Durr, Hines-Allen provide one-two punch for Louisville over Virginia

UofL’s Sydney Zambrotta appears to be the object of a haymaker by Virginia’s Aliyah Huland El. No foul was called, however. (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).The big question going into the basketball game between the University of Louisville and Virginia was how UofL would fare without Mariya Moore, the latest Cardinal to sit by virtue of a coach’s decision.

Mariya had scored 23 points in a heated 86-81 overtime win over the Cavaliers in early January. Seemed indispensable at the time.

Not to worry, some other Cardinals brought their A games on Thursday. Namely Asia Durr and Myisha Hines-Allen who led all scorers with 24 and 21 points, respectively.

Louisville would put up its 24th win against only six losses before a crowd of 7,981 at the KFC Yum! Center.

Freshman Jazzmine Jones was the beneficiary of the extra playing time, contributing seven points, two assists and a couple of steals in 29 minutes. Oops, she also committed seven turnovers, more work to be done.

Sidney Zambrotta always stirs up the crowd. She was two for four from behind the 3-point line in 11 minutes for her six points, following up a three-for-three 3-point shots on Sunday.

One more game remaining, the Cardinals traveling to Wake Forest on Sunday. They are tied for fourth with 11-4 marks in the conference with North Carolina State, which beat North Carolina 80-60.

Double-bye for the ACC Tournament is a long shot. State owns the tie-breaker, having defeated UofL a week ago.

Senior Night and time to say goodbye to Courtnee Walton, Taylor Johnson and Briahanna Jackson. Jackson still suffering from back spasms and missed the game (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Asia Durr for 28, Louisville women rip North Carolina

Louisville Coach Jeff Walz sends a message to officials after Myisha Hines-Allen was pulled to the floor on a rebound in the second quarter. A technical foul was assessed to a North Carolina player. 

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.

Kylee Shook gets message, UofL women skate past Boston College

Apparently when Jeff Walz sends a message to a University of Louisville player, he wants to make sure the individual has time to consider the desired result. Just ask Kylee Shook who was benched quickly in the second half against Virginia Tech on Thursday.

Kylee Shook attacks the basket for two of her game-leading 14 points (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

So surprised when she had a wide open path to the basket, Kylee did an awkward ball fake, was called for traveling, and summoned to the bench. Done for the night, having to think about it the rest of the night and over the next three days.

Imagine her relief, then, when Walz tapped Shook as the starting forward the following Sunday. The coach appealing to her competitive edge, hoping she would react in a positive way, needing her to be a leader.

Shook would do just that, the young 6-foot-4 freshman responding with one of the best games in her career in a 68-43 win over Boston College before 9,306 fans at the KFC Yum! Center. She would make six of 10 field goal attempts, including two of three 3-point shots, to lead all scorers with 14 points while pulling down five rebounds. 

No mishaps in this one, either, Shook with zero turnovers in 20 minutes of playing time. 

Before one gets carried away, however, it should be noted that Shook may have gotten the starting opportunity because Asia Durr, UofL’s leading scorer, was the one on the bench in this game.

All game long, with no explanation except for a “coach’s decision.” Nobody close to the team knowing anything, saying nothing, not even her. As Durr was leaving the floor, an elderly woman called out to her, “Hey, Asia, what did you do?”

“It’s okay,” replied Asia. “I’ll be back next game.”

Also of note, Mariya Moore did not return for the second half after making three turnovers and missing all six of her field goal attempts in the first 20 minutes.

More messaging? Or was it because she wasn’t needed? Myisha Hines-Allen, who had 10 points and 13 rebounds, saw only eight minutes in the second half. Regardless, they will have all week to think about it, UofL not playing until next Sunday when North Carolina arrives for a Noon tipoff. 

A long week ahead, plenty of time to let any object lessons sink in.

Mariya Moore’s turn to shine, Louisville women edge Miami

Mariya Moore is not shy when it comes to shooting or rebounding, notching 24 points and 7 rebounds (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

One never knows who’s going to grab the reins, assume the leadership role in a game for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team, especially in grinders against top 20 opponents. 

Take your pick from Myisha Hines-Allen, Asia Durr or Mariya Moore. When one or more of them is having an off-game, count on at least one of them to be having an exceptional game. On Sunday it was Mariya Moore’s turn in the spotlight, putting the team on her shoulders in a 63-59 win over Miami.

Moore seemed to have an answer every time Miami got close, scoring eight of her game-high 24 points during the fourth quarter. She dropped in her fourth 3-pointer to give UofL a five-point lead after Miami had cut the margin to two points.

Fun, fun, fun for the crowd of 10,016 at the KFC Yum! Center, especially for the fan wearing the Lamar Jackson tux (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

“Mariya wanted the ball today,” said Walz. “When she wants the ball, she screams for it. If you’re open and don’t get the ball, it’s because they don’t see you. You have to yell for it. She hit a big basket (a 3-pointer) going into half time.”

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Walz sends message to starters, UofL women down Pittsburgh

The University of Louisville women’s basketball team defeated a good Pittsburgh team 73-52 Sunday at the KFC Yum! Center using a lot of reserves. Some of their counterparts spending more time than usual watching from the bench.

Mariya Moore with a bandage on her face after taking an elbow from Pitt’s Destinie Gibbs (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Coach Jeff Walz concerned lately about slow starts and a lack of killer instinct, using the game against the Panthers to send a message to some of his starters. Demanding their attention.

No time to waste with the eighth-ranked Cardinals facing fifth-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee on Thursday. The Seminoles are 15-2 overall, having lost only to UConn by two points and North Carolina State by nine.

Asia Durr seeing only 14 minutes on the floor, all of them in the first half. Stuck on the bench after hitting one of nine field goal attempts for three points. Walz said after the game Durr looked tired and didn’t play in the second half because UofL didn’t need her.

Myisha Hines-Allen 13 minutes in the first half, 19 for the game.  Courtnee Walton 5 minutes in the first half, and a total of 17 minutes. Probably because they were unable to contain Pittsburgh senior Brandi Harvey-Carr from having the best game of her career with 25 points.

Mariya Moore acknowledging that UofL may have had trouble focusing after taking a 34-25 lead at the intermission, allowing Pittsburgh to cut the lead to two points early in the second half. “It was a lack of focus,” she said. “We weren’t all together on the same page and they capitalized on our mistakes.”

Moore getting plenty of playing time, making the most of her 30 minutes with 18 points, four rebounds and three steals. She hit six of six free throws for all of her six points in the first half before making good on three of eight 3-point attempts in the second half.

Some freshmen making the most of the extra minutes, including Jazmine Jones, Cierra Johnson and Kylee Shook, with 13, 11 and 7 points, respectively. A good time to grow their games, with Florida State straight ahead.

The crowd of 8,039 at the KFC Yum! Center included V. J. King, Donovan Mitchell and Mangok Mathiang of the mens’ team (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).