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).

Briahanna Jackson not slowing down anytime soon

Briahanna Jackson was considered a major scoring threat when she joined the University of Louisville women’s basketball team. She’s looking more for her teammates than she is hunting points these days.

Jackson transferred to UofL last season from the University of Central Florida where she had averaged 16 points per game as a freshman. She averaged 11.1 points as a sophomore in her first season here.

But it’s not Jackson’s shooting that impresses UofL fans these days as much as it is her boundless energy on the basketball court. She is in constant motion, running circles around her teammates and opposing players.

Jackson would make only one of eight field goal attempts in UofL’s 68-61 win over Western Kentucky before a crowd of 9,168 fans at the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday.  She would provide a remarkable 10 assists to her teammates, helping to overcome a eight-point deficit in the second half.

Feeding the ball to Myisha Hines-Allen and Asia Durr who each collected 16 points, most of them in the final 20 minutes.

Briahanna scoring average is down to eight points per game, prompting some observers to speculate that she may be expending so much energy on other parts of her game. She made one basket out of eight attempts against WKU.

Coach Jeff Walz, who also marvels at her enthusiasm, believes she just needs a boost of confidence to regain her shooting eye. “Now that the exams are over, I’m encouraging her to spend a little more time shooting in the gym,” he said. “She just needs to see the ball go in the basket a few times.”

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Sydney Zambrotta with one of her five 3-point baskets in the first half (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Meanwhile, keep an eye on freshman Sydney Zambrotta, who hails from Christ the King in New York, the same school as Bria Smith, a former Cardinal.

Zambrotta keeps UofL close in the first half when she connected on five of six 3-point shots for her game-high 15 points. She did all that in only 13 minutes of playing time

Sydney was a two-time New York State Sportswriters Association all-state selection 2015 and 2016. She surpassed 2,000 career points in senior season after joining the 1,000-point club as a junior. She also played lacrosse and soccer.