Louisville pushes into second round
Cardinals get defensive, hold Michigan State to 25 of 61 shooting
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Jeff Walz returned to College Park, his booming voice rising above the whistles, cheerleaders, the fans and maybe everything except the bands. He even was coaching a team in red, just as he did when he was on the bench as a Maryland assistant.
The result was familiar as well. Walz led seventh-seeded Louisville to a 67-55 victory against 10th-seeded Michigan State on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA women’s tournament.
Now comes an intriguing rematch. Walz will face his old boss, Brenda Frese, when Louisville and Maryland play in the second round Monday night. The second-seeded Terrapins beat Navy 59-44 earlier Saturday.
The Cardinals (23-9) rattled the Spartans (20-12) with speed and defense, forcing 14 turnovers and pulling away with a 16-2 run late in the first half. Becky Burke scored 14 points, Shawnta’ Dyer had 13 and Asia Taylor and Bria Smith tallied 10 apiece for Louisville, which led 39-23 at halftime and didn’t allow Michigan State to pull within single digits in the second half.
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Klarissa Bell scored 12 points to lead the Spartans, 9-1 in first-round games. This time their usual stalwarts were having an off day.
Porsche Poole, who went on a scoring tear late in the season, went 3 for 10 from the field and finished with eight points. Lykendra Johnson picked up two quick fouls, played only four minutes in the first half and scored five points before fouling out with 1:29 to play. Taylor Alton, a reliable barometer of the team’s success, had four points.
Walz was an assistant under Frese for five seasons and was on the bench for Maryland’s national title run in 2006 before taking the top job with Louisville in 2007. This was his first game as a coach at College Park since then, although his Cardinals beat Frese’s Terrapins in the NCAA regional finals in 2009.
The Cardinals spread their attack around. The big first-half run including 3-pointers from Burke and Shoni Schimmel. When the Spartans threatened to come back with four consecutive points to open the second half, Burke made a pair of free throws and Smith made a steal in the backcourt and converted the layup to restore the 16-point lead.