No. 5 Louisville wallops Miami in home opener 95-73
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville finally got to play a home game on Monday night, and the No. 5 Cardinals took full advantage of the opportunity.
Kylee Shook scored a season-high 17 points to help Louisville to a 95-73 rout of Miami (Ohio) on Monday night.
The Cardinals (6-0) started strong and never looked back. They jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first 2:30 as they forced the RedHawks (4-1) into four turnovers in that span. Three baskets came on fast break opportunities.
A balanced attack propelled the Cardinals to victory. Shook, a junior forward, made 6-of-9 shots and was one of six Louisville players to score in double figures. The Cardinals shot 51.5 percent and forced Miami into committing 21 turnovers.
Asia Durr scored 10 of her 16 points in the second half for Louisville, which also got a season-high 15 points from Bionca Dunham. Five Cardinals also pulled down at least six rebounds.
“Being on the road for five straight games, it was kind of a challenge, but we found a way to pull it through,” said Dunham, a junior who made 7-of-10 shots and scored 13 points in the first half. “Feels great to be home, in front of our fans. Just to play here, it felt great.”
Durr ended the first half in spectacular fashion, getting a backcourt turnover in the waning seconds and converting a reverse layup just before the buzzer to give the Cardinals a 46-28 lead at the break.
Freshman guard Nia Clark scored 17 points to lead the RedHawks.
Miami: A veteran-laden team with four starters returning from a 21-win team that reached the WNIT, the RedHawks found themselves down by as many 18 points late in the first quarter and never recovered. The Cardinals’ quickness gave the RedHawks fits throughout the night as Louisville got 16 steals and scored 20 points off Miami turnovers.
“When you play Louisville, you have to be able to handle their pressure in all different ways,” second-year coach Megan Duffy said. “I thought we were a little caught on our heels. The big thing is: You can have some turnovers, but all of our turnovers led to easy baskets for them.”
Louisville: Coach Jeff Walz got a chance to showcase his depth as nine players saw action in the first half. While Durr, a candidate for national player of the year, draws the most attention, the Cardinals got solid performances from its three post players: Shook, Dunham and Sam Fuehring combined to make 16-of-25 shots for 42 points.
Sophomore Dana Evans scored 14 points for the Cardinals. It marked her third consecutive double-digit scoring performance, but what’s impressed Walz more about his guard so far this season has been her ball-handling ability. The 5-6 five-star recruit has 33 assists to just 13 turnovers, including an 18-to-4 ratio in the last three games.
“She’s getting to people at the right time and the right place,” Walz said. “Doing exactly what we need her to do and scoring within the offense. So, that’s something I’m really excited about.”
Earlier in the day, Louisville announced graduate transfer Yacine Diop would miss the rest of the season after tearing her left anterior cruciate ligament in her knee. The 5-10 guard suffered the injury during the Cardinals win Friday against Arizona State in Las Vegas.
Diop, who scored 1,093 points in three seasons at Pittsburgh, redshirted due to an injury during the 2016-17 season. Louisville officials said they may explore seeking a sixth-year waiver for the Senegal native.
Walz said his team will still get the Diop’s leadership, albeit from the bench. However, they’ll need to make up for her rebounding and defensive abilities. She averaged 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in four games with two starts for the Cardinals.
“She led us in deflections, was one of the tops in steals,” Walz said. “So, we’re going to need a little bit more productivity from all” the remaining players.
Miami: The RedHawks travel to Illinois-Chicago for a Saturday afternoon contest.
Louisville: The Cardinals return to action Thursday evening when they host Nebraska as part of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge.