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Louisville Virginia Tech Basketball

Louisville guard Dana Evans elevates to shoot against Virginia Tech forward Regan Magarity, left, and Dana Mabrey, right, during the first half Sunday in Blacksburg, Va. 

Oh, to have a nickle for every high school superstar who was humbled by college sports.

Yet, some people fight their way through the adversity and become strong contributors.

Such is the case of West Side grad and current Louisville women's basketball player Dana Evans.

After her career at West Side, which included scoring the fifth most points in Indiana high school history and a McDonald's All American Game appearance, Evans enrolled at Louisville, one of the top women's programs in the country.

Her freshman year? Even though she made the ACC All-Freshman Team last season, Evans admits that the conference portion of her first season with the Cardinals was a struggle.

"It was different because they were able to scout me and look at my strengths and weaknesses, and that's when things got rough," Evans said in a phone interview.

Not that she was blindsided by the adversity.

"My father has always been there for me and he said there would be ups and downs and you shouldn't get too high or too low," she said.

Things have changed since then because in one year's time, Evans has become, well, the Evans we remember from her high school days. Her growth as a college player was on full display to a nationwide audience against one of the best team's in the country.

Unlike at West Side, Evans isn't her team's top player. That position belongs to Asia Durr, the ACC Player of the Year last season.

Evans' best week as a college basketball player began when Durr was given a night off against Pittsburgh. It was the game before the UConn matchup.

Evans stepped into the starting lineup and scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a 70-42 Cardinals win on Jan. 27.

The most important numbers for Evans was her 3-point shooting. She was 4 for 8. Evans shot only 22.4 percent from 3-point range last season.

"I started working on that during the offseason because teams were starting to play me different and made it harder for me to go to the basket," Evans said. "I figured that getting the 3 in my game would help me get more drives to the basket and mid-range opportunities."

The work has payed off with Evans doubling her 3-point percentage to 44.1 percent, a weapon she needed in the Cardinals' next game.

ESPN announcers mentioned several times in the broadcast that if No. 3 Louisville was to win against No. 2 UConn on Jan. 31, someone on the Cardinals roster would have to aid Durr scoring wise. 

"I'm normally nervous before a game but I was so hyped and fired up that the nervousness went away," Evans said.

And she played like it. Durr returned and scored 24 points. Evans played 29 minutes and scored 20, one short of her career high, to go along with four assists in a 78-69 Louisville home win.

Evans was 5 for 10 from behind the arc, helping end a 17-game losing streak to UConn.

"We were all excited and happy to prove some people wrong who didn't think we could do what we've been doing," Evans said. "We just have to stand together as a team."

Evans was 10 for 18 in Louisville's next two games, wins against Clemson and Syracuse, including 7 for 12 from 3-point range.

"It's been cool this season," Evans said. "I just want to help the team any way I can."

Extra innings

• One of the more delightful interviews we did during the prep basketball season was with Bishop Noll star Courtney Blakely. After Bishop Noll's sectional title win over Bowman Academy, Blakely was asked if there was anything more fun than cutting down the net after a tournament win. She smiled, and jokingly said, "Yes. Pizza."

• More all-name team inductions: Whiting boys hoops guard G'Angelo Reillo and Bishop Noll girls basketball player Isabelli Damacio.

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