Louisville guard Hailey Van Lith found herself on the receiving end of some trash talk in the postgame handshake line Sunday, but she had no trouble brushing it off.
“People are sad when they lose,” Van Lith said. “I’d be sad too.”
As her response left unsaid but made perfectly clear, Van Lith had no reason for sadness after No. 5 seed Louisville’s dominant 73-51 win against No. 4 seed Texas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals junior led all scorers with 21 points to help her team clinch a spot in the Sweet 16.
After the game, Longhorns guard Sonya Morris led her team in the handshake line and appeared to stop Van Lith to say a few words. Van Lith paused to listen, then brushed off Morris’ arm and seemed to reply with a few words of her own as she continued down the line of Texas players.
Enquiring minds really need to know what was said here pic.twitter.com/aILW052yNo— Christopher Bishop (@ChrisBishopL1C4) March 21, 2023
Enquiring minds really need to know what was said here pic.twitter.com/aILW052yNo
Following the incident, though, Van Lith chalked the exchange up to a moment of “frustration” for Texas after a tough loss.
“I have all the respect in the world for Texas, no hard feelings,” she said. “You know, sports can get chippy and the moment you play in the heat — at the end of the day I’m going to let it go. No hard feelings.”
Instead, she wanted to focus on her own team’s strong performance.
“I don’t really want to speak on what happened at the end because I don’t want it to dim down the fact that we played really, really well… I’m just proud of our win,” she said.”
Louisville advances to play No. 8 seed Ole Miss at 10 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN. While the Rebels scored a shocking 54-49 upset over No. 1 seed Stanford on Sunday, their win opens up the path to the Elite Eight for the Cardinals.
Van Lith has reached the Elite Eight in each of the first two years of her Louisville carer, and she could make it three in a row with a win Friday.
“Like I’ve been saying this whole tournament, we just need the opportunity, and we got one for next game,” Van Lith said. “So we are going to take advantage of it.”