LOUISVILLE, Ky. — DePaul coach Doug Bruno has spent three years trying to find a way to stop Louisville's Monique Reid for three years.
He's still searching.
Reid scored 28 points and the Cardinals shut down the seventh-ranked Blue Demons 68-55 on Wednesday, snapping DePaul's four-game winning streak and bolstering their NCAA tournament hopes in the process.
"Monique Reid has owned DePaul," Bruno said. "We tried to guard her in a lot of different ways, we had no answer for her."
Reid, who has struggled with an ankle injury and more than a little self-doubt, did a little bit of everything. She made 10-of-17 shots, all eight of her free throws and added seven rebounds as the Cardinals (18-10, 9-5 Big East) beat a ranked opponent for the fifth time this season.
"I feel like we're a hard team to play," said Reid. "We're a pretty tough team when we bring it." Louisville brought it with defense, holding DePaul (25-4, 12-2) to 34 percent shooting while forcing 20 turnovers. The Blue Demons' 55 points were their fewest this season.
"We talked to them past two days if we didn't come out and play hard and defend we didn't have a chance," said Louisville coach Jeff Walz. "Take away the first two minutes of the game where we stood around and watched, we played extremely well."
Shoni Schimmel added 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Cardinals (18-10, 9-5 Big East), who knocked off a ranked team at home for the fifth time this season.
DePaul came in winning four straight and 12 of 13, the lone loss during the stretch a respectable 12-point defeat at the hands of No. 1 Connecticut.
The run has allowed the Blue Demons to climb inside the top 10 for the first time in school history. Bruno, however, refused to blame the loss on his team reveling in its lofty spot in the polls.
"We try not to have our team look backward and look at No. 7," Bruno said. "We were fighting for a two-seed in the NCAA tournament. Louisville was fighting for an opportunity to play in the NCAA, which it so richly deserves. ... Our kids have to respond to real flesh and blood people that are fighting for something."
Keisha Hampton led DePaul with 20 points, but the Blue Demons never got into a flow after taking a quick 8-0 lead. The Cardinals harassed DePaul into tough shots and held a 38-30 advantage on the backboard despite a distinct size disadvantage.
Louisville led by as much as 15 in the second half before DePaul pulled within seven points on two different occasions.
Each time, the Cardinals responded.
Schimmel drilled a 3-pointer and Reid followed with a conventional 3-point play to push Louisville's lead to 54-41.
DePaul rallied one more time, getting within 57-50 on a 3-pointer by Hampton with 4:24 to go.
The Cardinals appeared bothered by DePaul's fullcourt press but the Blue Demons couldn't take advantage. They came up empty on three straight possessions and Louisville held on behind outstanding free-throw shooting. The Cardinals went 20-of-22 at the line, well above the season average of 67 percent.
Reid led the way, posting her eighth 20-point game of the season and playing with a purpose she's lacked at times.
"She decided to play," Walz said. "Mo's as good as there is when she wants to play and I've told her that the entire time. She was very passive the first four minutes. She was worried about getting her shot blocked. Then finally she got aggressive and she started to take the ball to the basket hard. When she does that, we've got a chance to win basketball games."
The Cardinals needed Reid after looking lifeless in the opening minutes. DePaul raced to a quick 8-0 lead and appeared to be on the verge of a blowout before Reid took over.
Using her quick release and footwork to get over the taller defenders, she gave Louisville its first lead at 15-14 on a conventional three-point play. The margin grew to 26-20 at halftime as the Blue Demons struggled holding onto the ball. They turned it over 12 times in the half, just below their season average of 13.8 turnovers a game.