CRAWFORD | Five takeaways from the Louisville women's win at Pittsburgh
The Louisville women's basketball team runs away with an 18-0 spurt to start the fourth quarter. Eric Crawford looks at the Cardinals' win at Pittsburgh.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – At first glance, the University of Louisville women’s basketball team’s 77-51 win at Pittsburgh looks like just another blowout. Actually, it looks like that on a second glance – at the game statistics – too.
But this was a close game for three quarters. Louisville led by four at halftime and by 10 after three quarters. It then proceeded to open the fourth quarter with an 18-0 burst over a span of just 4:15 and the game was over.
“Louisville is a team that wears you down during the course of the game, but our players fought and competed so hard for three quarters and I think that they just wore us down by the fourth,” Pittsburgh coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. “. . . They are deep, can score in many different ways, and are just relentless with their pressure. Louisville disrupts everything you do and picks and chooses when they want to.”
Louisville dominated the glass (36-26) and shot 49.2 percent from the field. But there are some other interesting items from the way this one played out. Let’s run them down:
1). A BENCH PRODUCTION. The 18-0 run to start the fourth was largely courtesy of the Louisville bench. The quarter began with three straight baskets by Bionca Dunham, a Philadelphia native back playing in her home state.
After a Myisha Hines-Allen putback, Dana Evans hit back to back threes. She had assisted on Dunham’s first two scores in the quarter, and benefitted from Arica Carter passes on her three-pointers. From there, it was another layup from Dunham and a three-pointer from Carter.
For the game, Louisville’s edge in bench points was 28-11. Dunham finished with 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting, raising her season field-goal percentage to 66.1. Evans had 8 points and 7 assists in 19 minutes. Sydney Zambrotta hit a couple of three-pointers.
2). HELPING HANDS. Louisville made 29 shots in the game. It dished out 24 assists. It helps when point guards Carter and Evans have seven each. But Asia Durr and Hines-Allen added four each.
It means the Cardinals are running good offense. It’s their second straight game with at least 24 assists and their eighth of the season with at least 20.
3). ASIA DURR DOWN (A BIT). This wasn’t a classic blowout in the sense that it didn’t come via a splendid scoring night from the Cardinals’ top player. Durr finished with just nine points, but didn’t force a ton of shots. She finished 4 of 10 from the field, and all of her misses were from three-point range, where she went 1-5.
She also got into the sharing spirit, with four assists, something Walz has been urging her to do, along with improving her rebounding.
4). STEADY STARTERS. Walz recently said Myisha Hines-Allen can get double-doubles just by waking up in the morning. He wants more. On Thursday, she got a career-high 18 rebounds to go with a team-high 13 points. Carter pitched in with 12 points on 4 of 7 shooting to go with her passing, and Sam Fuehring finished with 12 points on 4-6 shooting.
Bottom line: Louisville doesn’t necessarily need Durr going for 36 every night, as fun as that is to watch.
5). SEEDS AND SUCH. The NCAA announced on Thursday that if the women’s basketball season ended today, the top four seeds would be Connecticut, Mississippi State, Louisville and Oregon, in that order, making Louisville the No. 3 overall seed and headed for the Lexington Regional.
It establishes Louisville as a No. 1 seed, but shows the Cards still have some rungs to climb on the ladder. A win over No. 11-ranked Florida State back in the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday would help that.
Louisville's five-point halftime lead was the first time anyone has been within single digits of it at the half since Vanderbilt managed it on Dec. 7.
The Cards have won 20 in a row now to open the season. But how far they eventually go might well depend on the development of players like Evans, Zambrotta, Shook and Dunham. At Pittsburgh on Thursday, the bench got some valuable minutes, and made a noteworthy contribution.
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