rebounds to help Louisville beat Georgia Tech 60-50 in Friday’s quarterfinals for its seventh straight win.
The second-seeded Cardinals (25-6) led most of the way and frustrated the cold-shooting Yellow Jackets (19-12) just about all night, taking a 10-point halftime lead and never letting Georgia Tech closer than six again even though they struggled to land a finishing blow.
Walz figured it was a good test for his bunch.
“Oh sure, I’d rather come in and play something like this than have a 40-point win,” he said. “Now, at the same time, they aren’t all that bad either. But we had a chance to go up against a lot of different looks tonight.
Hines-Allen — named ACC player of the year earlier this week — didn’t get a lot of help from her teammates, who shot a combined 28 percent (12 for 43). That included second-leading scorer Mariya Moore, who scored 11 points but went 1 for 12 from the field.
ACC leading scorer Aaliyah Whiteside finished with 20 points to lead seventh-seeded Georgia Tech, which shot just 31 percent.
The Cardinals started the season 1-4 but had won 21 of 22 entering Greensboro, with the only loss coming by five to No. 2 Notre Dame. Now they’re headed to Saturday’s semifinals to face No. 17 Syracuse.
Louisville got a brief scare when Hines-Allen crumpled in the lane clutching her right shoulder after a scrap for a rebound and left the game late in the third quarter. She returned minutes later and finished 10 for 20 from the field while scoring Louisville’s last four baskets, including all three of their fourth-quarter made shots.
The big one came after Georgia Tech had clawed to within 54-48. Hines-Allen buried a tough straightaway turnaround over Georgia Tech’s Roddreka Rogers with 2:29 left.
“She’s a phenomenal talent,” Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. “Every big shot, every big play she was a part of. When they needed a score, when we were making runs at them ... she came up with a big play. That’s why she’s ACC player of the year.”
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets are now 16-37 in the ACC Tournament all-time. ... Georgia Tech had reached the quarterfinals by beating Wake Forest in Thursday’s second round.
Louisville: Moore missed all nine of her 3-point tries but made 9 of 10 free throws. ... Louisville made 15 of 17 free throws. ... The Cardinals went 1 of 14 from behind the arc.
Louisville finished with a 45-37 rebounding advantage, with Cortnee Walton finishing with 11 despite playing with a taped-up dislocated pinky finger on her left hand.
“It’s something the team needs to do,” Hines-Allen said. “When Cortnee is going to the boards, you have two people going right after her, so it’s just like I’m cleaning it up.”
Whiteside came in averaging 19.4 points, but had just two on 1-for-9 shooting by halftime. She finished 6 for 20, with Walz saying he thought the Cardinals “made her work hard for everything she got.”
“I think I just wasn’t being aggressive and they were trying to take me away,” Whiteside said. “But I think the second half, I just changed and tried to come out more aggressive for the team.”
Georgia Tech will wait to find out if it makes the NCAA Tournament.
Louisville will play No. 17 Syracuse in Saturday’s semifinals.
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