Upset attempt falls just short, Canes lose 69-66 to No. 4 Louisville

Graduate student guard Kelsey Marshall drives past defenders to the basket during the fourth quarter of Miami’s game versus Louisville in The Watsco Center on Feb. 1, 2022.
Graduate guard Kelsey Marshall drives past defenders to the basket during the fourth quarter of Miami’s game versus Louisville in the Watsco Center on Feb. 1, 2022. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

With 11 seconds to go, down three points, the Hurricanes scrambled around in an attempt to find Kelsey Marshall on the 3-point line. Her shot, closely guarded, was too strong.

On the cusp of yet another major upset, Miami (11-8, 4-5 ACC) couldn’t hold on to the lead in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and fell 69-66 to Louisville (19-2, 9-1 ACC) in the Watsco Center Tuesday night.

“That was a high-level basketball game,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “Players were making plays after plays.”

A 35-35 tied score at halftime was promising for the Hurricanes, who haven’t upset a top-five team since 2019, against then No. 2 Louisville in Kentucky.

But Miami, who played lock-down defense the whole game, surrendered 23 points to the Cardinals in the fourth quarter.

Redshirt senior forward Destiny Harden defends Louisville sophomore guard Hailey Van Lith during the third quarter of Miami’s game versus Louisville in The Watsco Center on Feb. 1, 2022.
Redshirt senior forward Destiny Harden defends Louisville sophomore guard Hailey Van Lith during the third quarter of Miami’s game versus Louisville in the Watsco Center on Feb. 1, 2022. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

“To give up 23 in the fourth, at a certain point you have to give Louisville credit,” Meier said. “They executed down the stretch. Kianna Smith, hell of a performance from her tonight. It was her that really broke our back. They just have a lot of firepower.”

At the start of the fourth quarter, Miami scored six straight points thanks to a 3-pointer and jump shot from Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi and a two-pointer from Destiny Harden. With 47 left on the clock, Kelsey Marshall drained a 3-point shot from the top of the key to put Miami up one point. Louisville’s Olivia Cochran put the Cardinals up one and Miami turned the ball over on their next possession.

Freshman guard Ja’Leah Williams shoots a jump-shot during the second quarter of Miami’s game versus Louisville in The Watsco Center on Feb. 1, 2022.
Freshman guard Ja’Leah Williams shoots a jump-shot during the second quarter of Miami’s game versus Louisville in the Watsco Center on Feb. 1, 2022. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Freshman Ja’Leah Williams recorded a team-high 16 points and five assists, followed closely by redshirt senior Destiny Harden, who had 13 points and eight rebounds.

“We gotta execute more in the fourth quarter,” Williams said. “We gotta let them know, you are not coming back.”

On what her team could have done better, she said, “I just think we should have rebounded more and not let them get second chances. I think we are the best ball pressure team in the ACC.”

Redshirt senior guard Kianna Smith, Louisville’s second leading scorer, had 21 points and seven assists. Their season-leading scorer, sophomore Hailey Van Lith, was held to just nine points, five of which came in the fourth quarter. With the win, the Cardinals are now tied with NC State for first place in the ACC.

Senior guard Mykea Gray drives to the basket during the second quarter of Miami’s game versus Louisville in The Watsco Center on Feb. 1, 2022.
Senior guard Mykea Gray drives to the basket during the second quarter of Miami’s game versus Louisville in the Watsco Center on Feb. 1, 2022. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Despite the loss, this game gave the Canes some hope that they can stick around with the top teams in the country.

“It lets us know we are a tough team,” Williams said. “Louisville beats teams by more and according to their record, they really haven’t lost to nobody. It gives us hope that we can stick with people.”

The Hurricanes will next face Syracuse at 7 p.m. this Thursday at the Watsco Center.