Familiar script for Louisville women against UConn

The big stage, the bright lights blinding and numbing, the touring actors fumbling their lines, trying to ad lib their way.

Panic time in those first 10 minutes, the University of Louisville women’s basketball team committing nine turnovers, missing 12 of 14 field goal attempts. UConn up 24-6 after the first quarter. Game over.

Familiar script against the Huskies. Starts out innocently enough, with a turnover leading to a quick UConn basket. Between all the empty trips down court for the Cardinals, there is one turnover, another and still another, the Huskies converting all of them into points. 

The outcome never in doubt after the initial surge although the margin was only 11 points in UConn’s 69-58 win over visiting Louisville in front of 10,000-plus. Just another night at Gampel Pavillion where the Huskies have won 76 straight home games.

Some might find some consolation in the fact that the UofL women outscored UConn 38-27 in the second half. They would have to acknowledge that the Huskies were never seriously threatened. Had they been, would there have been still another surge?

Coach Jeff Walz may have convinced his pupils that they could play with UConn after the first quarter, and they did hang around.  By then it was too late, his charges totally unprepared and unequipped to handle the initial mugging.

Lots of talk after the game about the Cardinals having learned some lessons and knowing what they had to work on the rest of the season. You know, just in case they run into UConn during the post-season. 

The Cardinals obviously learned a lot about themselves, absorbing one blow after another to their collective psyche. Pretty obvious that it’s going to take more than just trading baskets with UConn for a couple of quarters to ever seriously threaten the Huskies.

Louisville women in a yawner over Pittsburgh, now 20-0

Apparently a challenge for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team to get excited about playing Pittsburgh with all those empty seats at the Peterson Events Center.

Wake me when it’s over, the Cardinals ambulating to a 77-51 win over the Panthers.

The Cardinals led by only four points at the half and by 10 after three quarters. Bionca Dunham would erupt for six straight points in the fourth quarter to ignite a 16-0 run for the Cardinals. Dana Evans making life difficult for the Panthers as well, with three steals, two 3-pointers and eight points.

Yacine Diop of Pitt taking advantage of UofL’s lethargy and post Notre Dame letdown, hitting almost everything she threw at the basket in the first half, getting 19 points.  Her magical night ending when her shots stop falling and she runs out of fouls, but good for 26 points.

Myisha Hines-Allen getting off to a slow start but picking up her game in the second half. Chalking up the 37th double-double of her four-year tenure. She would score 13 points and grab a career high of 18 rebounds.

Asia Durr maybe saving her best stuff for the better teams, with only one 3-pointer and nine points. Steady Sam Fuehring good for 12 points.

Cardinals are 20-0 overall, 6-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Asia Durr returns intact, Louisville women edge Duke

A scary few minutes for University of Louisville basketball fans as Asia Durr is carried off the floor in the first half after incurring an ankle injury. She returned a few minutes later to an ovation.

One of those moments in the first half for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team when Asia Durr goes down in pain, having twisted an ankle, banging her fists on the floor in frustration.

Up to that point Durr had already scored 14 points on her way to another big night. Fans in the crowd of 8,101 holding their collective breath, willing her to return, exhaling a few minutes later, giving Asia an ovation as she returns to the court.

Nightmare scenario avoided. Durr would cool off on her way to a 22-point performance in 34 minutes of playing time. Third-ranked UofL would defeat 17th-ranked Duke 66-60 for its 17th win without a loss this season.

Duke would reduce a 14-point Louisville lead to three points at one point, with the Cardinals leaning heavily on senior Myisha Hines-Allen in the second half. The UofL senior would score 10 points and retrieve 13 rebounds for her fifth double-double this season and the 34th of her career.

Sam Fuehring becoming a consistent contributor, adding 12 points and seven rebounds. Her two free throws with 22 seconds remaining giving UofL a five-point lead and some breathing room.

Next up is Virginia Tech (12-3) ON Sunday at 2 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center.

Another cakewalk for Louisville women

On the surface not much to take away from the University of Louisville women’s basketball team’s 91-56 win over UT Martin. Making it look easy, the Cardinals improving their record to 9-0.

Myisha Hines-Allen leading all scorers with 16 points in 20 minutes (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Despite the margin of victory, Coach Jeff Walz was not that pleased with the win, stating, “I keep telling them, it’s not who you play but how you play,” he said. “That’s how playing time is going to be determined.”

Myisha Hines-Allen would lead all scorers with 16 points, all but six of them in the first half. The only reason she didn’t notch another double-double was she was only in the game 21 minutes. Asia Durr and Jazmine Jones would contribute 14 apiece during their abbreviated playing time.

Kylie Shook getting a rare start, but the 6-foot-4 sophomore managing only two points. Having a tough time converting shots, making only one of six. She was a major factor on defense, however, grabbing four defensive rebounds while blocking four Tennessee Martin shots.

Asia Durr turning in 14 points but making only four of 11 shots (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Plenty of action from the bench again, giving the 6,279 fans at the KFC Yum! Center another good look at the depth available to Coach Jeff Walz. The more time the subs get, the more they will contribute during the upcoming nitty-gritty of the schedule.

If anything else is to be concluded, it would be that freshman guard Dana Evans is a serious player. She never takes a play off and is equally intense on both the defensive and offensive ends of the court. Evans had only six points but she also had six assists and three steals to go with three fouls.

Bench leads way, Louisville women crush Murray State

Asia Durr leads this Louisville fast break but spent most of her time watching the reserves while racking up an all-time program record of 115 points against Murray State (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

A record that will stand for a while.

Bionca Dunham goes high over Murray State’s Brianna Crane for one her 16 rebounds (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Things are going right for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team when the reserves outscore the starters. The bench putting up 76 points to only 39 for the starting unit.

The end result was a 115-51 win over Murray State on Friday, a new record for the program before a crowd of 6,881 at the KFC Yum! Center, improving the Cardinals’ record to 5-0.

Some different names among the point leaders, including Kylee Shook with 21 points,  Sydney Zambrotta with 16, and Dana Evans with 14. But the dominating force was still another reserve, Bionca Dunham, turning in her first double-double with 19 points and 16 rebounds.

”Four of our five in double figures come off the bench, and that’s important because we have to have that depth and balance,” said Coach Jeff Walz.

Sam Fuehring, the only starter in double figures, scored the first four points to give a UofL a lead it would never relinquish. She would wind up with 12 points. Myisha Hines-Allen and Jazmine Jones had 8 points, Asia Durr had 7, and Arica Carter had 4.

The bench making it look easy.

Kylee Shook breaking loose for a personal high of 21 points to lead all scorers (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).