(WAVE) - For the second straight NCAA Tournament game, UofL got off to a slow start.
The Cards fell behind Marist 15-12 after a quarter on Monday, and in the second round, it was even worse.
Northwestern led 25-7 after a Lauryn Satterwhite three-pointer with with 1:15 left in the first quarter. It was 25-10 after one.
“It’s really been back-to-back ballgames now, so the first thing I’m gonna do is change my pregame speech, cause those two sucked,” UofL head coach Jeff Walz said. “I mean, not sure they could get much worse, so we’ll make an adjustment there.”
His team made an adjustment at halftime, turning a 32-20 deficit into a 40-40 tie after three quarters.
“We knew we had to get stops in order to win this game,” UofL senior Dana Evans said. “We had to dig in on the defensive end and come up with rebounds and I think that’s what we did.”
The Cards took their first lead when Haley Van Lith connected with Kianna Smith on a back door lob for a 42-40 UofL advantage and they would never trail again.
Evans delivered a big three with 4:32 left to push the lead to 50-45.
Up 53-50 with just over two minutes to play, Mykasa Robinson turned in the biggest play of the game, and she did it with hustle and heart.
After a turnover, Robinson sprinted the floor to knock the ball away from the Wildcats Sydney Wood and then somehow gathered herself, stayed in bounds, turned and fired the ball Olivia Cochran. The ensuing possession resulted in two Cochran free throws and the Cards closed the game on a 9-3 run for a 62-52 win.
“We all expect her to come up with big plays like that because that’s just something she brings to this team and that’s why she’s so important to us,” Evans said. “When she came up with that steal, that’s something that we just expect from her. She doesn’t care what she gets on the stat sheet. She just wants to contribute to this team and she just wants to see us all win.”
The Cards take a 25-3 record into the Sweet 16. It is the 10th Sweet 16 in school history, all under Walz.
Kianna Smith led UofL with 16 points. Evans had 14 and Van Lith and Cochran 13 each. Cochran also pulled down 15 rebounds. The Cards had a 43-34 advantage on the boards and after turning the ball over 11 times in the first half, only gave it up five in the second.
They face #6 seed Oregon (15-8) on Sunday at 7 p.m. on ESPN. The Ducks upset #3 seed Georgia 57-50 on Wednesday. They have on their roster two former Kentucky Miss Basketball winners. Erin Boley, an Elizabethtown High School graduate, won the award in 2016 and Maddie Scherr, from Ryle High School, won it in 2020.