Huge upset? Only if one goes by random balloting by respected media members scattered across the country with no real way to judge a preseason pecking order. Ranked No. 22 in the preseason by the Associated Press but No. 15 in the more currently accurate USA Today/Coaches poll, the Wildcats stunned consensus No. 6 Louisville on a neutral court in Sioux Falls Friday afternoon at The Invitational at the Sanford Pentagon.
The game was arguably ugly early on with the Cardinals clinging to a 9-8 lead after the first quarter, mostly due to turnovers by both squads, with the teams ending up with 17 turnovers each. Arizona led 25-22 at the half but the team did not score in the last 3:18 of the second quarter and Cardinals were able to trim 25-18 lead down entering the locker room.
— Arizona Women’s Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) November 13, 2021
Arizona led 41-40 entering the fourth quarter but a shot from Louisville standout Hailey Van Lith with 6:17 remaining gave the Cardinals a brief 48-44 lead. Cate Reese scored six of her game-high 21 points down the stretch to help give the Wildcats a 54-52 lead with 2:19 left on a bucket by Bendu Yeaney but two free throws from Van Lith tied things up with 13 seconds left. Arizona had three attempts to end the game but the teams ended regulation tied 54-54.
Van Lith made four straight free throws in overtime to give Louisville a brief lead at 58-56 but Arizona closed the game out on run with Yeaney making the game-winner with 1:45 left.
Van Lith led Louisville with 19 points and Chelsie Hall added 12. Yeaney scored 12 points to go along with the 21 by Reese. Shaina Pellington added nine points and Ware and Copeland scored eight points each. Ware had a game-high 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Ware’s presence inside continues to be an issue for opposing teams and the Cardinals only made 2-of-11 3-pointers in the game and finished with a shooting percentage of 28.6% (16-56 overall) while Arizona made 5 of 19 from beyond the stripe on 36.7% (22-60) shooting.
Sam Thomas set a record in starts and games played for Arizona at 127.
Arizona (2-0) hosts Texas Southern (0-1) on Monday, Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m. and Louisville (0-1) will host Bellarmine on Tuesday.
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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee and he earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater. Contact Andy Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org