LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Jeff Walz sounded like a guy who was grateful that his University of Louisville women’s basketball team won its 15th straight game, 78-60, at North Carolina Thursday night, but the win left him with some worries.

He likes how his young team is coming together. But you could hear in his postgame comments some concerns about how it is handling success.

He didn’t like the way the Cardinals (18-5, 10-0) began Thursday night’s game. They fell behind early. They trailed by as many as eight in the second quarter, by four at halftime, and by 10 just two minutes into the third quarter.

In the locker room at halftime, Walz let his team have it. It had missed easy shots, begun to settle for too many three-pointers, and had made mistakes on defense.

“I told them it was embarrassing at halftime – not the fact that we were down, the fact of how we were responding,” Walz told reporters after the game. “It’s unacceptable. You can’t expect to compete at the elite level if you can’t get past the fact that you don’t make every shot. . . . We’ve got to get past that, and if we don’t there are going to be some ballgames that aren’t going to be real pretty.”

Then again, the Cards are capable of some stretches like they put together after falling behind by 10. Louisville scored 18 points in a 3:34 stretch, and matched a season-high wiht 35 points in the third quarter to open an 11-point lead.

A 10-0 run in the fourth quarter put the Tar Heels (12-12, 2-7) away.

“I thought in the third quarter, we started to attack in transition, we started to get to the free throw line, we had a few and-ones, and then we worked inside out,” Walz said. “For us, unfortunately, we’ve got to figure out a way to change it. We become a pretty good defensive team when we score, but when we don’t score, our effort is poor. We hang our head, and we get upset because we miss a shot. It’s hard to be an elite program if you can’t get past the fact that not every shot is going to go in.”

The Cards got a game-high 22 points from Mariya Moore, and 21 off the bench from Asia Durr. Myisha Hines-Allen added 19 points and 10 rebounds. The Cards shot just 31.7 percent in the game but shot 63.2 percent in the second half. They pounded North Carolina on the offensive glass, outscoring the Tar Heels 17-4 on second-chance points.

Still, Walz can’t help but be concerned about his team, which has handled some lesser competition in recent games but faces a big challenge when No. 3-ranked Notre Dame (20-1) visits the KFC Yum! Center at 2 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday. 

“I hope we didn’t look past them,” Walz said of North Carolina. “When you start the year 1-4, I would hope that we would know that as fast as we’ve gotten to where we’ve won 15 straight, we did look pretty poor starting off the year. I’m hoping we’re not getting full of ourselves because when we go hard and play hard and execute, we’re pretty talented. But if we just show up and think we can win, it’s normally not a pretty day.”

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