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Duke Takes Down ACC Power Louisville At Home, 63-57

The Cardinals are not what they have been, but it’s still a big win for the Blue Devils

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 20 Women’s Duke at Toledo
TOLEDO, OH - NOVEMBER 20: Duke Blue Devils guard Celeste Taylor (0) drives down the lane during a regular season non-conference womens college basketball game between the Duke Blue Devils and the Toledo Rockets on November 20, 2022 at Savage Arena in Toledo, Ohio.
Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As Kara Lawson said after Duke’s 63-56 win over Louisville Sunday, it’s been a great week for Duke.

The Blue Devils followed up a huge win over NC State with a victory over a Louisville team that has been elite in recent years. It’s not as elite right now - the Cardinals are a somewhat pedestrian 11-5 - but they know how to play and how to win.

Well, not so much on Sunday.

The Cardinals did okay for the first four minutes or so before Duke took control of the game, building a 22-11 lead.

However, Louisville is a proud and well-coached program and they kept fighting back. The Cardinals cut the lead to 40-38 with :53 seconds left in the third quarter before Duke pushed it back out to 11.

Louisville cut it back to two at 51-49 with 4:38 left in the fourth, but the Blue Devils again pushed the lead back to double digit at 59-49 with 3:03 left in the fourth.

Louisville pushed back again, cutting the lead to three at 59-56 with 0:42 left. But Duke again pushed the lead up, finally winning by seven.

Senior Elizabeth Balogun led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Shayeann Day-Wilson added 12. Celeste Taylor added 11.

Hailey Van Lith paced Louisville with 23.

With the win, Duke moves to 13-1 and 3-0 in the ACC.

Things can always change. You can have rotten luck like Leonard Hamilton has had lately or maybe some other teams just really heat up.

But as of now, Duke sure looks like one of the better teams in the ACC. Coming down the road are games with #5 Notre Dame, #7 Virginia Tech and star Liz Kitley (son of former Wake big man Ralph Kitley) and, of course, UNC.

That’s for later though.

For this week, Duke is almost certainly going to be ranked for the first time in a while. Normally we don’t make a big deal of being ranked because on the men’s side, Duke has been nearly always ranked in recent memory. It’s a bigger deal when they aren’t.

But it’s exciting for Lawson’s program. She’s had some bumps along the way, starting with Covid, but it seems as if her program is picking up momentum now. If things go really well, they could go into the UNC game on January 19th at 16-1.

But that’s getting ahead of things. To do that they’ll need to win at Wake Forest, beat Clemson at home and take down Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

Still, as Lawson says, it’s been a great week. That’s an understatement.