SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP)Cate Reese scored 21 points, Bendu Yeaney scored Arizona’s last five points of overtime, and the 22nd-ranked Wildcats outlasted No. 6 Louisville 61-59 on Friday at the Mammoth Sports Construction Invitational.
Yeaney, who finished with 12 points, put Arizona ahead midway through overtime with her only 3-pointer of the game. After Louisville tied it with a free throw, Yeaney sank a jumper with 1:45 left and neither team scored again.
Yeaney was 5 for 17 from the field but made the two biggest buckets of the game.
”I kept saying on the bench that one of these is going to fall and when it falls, it’s going to be a good one,” Yeaney said. ”I’m more confident in my shot this year than I was in past years. Any time I’m open, I’m going to let it fly.”
Reese, an All-Pac-12 player the past two seasons, scored eight points in the fourth quarter as the Wildcats had to withstand a feverish rally by Louisville.
”We knew it was going to be a test and a battle on a neutral site in a great environment,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said. ”I’m glad we came out on top because it was not easy at all.”
Hailey Van Lith led the Cardinals with 19 points, and her two free throws with 13 seconds to play tied it at 54-54. Yeaney’s attempt at a game-winning jumper was short and a last-second tip-in rimmed out for the Wildcats.
The fourth quarter featured six lead changes and nine ties.
”I thought they defended well,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. ”We had some open looks that did not go in. Some crucial shots – in a game like this, you gotta knock them down.”
Both teams struggled from the floor before heating up in the final period. Louisville finished the game shooting 28.6% from the field while Arizona shot 36.7%.
Arizona led by as many as seven in the second quarter and held a 25-22 advantage at halftime.
Van Lith scored under the basket early in the fourth quarter to give Louisville its first lead since the end of the first quarter. She scored eight points in the final period.
Barnes said this season’s Wildcats are better defensively than the 2020-21 squad that lost the national title game 54-53 to Stanford. The Wildcats forced 17 Louisville turnovers on Friday.
Louisville dropped its season opener for the first time since it lost 75-71 to California on Nov. 15, 2015.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Both teams were efficient from the free-throw line. Arizona was 12 of 14, while Louisville finished 25 of 30, including an 11-for-12 effort from Van Lith.
SHE SAID IT
Barnes: ”I’m always optimistic. Everybody always doubts Arizona. I feel like the PAC 12 and Arizona – I don’t know if it’s just me – but they always doubt what we do. I think we’re pretty good and we earned some respect today, which is good. But I don’t mind being the underdog. It’s kind of fun.”
Louisville: Hosts Bellarmine on Tuesday.
Arizona: Hosts Texas Southern on Monday.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25