Ole Miss took on the red-hot Louisville Cardinals in a Sweet 16 matchup to determine who would face the No. 2 seed Iowa Hawkeyes. Both teams came into this game and tournament under-seeded, so they each had a lot to prove.
This game was packed full of great basketball, but when the clock hit triple zeros, it was Louisville who punched its ticket to the Elite 8.
Aside from the very beginning of the game, Louisville held between a three and eight-point lead for most of the game. The Lady Rebels could not come up with enough stops on defense to feel any sort of comfort on offense; Ole Miss was forced to play from behind in this game, which was never the case against Gonzaga and Stanford earlier in the tournament.
The Cardinals won this game 72-62 to reach their fifth-straight Elite 8. En route to this victory, Louisville shot 46% from the field and 42% from three-point land. Hailey Van Lith led the way for Louisville with 21 points as she found ways to slice through one of the best defenses in the nation.
The Rebels may very well have been the best defensive team left in March Madness. Ole Miss held two top offenses, Gonzaga and Stanford, to below 50 points. The 72 points that Louisville scored in this game is the most scored on the Rebels since the SEC Tournament quarterfinal against South Carolina.
Before that, someone would have to go back to Jan. 29 against Arkansas, which was an overtime game, to see Ole Miss give up more than 70 points.
All of this is to paint a clear picture of just how good the Ole Miss defense was and, at the same time, how excellent the Louisville offensive game plan was to be able to pick apart the Lady Rebels.
The Lady Rebels never seemed to get it going on offense, either. As a team, Ole Miss shot 37% from the field and 27% from three while also missing seven free throws. Granted, the Lady Cardinals put together their best defensive performance of the season, but Ole Miss had so many opportunities to explode on offense that they could not cash in on.
Marquesha Davis and Myah Taylor led the charge for Ole Miss with 19 points each, and Angel Baker put up 11 points, but no other Rebel scored more than six points.
It was a tough night both offensively and defensively for Ole Miss, but something to keep in mind is that many outlets did not have Ole Miss making it out of the Round of 64, much less to the Sweet 16.
Despite the loss, there is a lot to look forward to when it comes to women’s basketball in Oxford.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. However sad it may be that this season has come to an end, Rebel fans can ride into this offseason on a high horse, knowing that Ole Miss women’s basketball is back and here to stay for a long time.