LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Bellarmine University women’s basketball team will make the short trip downtown to face No. 10 Louisville at 7 p.m. (ET) Tuesday in the KFC Yum! Center.
Bellarmine (0-1) and Louisville (0-1) are meeting for the second straight season after the Knights entered Division I in 2020-21. The Cardinals earned a 97-46 home win last year and lead the all-time series 15-4.
Prior to Bellarmine’s rise to D1, the teams met regularly throughout the ’70s and into the mid-’80s. The last time Bellarmine beat Louisville came in the 1983-84 season, when the Knights secured a 76-67 road win. That victory marked the second straight triumph for Bellarmine over the Cardinals after U of L had built an eight-game winning streak prior to those matchups.
Louisville was picked sixth in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches preseason polls, and second in the Atlantic Coast Conference preseason poll. Last season, Louisville won its fourth consecutive ACC regular-season title and finished with a 26-4 record. The Cardinals entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 2 seed and advanced to the Elite Eight for the sixth time in program history.
Head Coach Jeff Walz is in his 15th season at Louisville and has directed the Cardinals to 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 10 Sweet 16s, six Elite Eights, three trips to the Final Four (2009, 2013, 2018) and two appearances in the national title game (2009, 2013).
Louisville opened the season Friday with a top-25 clash, falling 61-59 in overtime to No. 15 Arizona at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Hailey Van Lith scored a team-high 19 points for Louisville. The sophomore guard has been named to the Naismith Trophy Women’s Watch List and was selected preseason All-ACC, to the Nancy Lieberman Award watch list and ranked No. 18 on ESPN’s Top 25 Players list. Van Lith ranked third on the team last season averaging 11.2 points and 5.2 rebounds while chipping in 2.1 assists per game.
Sophomore forward Olivia Cochran is on the watch list for the Katrina McClain Award, which recognizes the nation’s top power forwards. Senior forward Emily Engstler is on the watch list for the Cheryl Miller Award, which acknowledges the country’s top small forwards. Senior guard Kianna Smith is on the watch list for the Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award, which identifies the country’s top shooting guard.
Bellarmine opened its second season in D1 Friday with a 72-59 loss at Cincinnati. The Knights led 18-14 after the first quarter and trailed only 32-31 at halftime, but the third quarter proved to be decisive for the Bearcats, who outscored Bellarmine 24-9 in the period.
Sophomore guard Claire Knies had a big opener for Bellarmine, racking up career highs in points (21), field goals made (eight) and 3-pointers made (five). Senior forward Lauren Deel collected 10 points and eight rebounds.
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