February 5, 2024 – RALEIGH, N.C. — Matt Paras
The No. 15/12 Louisville women’s basketball team (19-4, 8-2 ACC) put on a furious second half rally but it was not enough as they ultimately fell to the No. 3/5 NC State Wolfpack (20-2, 8-2 ACC), 77-67, Monday night at Reynolds Coliseum. The Cardinals trailed by as many as 21 points in the first half and trimmed it down to six points multiple times in the fourth quarter but could not get any closer.
Olivia Cochran reached double figures for the Cardinals in the first half and finished the game with a team-high 17 points and 12 rebounds for her third double-double of the season. Kiki Jefferson tallied 16 points and had six rebounds. Jayda Curry joined the duo in double figures with 12 points.
The Cardinals got off to a red hot start to begin the game in the first quarter. They hit their first six shots from the floor and jumped out to an early lead in the opening quarter. The Cardinals shooting cooled off in the second half of the quarter and the Cards trailed 28-22 after the end of the first quarter. Cochran and Jefferson both had eight points each in the first quarter.
The Wolfpack took over in the second quarter and outscored the Cardinals 19-8 in the second frame and Louisville faced a 47-30 deficit at the break.
The Cardinals started to cut into the lead in the third quarter and trimmed the deficit to 13 at the media timeout halfway through the quarter. The Cardinals outscored the Wolfpack 19-12 in the third quarter and got the deficit down to 10, 59-49, heading into the final 10 minutes of regulation.
Louisville trimmed the deficit to as low as six points three separate times in the fourth quarter. Nina Rickards forced a steal and converted the fast-break layup to bring the NC State lead down to 66-60 with just 3:11 remaining in the game. NC State pushed the lead back up but the Cardinals would not go down without a fight. Jayda Curry hit a three off an offensive rebound to pull within six at 73-67 with 38 seconds left. NC State closed the game out at the free throw line and ended the Cardinals rally attempt.
Louisville will return home and turn around quickly for a Thursday night matchup against another ranked opponent. The Cardinals are set to host the No. 12/15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the KFC Yum! Center. The Irish will be the third of four-straight ranked opponents the Cardinals will face. The Cardinals and Irish will square off at 6 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.