LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Midway through the fourth quarter Thursday night Louisville coach Jeff Walz caught an errant pass from one of his players, so he gave in to temptation and put up a shot. The long-range jumper clanged off the rim, one of just a few misses by the No. 4 Cardinals on Thursday night.
Asia Durr scored 20 points in 23 minutes and all 11 Louisville players scored in a 91-43 rout of Virginia, thanks to a season-best 57 percent shooting effort.
The Cardinals (16-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) broke the game open with a 24-3 run to start the second quarter. Durr, a senior guard, scored the final five points of the burst as her 3-pointer gave Louisville a 39-17 lead with 2:20 left in the half.
Virginia held the Cardinals to just 15 points in the first quarter, but Dana Evans said it was the defense that was the catalyst for the big second quarter.
“Once we started to rebound, we got a couple easy buckets, and that kind of opened the gates up for us,” said Evans, a sophomore guard who made all six shots in a 14-point effort.
That dominance carried over to the second half where the Cardinals used a 19-2 third quarter run to ensure there would be no comeback by the Cavaliers (7-11, 1-4).
Louisville bested the 56.4 percent it shot against Kentucky on Dec. 9. Kylee Shook added 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds. Bionca Dunham scored 12 on 6-of-7 shooting.
The sharp shooting carried over to the perimeter, where Louisville made 12-of-24 3-point attempts, Walz’s shot excluded. Durr, one of the leading players in the country, made 4-of-9, her best effort since making that many against Nebraska on Nov. 29.
“Overall, I was really, really pleased with how we shot it, and the areas of the floor where we got shots in,” Walz said.
The Cavaliers were led by Dominique Toussaint’s nine points.
Barring an upset this weekend, the Cardinals dominating performance should keep them in the top four of the next poll.
AIYEOTAN COMING BACK SLOWLY
Thursday marked the third game back for Virginia’s Felicia Aiyeotan. The 6-foot-9 junior center missed 11 games after sustaining a knee injury against North Carolina A&T on Nov. 20. She came off the bench to play 14 minutes, scoring four points and grabbing five boards.
Coach Tina Thompson said the Nigerian’s role has been limited as she just recently came back to practice. Her inside presence has been missed by the Cavaliers. In the season opener against Mississippi State, she grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked five shots, and then she posted 13 and five against Kentucky.
“It changes the way that we have to play,” Thompson said. “We’re small for most of the game. We start games and finish games that way.”
HE SAID IT
“It was bad. It’s a shot you got to make. I spent two years of my college career sitting right there. That was my shot.” Walz on his missed 3-pointer.
Virginia: The Cavaliers dictated the tempo for the first quarter, but they weren’t able to take advantage of the slow pace because of Louisville’s trapping defense coerced five turnovers. The ACC’s worst-shooting team shot just 31.7 percent, and that was buoyed by 6-of-14 shooting in the final period.
Louisville: One of the nation’s most prolific offenses broke out of a mini-slump Thursday. The Cardinals ranked No. 15 in the nation in scoring average at 81.4 points a game, but Thursday’s point total was their most in six games, when they put up 92 on Northern Kentucky on Dec. 15. That game also marked the last time Louisville shot better than 50 percent from the floor.
Virginia: The Cavaliers get the weekend off and will return to action next Thursday at Pittsburgh.
Louisville: The Cardinals travel to Wake Forest for a Sunday afternoon game.