Asia Durr erupts for 34 points in one half for Louisville women

An awestruck 8,586 fans witnessed an historic performance at the KFC Yum! Center on Thursday — a keeper they will store in their treasure box of University of Louisville memories. 

They were there the night when Syracuse looked almost unbeatable in the first half, jumping out to an 11-2 starts, owning 12-point leads over Louisville in the second quarter. UofL considering itself lucky to trail by only seven points at the half.

Al Benningfield, who worked with the UofL stat crew for 46 years befoe , told Asia after the game it was the best performance he had seen in 50 years for a UofL player.

Things had not gone well for Asia Durr in the first half, looking apprehensive, tentative, afraid to shoot. And for good reason, missing all five of her field goal attempts. She would eke out two points during the first 20 minutes, making two free throws.

What happened in the second is the stuff of legend. Asia scoring 18 points in the third quarter with UofL outscoring Syracuse 29 to 4 to own a 20-point lead. She wasn’t done yet, tacking on an additional 16 points in the fourth quarter to lead Louisville to an epic 91-76 win over the visitors.

Yes,  34 points for Durr in that second half. She would wind up with a career high 36 points for the game, making 10 of 18 field goal attempts, including seven 3-pointers, and 9 of 12 free throw attempts.  

“The first half was tough,” she said afterwards. “I gained a lot of confidence in that second half. I’m not the type of player who if things don’t go well is going to shut down. I love this game too much. It’s how you bounce back.”

Nobody was happier than Coach Jeff Walz about that mesmerizing second half. “We didn’t start the game well,” he said. “Asia wasn’t really looking to score in the first half. It’s kind of hard to score if you don’t shoot. She looked scared.

“I told her at halftime she was wide open at times and she wasn’t looking to score. She’s a scorer. That’s what she has to do for us. The second half she finally started to attack. Credit her teammates for getting the ball to her.”

Memorable night, too, for Mariya Moore and Myisha Hines-Allen. Moore coming through with a triple-double, with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Hines-Allen contributing 18 points and six rebounds. Those two keeping UofL close in the first half, setting the stage for Durr’s milestone performance.

A significant win over a quality opponent, with Coach Jeff Walz describing Alexis Peterson and Brittney Sykes of Syracuse as “two of the best guards in the country.” They would wind up with 31 and 21 points, respectively.

The win improved UofL’s won-lost record to 13-2, getting the Cardinals off to a good start in ACC play. Next up is Duke at Durham, N.C. on Monday.

Durr’s confidence builder couldn’t have come at a better time.

Jeff Walz has freebies for final home game against Pitt


Jeff Walz has a special deal for Cardinal Athletic Fund members for Sunday’s final regular season game.

ACC StandingsTwo free tickets for the University of Louisville vs. Pittsburgh women’s basketball game, which tips off at 12:30 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center.

In an email to CAF members Tuesday, the UofL coach expressed his appreciation for a level of support that has made Louisville women’s basketball one of the elite programs in the country. The UofL women are currently 13-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, second only to undefeated Notre Dame.

They are 22-6 overall and ranked 10th in the latest Associated Press poll as they travel to Miami for a 7:30 p.m. game on Thursday (ESPN3.com).

“It is extremely important we finish the regular season on a high note,” he wrote, “and we would love to have you there to ensure we have the best home-court advantage possible.”

To claim your two free tickets, present your ‘Year of the Fan’ card at the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium ticket office Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Lost track of the card? No sweat. They have your account number.

Asia Durr propels Louisville women to new level

Just a couple of days ago, Coach Jeff Walz was indicating that Asia Durr was likely to miss the rest of the season, citing her slow recuperation from a groin operation this past summer.

“She just hasn’t had the success trying to come back that she was hoping for,” Walz said. “It’s really limited her ability to have any kind of explosion, any kind of foot speed. It’s really affected her as much physically as mentally.”

Asia Durr makes everybody better.
Asia Durr makes everybody better.

My, how things can change in a couple of days for young athletes.

Durr was one of the first players off the bench Thursday, looking like her old self, leading the University of Louisville women’s basketball team to an impressive 85-78 win over Michigan State. Played 23 minutes, including the crucial ones at the end, holding off the inevitable MSU rally.

Looking every bit like the Asia Durr regarded by many as the No. 1 recruit in her class, she brought with a new level of confidence to the UofL offense heretofore unseen this season. Connecting on five of 11 field goal attempts and five of seven free throws for 20 points. She was also dishing out a couple of assists and copping three steals.

Following the game, Walz had no explanation for the quick turnaround in Durr’s physical outlook, happily proclaiming, “Asia Durr makes us a different team.” Nothing like the team that was 1-4 arriving at East Lansing.

Her presence on the court setting a different tone, inspiring her teammates, making everybody look better, like the team UofL fans expected to see this season.  Courtnee Walton, becoming a scorer, hitting key shots down the stretch, 12 points for the night. Mariya Moore and Briahanna Jackson combining for five 3-pointers, scoring 20 and 13 points, respectively. Turning the Spartans over 27 times.

A different team with Asia Durr, indeed.

Making it through the summer

So how do fans who spend nine to 10 months a year following University of Louisville athletics survive the next two months without UofL competition? I’m not really sure. The opening football game against Auburn in the Georgia Dome is Sept. 5.

Thanks to Dan McDonnell’s team for extending the baseball season, putting the Cardinals within one game of the College World Series. One questionable foul ball/home run away. We may never know for certain. Really makes it difficult watching the championship series with Virginia and Vanderbilt, knowing UofL should have been there.2014-15-e1419956266732

Rick Pitino’s basketball team from one missed free throw away from returning to the Final Four for the third time in the last four seasons. UofL making only six field goals in the second half, Mangok Mathiang’s second free throw attempt not even close. Pitino willing his team to another incredible finish.

Bobby Petrino delivering a 31-28 win in the first-ever football game against Notre Dame at South Bend and a 9-4 won-lost record with a trio of untested, unproven and injury-plagued quarterbacks.

Continue reading “Making it through the summer”

UofL women’s basketball rolling, but UConn still formidable

Among the observer’s favorite teams at the University of Louisville is the women’s basketball team. Rarely miss a game, whether it’s going to the KFC Yum! Center, watching on cable TV or listening on WKRD radio.

The Cardinals are currently 18-1 and ranked fifth in the nation. The sole loss a five-point setback to Kentucky in early December. Not surprising since the game was in Lexington.

This is essentially the same team that made the NCAA championship game last April, earning the nickname “Party Crashers” while defeating Tennessee, California and top-ranked Baylor to get there. Not a happy ending, however, with UConn again sticking it to the Cards, 93-60.

Through the first 12 games, the women are averaging 7,825 fans per game at home, compared to 8,704 last season.

One has to wonder just how much still another loss to UConn may have affected attendance for the UofL women’s game this season. Through the first 12 games, the women are averaging 7,825 fans per game at home, compared to 9,513 for the same period last year. Take the UK game (which attracted 15,453 at the Yum!) out of the equation and attendance was still higher, 8,704 per game last season.

The continued losses to UConn have to have had an adverse effect, the fans suspecting that UConn is still far and away a much better program.  That tends to temper any expectations UofL fans may have for their team, despite a top 10 ranking and a sparkling won-lost record.

Don’t look now but there are two games against UConn to be played, the first Feb. 9 on the  road, the second the regular season ending game at the Yum! on March 3.

White outs, pink outs and $2 beers are nice attention-getters, but the only thing that may convince fans that UofL is a serious contender for a national championship will be a win over UConn. That just might possibly require pulling back the curtain and opening the upper level at the KFC Yum! Center.