Gonzaga forward Eliza Hollingsworth only appeared in one minute of last year’s season-ending loss to Louisville in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
However, in a rematch between the teams in the first round of the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis tournament on Saturday, Hollingsworth played 31 minutes, and it may have been the difference.
The redshirt junior scored a career-high 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field as GU (4-0) defeated No. 6 ranked Louisville (3-1) 79-67 at Imperial Arena in Nassau, Bahamas.
“I'm really glad that we stuck through it, wanted it more and worked harder than the other team,” Hollingsworth said. “I think that's a lot of good credit to us.”
With 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Hollingsworth sank a pair of free throws to tie the game at 61-61, which was the score at the end of regulation.
Hollingsworth made a layup in overtime, but it was no longer a nail-biter as GU outscored Louisville 18-6 in the additional period of play.
“At the beginning of overtime, we wanted to give everything else we had and we went out and scored 18 to their six [points],” said GU head coach Lisa Fortier. “I think at that time, our gut check was a little bit more successful than theirs so I’m really happy for these guys.”
GU guard Kaylynne Truong was a difference-maker in overtime, scoring 10 points in the extra period after finishing regulation with just six points on 3-of-13 shooting.
“She wasn’t her best offensively at different times throughout [the game], but to persevere through that and to show up like that for our team — she’s someone who we rely on,” Fortier said.
Truong’s shooting struggles weren’t unique as the Zags and the Cardinals went a combined 8-for-35 from 3-point range.
Louisville guard Hailey Van Lith, who led her team with 18 points, shot 5-for-20 from the field and 1-for-6 on 3-point attempts.
“Haley Van Lith, she’s one of the best one-on-one players in the country, and McKayla [Williams] she did a great job [defending her], but it takes our whole team just getting in those passing lanes,” said GU guard Brynna Maxwell.
Maxwell was the only player from either team to make multiple 3-pointers as she nailed 4-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc and ended with 21 points.
She was one of GU’s first substitutions off the bench after Fortier elected to start Kaylynne Truong and Kayleigh Truong, Hollingsworth, Williams and Yvonne Ejim.
Ejim finished with 13 points, nine rebounds, while Williams and Kayleigh Truong had five assists each.
For GU, the win advances the team to a second-round matchup with Marquette on Sunday. Tipoff is 11:30 a.m.