LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – It’s been a big week for Louisville All-American Asia Durr, and not just on the basketball court.
On Tuesday she was named the National Player of the Week by ESPNW and a day earlier was projected as the No. 2 pick in the WNBA Draft in a mock draft from the website.
ESPN writer Michelle Voepel said it wasn’t a slam-dunk decision.
“Considering women's basketball in the past few days had a quadruple-double (by Grambling State's Shakyla Hill), a triple-double (Duke's Haley Gorecki) and back-to-back huge games against arch rivals (Cal's Kristine Anigwe), how did we pick the espnW player of the week?” Voepel wrote. “It wasn't easy. But ultimately, Louisville's Asia Durr earned the honor for a performance in a home game she'll never forget.”
Durr went scoreless in the first quarter against UConn, but poured it on with 12 second-quarter points and wound up with a game-high 24 as Louisville beat UConn 78-69.
“What happens when you have a kid like Asia Durr, if you’re not careful, you spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to keep her from getting shots that a lot of other people end up wide open,” Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said of her. “It’s unfortunate, but it happens. And that’s always a dilemma for every coach that’s coaching against a team that has somebody like that. Do you spend all your energy trying to guard one player and leave everybody else and hope that they play their normal game? Or do you just let their best player get 35 or 40 and make sure that the other guys don’t score?”
The great thing about Durr is that she’s fine either way. It was her teammates who kept Louisville in step with Connecticut in the first quarter last Thursday, which was a major key in winning the game. And as Dana Evans and Jazmine Jones have asserted themselves offensively in recent games, her scoring numbers haven’t been as high.
But as in a victory at Clemson on Saturday – when Durr finished with 12 points and 4 assists – she’s finding teammates or drawing attention to create opportunities for them.
“She knows that the better everyone else plays, the better we are as a team,” Louisvile coach Jeff Walz said.
Louisville promoted Durr’s player of the year candidacy before the UConn game by passing out red sleep masks with the phrase “night, night,” on them. It’s a catch phrase Durr often uses when she releases a shot she thinks is going in. Lately, that’s pretty often.
And with her team at 21.1 and her scoring average at 20.8 points per game, her season has been a dream to this point – though her ultimate dream of a national championship lies ahead.
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