LOUISVILLE, Ky.- Ahlana Smith and Hailey Van Lith each made two late baskets and No. 7 Louisville held off No. 14 Kentucky 64-58 on Sunday to beat their in-state archrivals for the fifth straight time.
A moment of silence was held before the game to remember victims from Friday night’s storms in Mayfield. Louisville’s athletic department also teamed with the KFC Yum! Center and the Kroger grocery store chain for a bottled water drive.
Smith hit a go-ahead jumper with 2:47 remaining. Chelsie Hall added three free throws in the final 17 seconds as the Cardinals (8-1) won their eighth consecutive game.
Kentucky (6-3) had rallied from a 49-42 deficit to lead 54-53 on a jumper by Dre’Una Edwards with 3:37 left.
Smith gave Louisville the lead and Van Lith added a layup off Emily Engstler’s block. Smith’s layup and Van Lith’s jumper provided a 61-56 cushion before Hall sealed it at the foul line.
Hall finished with 15 points, while Smith and Van Lith had 13 each. Louisville shot just 40% but made 8 of 13 in the final quarter while its defense stopped Kentucky down the stretch.
Edwards and Treasure Hunt each had 14 points and Robin Benton 13 for the Wildcats. Kentucky dropped its second in a row after overcoming 1-of-12 shooting in the third quarter to lead briefly.
Kentucky: Just when the Wildcats seized momentum despite some ragged stretches, they went cold at key junctures. Rhyne Howard’s scoring struggles continued as she managed just nine points three days after getting 12 against DePaul.
Louisville: The Cardinals’ inconsistency squandered leads and prevented them from padding advantages. But their smaller lineup featuring Smith and Van Lith came up big defensively and result in clutch baskets.
Louisville ensures it will stay in the Top 10 with a tough win. Kentucky could fall after two losses.
Louisville hosts Eastern Kentucky on Thursday in its last tune-up before facing No. 3 UConn.
Kentucky hosts Morgan State on Friday.