DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Arica Carter kept taking, and making, 3-pointers for No. 3 Louisville. It added up to a career day — and the Cardinals’ first victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Carter had career highs of 23 points and seven 3-pointers in Louisville’s 73-51 rout of Duke on Sunday.
Dana Evans added 16 points for the Cardinals (14-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who never trailed and shot 41 percent. Their first win at Cameron was worth a line in the record book — it was the Blue Devils’ most lopsided home loss in more than five years.
“Every game in this league is going to be a grind-it-out game,” coach Jeff Walz said. “I’m really not expecting to blow anybody out within this league. … You have to steal a few wins on the road … so I’m thrilled to be able to come in here and get a win.”
Asia Durr, whose average of 21.5 points ranks second in the league, finished with 13 on 4-of-12 shooting. Louisville shot 50 percent from 3-point range while making 12 of them, forced 24 turnovers and turned those into 24 points.
“All of a sudden, it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, (opponents) can’t leave Arica wide open,'” Walz said. “It’s going to make life easier for Asia.”
Leaonna Odom had 16 points and Haley Gorecki finished with 15 for the Blue Devils (8-6, 0-2), who lost their first two ACC games for the second straight year and just the third time since 1992-93. Duke had its sixth 20-turnover game of the season and was just 2 of 13 from beyond the arc.
The Blue Devils trailed by double figures for all but 40 seconds of the second half, but cut their deficit to 50-40 on Gorecki’s layup early in the fourth. Carter and Evans hit back-to-back 3s to start the 10-0 run that put Louisville up by 20.
Louisville: Even as they established themselves as one of the top programs in women’s basketball, there was still one accomplishment that eluded them until now — winning in front of the Cameron Crazies. They’d been 0-3 there and lost in each of their last two visits as a top-10 team. The Cardinals clearly kept their focus on the Blue Devils and not Thursday night’s visit to No. 2 Notre Dame.
Duke: Things should at least get easier soon for the Blue Devils, who began ACC play by facing two undefeated top-10 opponents — the first such stretch in school history to start the conference schedule. They probably will only have to take on one more — at Notre Dame next month — the rest of the season. Duke led No. 9 North Carolina State early in the fourth quarter before fading down the stretch of a 63-51 loss three nights earlier in Raleigh.
“I liked the three quarters at N.C. State and the two quarters in the middle of this game,” coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “But there are three quarters … that were very costly. We have lessons, but we will learn them.”
The Cardinals, the nation’s highest-ranked unbeaten team, looked every bit the part of a top-three team. Based on how far the voters drop top-ranked Connecticut for its loss to No. 8 Baylor — and how high the Bears climb — Louisville has a case for the No. 2 spot on Monday when the new rankings are released.
Carter, a redshirt senior, hit four 3s on the Cardinals’ first seven possessions of the game — in the process matching her previous career high from long range. She surpassed her previous scoring high of 19 set in the opener against Western Kentucky. “Obviously,” McCallie said, “she had a special day.”
This was Duke’s most lopsided loss at Cameron since Connecticut claimed an 83-61 win there on Dec. 17, 2013. Had Miela Goodchild not beaten the buzzer with a jumper for the Blue Devils, it would have been their worst defeat there since UConn gave them a 33-point thumping in 2010.