Three thoughts: Vanderbilt clipped by Louisville

No. 8 Louisville dominated inside, pulled away in the fourth quarter and won 78-66 over the Commodores Wednesday.

Vanderbilt Athletics/Joe Howell

Even though Louisville dominated in the paint, three-point shooting and free throws kept Vandy alive for a while before it fell 78-66. Rebounding also seemed to be an advantage for the Cardinals, as forward Myisha Hines-Allen had a double-double in the first half. Vandy was able to rebound well as a team to minimize Louisville’s advantage, though. Louisville was able to pull away in the mid-fourth quarter as Vanderbilt’s shooting regressed.

Louisville’s points in the paint lead it to the win

In the first half, Louisville had outscored Vanderbilt in the paint 34-16 and had more points in the paint than Vanderbilt had total points for the majority of the first half. Hines-Allen led the way with 10 of her 13 first-half points in the paint. Vandy used a 2-3 zone sparingly to try to slow the attack in the paint, but Louisville’s fast-paced offense allowed it to keep scoring.

On the other side, Vanderbilt was not able to make many of its attempts in the paint. Louisville’s height and strength advantage inside made Vandy’s shots near the rim much more difficult. This led to a huge difference in field-goal percentage in favor of Louisville, 58 percent to Vandy’s 39 percent in the first half.

In the second half, though, the pace of Louisville’s offense slowed greatly as Vanderbilt was making more shots. As a result, Louisville was not getting as many points in the paint, and Vandy was able to force more turnovers in its half-court defense. However, Hines-Allen was still able to finish with 24 points. Also, Vandy was getting easier opportunities in the paint compared to the first half, but it could not take advantage, which was ultimately the team’s downfall.

Louisville edges out Vandy in rebounding, second-chance points

Even though the rebounding seemed somewhat even with a 32-25 Louisville lead in the category, Louisville made the most of its second-chance opportunities with an 8-2 lead in the first half. Again, Louisville’s height advantage allowed it to prevail in rebounding and second-chance points as well. Hines-Allen was able to grab 12 rebounds in the first half and finished with 15 for the game.

Threes and free throws almost save Vandy

Threes and free throws were the reasons why Vanderbilt was able to stay in the game. It made 11 of 13 free throws to counter Louisville’s three of four in the first half. Also, Vanderbilt shot 57 percent from deep compared to 27 percent for Louisville. Louisville had a lot a trouble from three throughout the game. Forward Mariya Moore and guard Briahanna Jackson combined to go two for 11 from deep, respectively. The reason that Vanderbilt had to get out of its 2-3 zone in the first half was because Louisville kept on getting open threes but was unable to make them.

Guard Rachel Bell was the leading scorer for Vanderbilt with eight points at the half and had a 7-0 run by herself to bring the Commodores to within two to start the third quarter. She finished the game with 21 points, the only Commodore to score over 12. Vanderbilt was not able to keep the free-throw and three-point shooting trends going in the second half, as it went nine for 16 and two for 10, respectively.

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