CRAWFORD | Louisville women headed for 'Big Monday' matchup at D - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Louisville women headed for 'Big Monday' matchup at Duke

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The University of Louisville women's basketball team is getting a national stage tonight when it visits Duke University for an ESPN “Big Monday” matchup with the Blue Devils.

It's not the first trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the U of L women, but things have changed a great deal since they were last in the building, when U of L lost to Duke 69-53 in the NCAA Tournament in 1998.

Today, U of L (19-2, 7-1) enters the game ranked eighth nationally and in a three-way tie atop the Atlantic Coast Conference standings. Duke (15-6, 6-2) is No. 15 nationally. The game tips off at 7 p.m.

The big challenge the Blue Devils will pose for U of L is size. They are outrebounding opponents by 14.6 per game and are led by 6-5 freshman forward Azura' Stevens, who averages 13.3 points and 8 rebounds per game. The Blue Devils have a front line that goes 6-5, 6-4, 6-3 across. U of L has 6-2 Sara Hammond, 6-1 Shawnta' Dyer and 6-foot freshman Mariya Moore.

Myisha Hines-Allen is averaging 23 points since U of L coach Jeff Walz began bringing her off the bench two games ago, shooting 84 percent from the field in that time.

The key then for the Cardinals, as it has been all season, is ball movement. They're not going to make a ton of three-point baskets, but their ability to drive, pass and knock-down mid-range jumpers has carried them.

Walz said that this team passes it as well as any he's had — and it needs to. The Cards have scored 61 percent of their field goals off an assist, have had more than 20 in nine games and rank eighth in the NCAA in assists at 18.3 per game. Needless to say, it's a major emphasis.

“Yeah, it has to be,” Walz said. “We can't just come down the floor, make one pass and shoot a three. We could do that the past two years because we had kids that were shooting 40 plus from the 3-point line. Now we have to make the extra pass.”

The Cards had 26 assists on 31 field goals in their win over No. 23 ranked Syracuse last week. “There's not much one-on-one being played,” when that happens, Walz said after the Syracuse win.

“It's by far the best passing team that we've had,” he said. “Really, really proud of how well we are sharing the basketball. I think tonight, you saw some kids that had some good shots make passes to players that had great shots, and that's what you've got to get to. And there's still times where we're trying to teach, don't pass up a four-footer to try to get a two-footer. That's a great shot. And that takes time, it takes showing them film and breaking things down.”

Duke has won four of its past five and is coming off a win over Pittsburgh in which it outreboundeed the Panthers 44-26. U o fL has won 11 of its past 12 and shot 65.5 percent in its win over Syracuse.

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