WICHITA, Kansas — Louisville women’s basketball team is just one of four teams left standing in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
The Cardinals beat Michigan 62-50 on Monday for their first Final Four trip since 2018. Louisville (29-4), the No. 1 seed from the Wichita region, will play South Carolina, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament.
The Gamecocks (33-2) made the Final Four after beating Creighton in the Greensboro region Elite Eight 80-50.
Entering Friday, South Carolina leads the all-time series 17-4 vs. Louisville.
The winner advances to face UConn or Stanford in the NCAA women’s basketball national championship game on Sunday night.
Follow along for live updates below.
Final: South Carolina 72, Louisville 59
Louisville kept fighting, but in the end South Carolina was too much. In what was Emily Engstler’s final collegiate game, she contributed 18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals and 1 block.
Both Olivia Cochran and Kianna Smith had 14 points each. Hailey Van Lith had 9 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
The Cardinals shot over 44% from the floor but made just 1 3-pointer.
Aliyah Boston, the player of the year, had a monster game for South Carolina with 23 points, 18 rebounds, 4 assists and a block.
2:08 4Q: South Carolina 68, Louisville 56
Time is running out for the Cardinals. Down 12 with less than 3 minutes remaining, Louisville will have to start its comeback now.
3:42 4Q: Emily Engstler fouls out
Emily Engstler finishes with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals. If Louisville does not come back from its 65-54 deficit, her collegiate career will be over.
5:30 4Q: South Carolina 63, Louisville 54
With the game nearly complete, no bench player on Louisville has scored. The Cards still have not made a 3-pointer (0-4).
End of 3Q: South Carolina 57, Louisville 48
With three quarters done, Louisville trails by 9 points. While Emily Engstler has been great for the Cards with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals, she now has 4 fouls.
Kianna Smith has added 14 points while Olivia Cochran has chipped in 10 points.
3:27 3Q: South Carolina 53, Louisville 40
Aliyah Boston is leading South Carolina with 12 points and 11 rebounds. For the Cards, Emily Engstler has 14 points and 8 rebounds, but has committed 3 fouls.
Louisville has not made a 3-point shot yet in the game.
4:34 3Q: South Carolina 51, Louisville 38
South Carolina has its largest lead of the game after a hot start to the second half.
Halftime: South Carolina 34, Louisville 28
After South Carolina began the game with a dominating performance, Louisville has fought back. Emily Engstler finished the half with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
Both Kianna Smith and Olivia Cochran have 8 points each. Destanni Henderson (11)
Louisville has improved its field goal percentage to 44% after a difficult start. Though the Cards have not made a 3-pointer yet (0-2) or a free throw (0-3).
4:17 2Q: South Carolina 24, Louisville 24
Here come the Cardinals! Louisville scored 12 straight points to take the lead, but South Carolina fought back. Emily Engstler has 10 points and 7 rebounds. Kianna Smith has contributed 8 points.
End of 1Q: South Carolina 17, Louisville 10
One quarter has been completed in this Final Four matchup. Louisville has committed 5 turnovers while South Carolina has 2.
Emily Engstler leads the Cards with 4 points, 5 rebounds and a block. Hailey Van Lith has 2 steals and 3 turnovers.
“I thought we got our composure back,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said between quarters. “We’ve got to continue to do a good job of boxing out and rebounding.”
1:13 1Q: South Carolina 15, Louisville 10
Emily Engstler leads Louisville with 4 points. Shooting has been an issue for the Cards, as they have converted 31% of their shots.
5:29 1Q: South Carolina 11, Louisville 2
South Carolina’s size has proven to be a difference maker early on. Olivia Cochran has Louisville’s only points.
Lineups are set for Louisville vs. South Carolina
The Cardinals will start a familiar lineup.
Louisville vs. South Carolina is nearly here
Are you ready? The Final Four matchup is almost upon us.
Here’s how to watch Final Four Louisville vs. South Carolina
When: 7 p.m. ET Friday
Where: Target Center in Minneapolis
Stream: Qualified subscribers can watch the game on Watch ESPN and the ESPN app.
How a dedicated Jeff Walz built a powerful Louisville
Louisville’s plane arrived back in town around 5 a.m. after its Elite Eight win against Michigan.
As the players, band and cheerleaders disembarked, there was a man putting luggage on a cart and running it through the lobby of the private airplane hanger and to the cars. He was smiling from ear to ear despite how early it was and not sleeping at all that night.
That man was Louisville coach Jeff Walz.
Hours after sending Louisville to its fourth Final Four in his 15 years in charge, the winningest coach in program history was unloading his own luggage. He wouldn’t dare let anybody else do it. He’s the same person who still cuts his own grass and does most of the maintenance on his house.
In blessing Emily Engstler’s addition, Mykasa Robinson enabled Louisville’s Final Four run
MINNEAPOLIS — Jeff Walz has told the story more than once, but it bears repeating. And, perhaps, rejoicing.
Before the University of Louisville’s women’s basketball coach plucked Emily Engstler out of the transfer portal last spring, he ran the idea past Mykasa Robinson. He knew adding Engstler would cost Robinson playing time, and he was sensitive to reducing her role.
“Mykasa, without hesitating, was like, ‘Coach, I’m tired of guarding her for three years… If we can get her, let’s get her,'” Walz said.
What to know about Final Four opponent: No. 1 South Carolina
The Louisville women’s basketball team is going back to the Final Four.
For the first time since 2018, when Louisville lost in overtime to Mississippi State, the Cardinals are one of the last four teams playing. The Cardinals (28-4, 16-2 ACC) clinched the trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota, with a 62-50 win over No. 3-seed Michigan on Monday.
The Cardinals, the top seed in the Wichita region, will now prepare for No. 1 overall seed South Carolina in the Final Four. The Gamecocks have been the No. 1 team in the country all year and have been the favorites to win the national championship after losing in the 2021 Final Four to eventual-champion Stanford a year ago.
U of L basketball, Hailey Van Lith have a fan in Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell had seen enough.
The Utah Jazz star had watched Hailey Van Lith pour in points for the Louisville women’s basketball team during its NCAA Tournament run, and Mitchell — once a Cardinals star on the men’s team — had something he needed to say.
So earlier this week, he fired off a direct message to Van Lith to say his piece.
“I’ve never met her in person, but I wanted to tell her that I think the one thing I’ve seen that was truly inspiring was her leadership,” Mitchell told the Courier Journal on Wednesday. “You love to see that. As the leader of my team, being able to see her taking on that characteristic is dope to see. Everybody talks about her 20 points per game, but the thing I told her was, ‘Your leadership is what I think is most outstanding.’”
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Final Four: Louisville women’s basketball loses to South Carolina