Off to a great start, this University of Louisville women’s basketball team, already adding some nice hardware to the trophy cases.
Asia Durr would miss her first two field goal attempts, but make five straight shots for 14 points in the first quarter, giving UofL a nine-point lead over Oregon before a crowd of 6,162 on Sunday at the KFC Yum! Center.
From that point on, just a matter of time. UofL defeating Oregon 74-61 for its second pre-season National Invitation Tournament. UofL won its first pre-season WNIT during the 2013 season. The win raised the fifth-ranked Cardinals’ record to 5-0, a start that includes wins over three top 25 teams.
Durr, who scored in 26 points, sat most of the second quarter after collecting two fouls. Her teammate Myisha Hines-Allen made good on eight of 11 shots from the field for 17 points, and was named Most Valuable Player in the tournament.
No official accolades for freshman guard Dana Evans but she is making her presence felt. After a crazy fall that brought tears to her eyes late in the third quarter, Evans was back the next quarter, playing for the last six minutes of the game. She had six points, four assists and two rebounds in 23 minutes of playing time.
No denying how impressive the women have looked in their first five games. They will have five days to get their feet back on the ground, hosting Murray State at 1 p.m. Friday at the Yum! Center.
Sophomore Jazmine Jones was in the starting lineup for the first time, scoring four of the first six points as the University of Louisville women’s basketball team raced to a 16-0 lead over Southeast Missouri. Jones would score 12 points to lead all scorer in an 80-40 win for the Cardinals before 6,054 fans at the KFC Yum! Center. The win moves UofL into the sweet 16 of the WNIT (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
Mariya Moore broke more than a few hearts when the news broke of her decision to leave the University of Louisville women’s basketball team. Like the girlfriend who breaks up without giving any reason, shaking one’s self-confidence.
Hard to believe she’s gone, with all she’s been through in three seasons. She and Myisha Hines-Allen were team leaders during their sophomore and junior years, seemingly synonymous with UofL women’s basketball, ready for a big senior year.
A reminder that while “Louisville First, Cards Forever” is a good slogan, the players, often from distant locations, often have other priorities. The suggestion here is that Mariya wanted to be closer to her family in California.
No indications of where she will wind up playing next. She could possibly wind up at St. Mary’s College, a Catholic liberal arts institution in Moraga, Calif.. where her grandfather and an uncle played basketball. Coincidentally her sister, Minyan, is transferring from Southern Cal after only one season there.
The only hint of any discontent for Mariya was a one-game suspension in late February, with no explanation forthcoming. Moore started 36 games this season, averaging 12 points per outing, winding up with 1,365 points over three seasons.
One of Mariya’s most memorable games may have been her final game at the KFC Yum! Center. She would connect on five of five 3-point attempts, for 19 points to lead UofL to 74-65 win over a resurging University of Tennessee in the second round the NCAA tournament.
During her inaugural 2014-15 season, she would score 28 points in a victory over North Carolina. The next season she would lead UofL to a come-from-behind win at North Carolina State, scoring 24 points of 31 points in the second half.
For whatever reason, Moore was not invested in completing her career at UofL. That’s unfortunate for Mriya’s UofL fans, but hopefully her exit provides more opportunity for others committed to making the program reach the next level.
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Cierra Johnson and Brianna Jones are transferring, too, both of them looking for more playing time. Johnson, a freshman becomes the second 6-foot-3 plus player to transfer in the past two years, following in the footsteps of Erin DeGrate. Jones played sparingly during three seasons at UofL.
Mariya Moore had gotten into such a shooting slump of late she seemed to be avoiding shots altogether. Looking around for her teammates, taking shots only when she was there was no other choice.
Three-point shots? No way because as Coach Jeff Walz pointed out, Mariya had made only one 3-point in 21 attempts over the past five games. The coach urging her to get in the gym, to keep working on her shot, and keep on shooting. And she did, day after day over the last week or so.
Moore’s persistence reaped big dividends for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team Monday. She connected on seven of 10 field goal attempts, including five of five from behind the 3-point line, for 19 points.
Her newfound accuracy, when combined with 23 points from Asia Durr and 14 points from Myisha Hines-Allen, sparked the Cardinals to an important 75-64 win over Tennessee in the second round of the NCAA tournament. A crowd of 5,698 was on hand at the KFC Yum! Center.
A reporter said afterward that Mariya made a motion like she was putting pistols in a holster after another long 3-pointer. “I was so happy because Coach always stresses how we need to get in the gym. After the ACC Tournament I’ve been in the gym as much as I can, so to finally see the hard work paying off … So I don’t even know what happened, really. I’m going to have to look at the replays, but it just came out.”
Walz added that she could have turn cartwheels as far as he was concerned. “As we keep telling them, shooters shoot,” he said. “What I did is I told her after we came back from the ACC Tournament, I’m like, Mariya, if you trust me with anything, when you shoot, follow your shot. Just run after it. Shoot it and go after it.
Asia Durr was thrilled after the win, which sent Tennessee home for the first time in the second round in 22 appearances in the NCAA tournament.
“We didn’t know that, but they do have a great team. I was just so excited,” said Durr. “We fought hard. This was a great game. Our fans are so amazing and I’m so happy to be here.”
Myisha Hines-Allen came through her umpteenth double-double, pulling down 13 rebounds to going with 14 points. Pumping a fist, it seemed, only every other rebound. “I just kept telling myself one more stop, one more stop, and we’re going to be that much closer to a win,” she said.
“We were able to do it in front of an amazing crowd. The crowd was loud. When we were down, they were still with us, even when we were up, they were still with us. We were able to get this win not only for ourselves and for our confidence going into our next game, but for our fans as well.”
Always nice when the University of Louisville women’s basketball team coasts to a win over an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent. Especially when the opponent is North Carolina and the score is 87-57.
The UofL women would start slow and finish going away before a crowd of 9,739 fans at the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday. A “Pink Out” day for cancer awareness, with UofL wearing pink, UNC that Carolina blue, posing a challenge for at least one color blind observer.
Hines-Allen seems to be over whatever was slowing her down a few games ago.
The Cardinals getting some extra motivation in the second quarter when Myisha Hines-Allen was wrestled to the floor by UNC’s Alyssa Okoene. Both players getting up with fire in their eyes, their teammates restraining them. Technical foul called on Okoene, with the Cardinals scoring six quick points to claim a 34-21 lead at the intermission.
Another dominating performance by Asia Durr, scoring 10 points in the first half, a flurry of eight straight points in the third quarter, and a total of 28 points for the game. She keeps gaining confidence, improving her shot selection, and making it look so easy in some games.
Coach Jeff Walz seemed to most pleased with Durr’s four assists. “She’s improving other parts of her game,” he said. “She’s even more of a threat when she can find open teammates.”
Hines-Allen seems to be over whatever was slowing her down a few games ago, turning in another double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. That’s her 12th double-double this season and the 24th in her three-year career at Louisville.
Only two more games remaining in the regular season, senior night at home against Virginia on Thursday, and a road game at Wake Forest next Sunday. The Cardinals are 23-6 overall and tied for fourth with N.C. State in the ACC with identical 10-4 conference records. N.C. State has the advantage if a tiebreaker is needed, virtue of a win over UofL.