AllNCAA Sports

2023 ACC Women’s Tournament: Louisville & Notre Dame Move On To The Semis 

By: Joe Dillard Jr.

Headline Photo Credit: William Howard-USA Today

In the quarterfinal matchups for the women’s ACC championship seemed to be the 8 schools that have already punched their ticket for March Madness however they still wanted to resolve some conference bragging rights as the lower seed of each game in the quarterfinal has a 5-0 total record against the higher seed.  Calls for an interesting day of basketball which started with the 4th seed Louisville Cardinals (21-10) came out blazing as Haley Van Lith outscored 12th seed Wake Forest (16-15) herself with 17 points on 4-4 from three in the first quarter with Wake only putting up 8 as a team which is one more than the rotation as they only have 7.  One of those 7 is Jewel Spear who led the ACC in scoring last season and was the 2nd team All ACC this year. 

Mar 3, 2023; Greensboro, NC, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Morgan Jones (24) charges into Wake Forest Demon Deacons forward Niyah Becker (14) during the second half at Greensboro Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: William Howard-USA TODAY Sports

The Lady Demons needed to slow the pace down but with every great possession, it felt like Haley erased all the good Wake was doing early erupting in the first half for 21 points on 7 of 10 from the field and was unconscious as Louisville led by 10 at half 34 to 24. It would have been more as back-to-back steals led to a 7-0 run by Wake capped off by Jewel Spear hitting a three before the half. Louisville’s ability to switch on defense and aggressive attacks on offense led to an 8-0 run in the second half to extend the lead to 18 points led by Olivia Cochran.  Louisville would go on to win leading the whole game 74 to 48 led by Van Lith with 26 points. 

In the 2 pm game, the number one seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish (24-4) had to go without perhaps the best point guard in the country sophomore Olivia Miles who is out with a leg injury and listed day to day but would show why coach Niele Ivey has the number one seed and the ACC coach of the year honors as they took on a Diamond Johnson-less N.C. State (20-10). Niele is the first black coach in ACC Women’s history to win the honors. Both Miles and Johnson are respectively ranked one or two in points, assists, and steals on their teams.  The Wolfpack jumped out to an 18-14 first-quarter lead.  

Mar 3, 2023; Greensboro, NC, USA; NC State Wolfpack forward Jada Boyd (5) is fouled by Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward Kylee Watson (22) during the first half at Greensboro Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: William Howard-USA TODAY Sports

In the second quarter, both teams seemed to be either locked in defensively or just left the offense on the bench as the first basket by the Irish started what would be an 11 to 4 quarter. The Irish were led by Sonia Citron who had 11 points as they went into the half with a 3-point lead of 25-22.  As the second half went back and forth it was obvious that Citron had her imprint all over the game as the Fighting Irish pulls away with a 6-point win 66-60.  Citron went for 28 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds and just showed what coach Ivey has available for her out in South Bend.  They look to continue and will see about the status of Olivia Miles as they face Louisville today at Noon in the Greensboro Coliseum for a trip to the ACC Championship game Sunday at 1 pm.