BOZICH | Louisville women, Moore 'pass' first ACC test - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Louisville women, Moore 'pass' first ACC test

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Rick Pitino's University of Louisville basketball team took 58 shots while losing to Kentucky last Saturday. Only 15 went in.

There were many explanations for the Cardinals' wobbly shooting percentage. Kentucky plays unrelenting defense. Easy shots were difficult to find. The ball rolled out.

And the Cardinals were credited with one (1) assist.

Fast forward to Friday night in the KFC Yum! Center. Jeff Walz's U of L women's team took 60 shots while defeating Georgia Tech, 75-48. Precisely half those shots were good.

There were many explanations for the solid shooting percentage. Georgia Tech was unable to stop the Cards' from penetrating. Easy shots were easy to find. The ball went in.

And the Cardinals were credited with 22 assists. They made the extra pass.

“That's always our goal,” Louisville guard Jude Schimmel said. “Whoever's hitting, get the ball to them.”

Mark it down as the seventh game with at least 20 assists by Walz's team this season. No surprise they are 14-1 and ranked seventh in the nation in what some considered a mini-rebuilding season after Shoni Schimmel and two teammates were drafted by the WNBA.

Here is an interesting comparison: Walz's team has been credited with assists on better than 62 percent of their made field goals. For the men, the percentage is 48.3.

Like any good coach, Walz wants more. He loved his team's 22 assists. He was annoyed by his team's 21 turnovers.

“We passed the ball well to our team – and to their team,” Walz said. “They had 14 points off turnovers, so that's seven more assists.”

On a night when Walz worried that his team would have to grind through the final minutes against a 10-4 Georgia Tech team expected to finish seventh in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Louisville passed its first ACC without hyperventilating.

“I can't say that (blowout) is what we had planned,” Walz said. “It was a great game. Defensively, we did some really good things.”

The Cards defended. They limited Kaela Davis, Tech's leading scorer, to 11 points.

That deserves a longer discussion because Davis, a 6-foot-2 forward, is one of the best players in the ACC, the daughter of former NBA star Antonio Davis. The 11-point game was 10 under her average as well as Davis's lowest scoring total this season. She missed 13 of 15 shots.

“We made it as difficult for Davis to score as anybody has,” Walz said. “That was our goal. Our number one goal was to try to make her become a volume shooter. I thought we did that. I just never anticipated us being able to make her go 2 for 15.”

“She was obviously our biggest focus,” Schimmel said. “She takes 30-plus shots a game. We wanted to limit that. Fortunately for us she wasn't hitting her shots early and we found a way to keep the ball out of her hands.”

Davis was not the best player on the court. Mariya Moore, the Louisville freshman, was.

Moore punished the Yellow Jackets with her shooting and passing, scoring 22 points on only a dozen field goal attempts while distributing eight assists.

Moore was the only Louisville player to attempt a three-point field goal. She made half of her six attempts.

“We talked about, just don't become strictly a three-point shooter,” Walz said. “I thought we did a nice job of getting her moving and getting her a few layups to see the ball go in.”

“I've learned a lot the last couple of days,” Moore said. “They've been preaching to me the whole season that I can't just come out and perform, that I have to push harder in practice. I tried to push as hard as I could in shoot-around to see if I could help my team more.”

The Cards did one thing even better than sharing the ball. They raced back on defense. Georgia Tech did not score a single fast-break point.

Next for the Cards is a trip to Pittsburgh for a game Sunday at 2 p.m.

There's been a one-season gap in the U of L-Pitt rivalry because the Panthers left the Big East for the ACC after the 2013 season. The Cards have done well against Pitt, winning eight of 10, including the last four.

“To get a 27-point win in our first ACC game says a lot about us and a lot about our coach,” said Schimmel.

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