LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Once his regulars finally settled into a steady rhythm against Tennessee State, Louisville coach Jeff Walz found it easier to weave in others for substantial minutes.
Those multiple combinations culminated in the No. 5 Cardinals’ most decisive victory this season.
Asia Durr scored 19 points, Dana Evans added 17 and No. 5 Louisville used several runs over the final three quarters to blow out Tennessee State 107-52 on Sunday.
The winless Tigers (0-9) put up an early fight against the Cardinals (8-0) early and trailed only 29-25 early in the second quarter. Louisville quickly turned up the defense as Sam Fuehring forced the first of six turnovers leading to 12 points during a 14-2 run over 3:16 that provided a 43-27 lead with 3:34 remaining before the half. Durr converted a couple of those takeaways along with a 3-pointer to eventually put Louisville up 49-31 at the break.
What pleased Walz most was that Louisville changed the momentum without him having to burn a time out.
“We got a little lazy with the defense and I’ve told them all along that I’m not going to bail us out by calling time out,” he said. “You’ve got to figure it out sometimes during the game because when we get into conference play and some of these remaining non-conference games, I don’t have enough timeouts to call whenever we do something wrong. I thought they did a really nice job with that the last 4 1/2 minutes of the first half.”
Louisville then scored the first 16 points during a 37-point third quarter before closing the game with a 19-4 run to roll to season highs in points and victory margin.
All 11 Cardinals scored while playing at least 10 minutes as their bench dominated TSU 45-16.
“I had to get back to where we had the right combinations in the game,” Walz said. “With that I was still able to get a lot of our young ones a lot of playing time.”
A couple of milestones were reached in the process.
Junior forward Kylee Shook broke a single-game school record with eight blocks, along with grabbing a career-high 14 rebounds. Sheronne Vails held the previous mark of seven rejections against Houston Baptist on Nov. 17, 2010.
“I wasn’t aware of the record,” Shook said of the blocks, “but I just go out and try to do my best and rebounding is what we need in the post.”
Bionca Dunham and Jazmine Jones each scored 14 points and combined for nine rebounds for the Cardinals.
Tai Wooten had 15 points and seven rebounds for TSU, which played its eighth road contest in nine games this season.
The Cardinals’ third win this week should keep them in the Top Five.
Tennessee State: The Tigers played their fifth Power Five school in six games. They shot and rebounded well enough at the start to make Louisville nervous before being rattled by the Cardinals’ pressure. TSU ended up committing 29 turnovers leading to 49 points, shooting 35 percent and being outrebounded 45-34.
“They started blitzing high and we couldn’t just make the extra pass from there and didn’t really make the adjustment,” coach Jessica Kern said.
Louisville: Though the Cardinals didn’t look past the Tigers, they weren’t exactly dialed in at the start, either. Only when TSU made it a two-possession game did the light come on defensively. The offense picked up from there as well, with the Cardinals shooting 49 percent from the field.
Tennessee State gets a break before beginning a three-game road swing at Marshall on Dec. 15.
Louisville hosts UT Martin on Tuesday in its final tuneup before hosting rival and No. 25 Kentucky next Sunday.
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