Early in the first quarter, Washington’s defense made an immediate impact as Louisville missed 12 of their first 18 shots and were 0 of 3 from the 3-point line.
The Cardinal finished the first quarter shooting 31.6% overall (6-19 from the field); however, the Huskies only led by two points (15 -13) at the end of the first quarter.
After falling to a 16-point deficit in the third quarter, Washington made a fourth quarter surge.
The score was 54-38 to start the 4th quarter.
Washington’s 11 to 0 fourth quarter rally cut Louisville’s lead to 54-51 with 3:05 left.
The Cardinal didn’t score in the fourth until a Hailey Van Lith free throw with 2:42 left in the game.
Washington had nine (9) turnovers in the second quarter, as Louisville forced five of Washington’s 14 first-half turnovers over less than 3 minutes. The Huskies only scored eight (8) points in the second versus the Cardinal’s 20 points.
In the third quarter, Louisville almost gave the Huskies a death blow, as the Huskies’ turnovers and Louisville’s points off those turnovers were the story.
The Cardinal pushed their lead to 16 points late in the third quarter.
Overall, Louisville forced 20 more turnovers than the Huskies, which proved too much of a disparity to overcome — despite the Huskies’ fourth quarter surge that put the game up for grabs in the final minute.
Nancy Mulkey had her best game as a Husky — especially considering the opponent.
This will be Husky center Nancy Mulkey’s biggest test to date, maybe of her entire career.
Louisville’s 6’3″ Olivia Cochran and 6’5″ Liz Dixon led the team in rebounding last year ( Cochran averaged 6.9 boards, while Dixon had 5.4 per game).
Particularly on defense and on the boards, Mulkey held her own against Louisville’s bigs.
For the game, Mulkey had seven blocks(!), along with eight (8) rebounds, six (6) points, three (3) assists and two (2) steals.
In the fourth quarter, Mulkey had two huge blocks plus three rebounds and one assist.
Haley Van Dyke continued her stellar all-around play and showed she’s a tough matchup for any opponent.
Against the Cardinal, Van Dyke had 15 points, seven rebounds, one block and one steal for the Dawgs.
Meanwhile, sophomore big Alexis Whitfield provided a spark off the bench with 10 points and four rebounds.
Whitfield repeatedly demonstrated that her speed, athleticism and ball-handling was a huge mismatch for Louisville’s bigs.
With the game on the line in the fourth quarter, Husky guard Trinity Oliver made a huge impact coming off the bench.
Oliver’s maturity and experience in playing top level competition shone through.
Trinity Oliver shot 50% (2-4) from the field overall and 100% from three-point range.
Oliver also added three (3) rebounds, one (1) assist and one (1) steal to her fourth quarter totals.
Trinity’s demeanor, leadership and big shots seemed to give the Huskies an added boost of confidence that they could upset the Cardinal that fueled the Huskies’ surge down the stretch.
”I’m so proud of our kids,” Washington coach Tina Langley said after the game. ”I think these young women have worked incredibly hard. Just so selfless. They’ll play any position, do anything we ask. I can’t tell you how many players I had playing out of position today.”
It was a great effort by the Washington Huskies against the nationally ranked Louisville Cardinals (No. 10).
However, it was still a loss to the first Power Five team that the Huskies faced.
The PAC-12 is full of teams that are the same caliber as Louisville, so the Dawgs will still need to take the next step and learn how to win games against top competition.