No. 6 Louisville women down Irish, win ACC regular season

The Cards have clinched their fourth straight ACC title.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Dana Evans and No. 6 Louisville took care of business quickly Sunday and wrapped up their fourth straight regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference title with a 78-61 victory at mistake-prone Notre Dame.

Evans, a senior point guard and the reigning ACC Player of the Year, had 26 points and five assists for coach Jeff Walz’s Cardinals (21-2, 14-2 ACC), who prevented No. 2 North Carolina State from overtaking them for first place in the league. N.C. State won 68-61 at Syracuse earlier Sunday.

Elizabeth Dixon added 12 points and Mykasa Robinson, Kianna Smith and Hailey Van Lith each scored 10 for Louisville, which will have a double bye along with N.C. State, Georgia Tech and Florida State in the upcoming ACC Tournament at Greensboro, North Carolina.

Sam Brunelle came off the bench to score 13 points and reserve Olivia Miles, playing in her fifth game after skipping her senior season at Blair Academy (New Jersey), added 11 points for the Irish (10-9, 8-7). Notre Dame saw its two-game winning streak following a COVID-19 shutdown end.

The Irish had a turnover-filled first half during which Louisville took a 44-28 halftime lead. The Irish had nine turnovers in the first quarter and finished with 25.

BIG PICTURE

Louisville: The Cardinals knew coming in they would have to win to top N.C. State for the ACC title. Thanks to Evans, who had 12 points and three assists in the first quarter, and the Irish’s turnovers, Louisville jumped out to a 28-18 lead.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish, who gave the Cardinals all they could handle three weeks ago in a 71-65 loss at Louisville, were hoping to finish fourth in the ACC. But the 25 turnovers proved to be too much for the Irish to overcome.

Louisville: Plays an ACC tournament quarterfinal on Friday.

Notre Dame: The sixth-seeded Fighting Irish open play in the tournament’s second round Thursday night against No. 11 seed Clemson.

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