LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — For one quarter, the University of Louisville women's basketball team looked as if it might throw a scare into the USA Women's National Team.
Then the Cardinals hit an offensive rut, then Team USA hit everything, and that was that, as the National Team handled Louisville 97-54 in an exhibition game before a Super Bowl Sunday crowd of more than 12,000 in the KFC Yum! Center.
"We were playing well, and then we had about seven minutes in the second quarter when we got stagnant on offense," Louisville coach Jeff Walz told ESPN during an in-game interview. "And I don't know; I told our players, 'I don't like our chances against these players one-on-one. We have to move the ball.'"
Still, it was a positive experience for the Cardinals, who got to watch the national team practice for two days and had plenty of interaction with the elite-level players who will make up the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team.
"It was good, because our players heard their coaches teaching in practice and they heard the same things we teach them," Walz said. "But these women on the national team are so gracious with their time, to share with our players their experiences, and what they do on a day-to-day basis. We're just so indebted to them for their time."
Angel McCoughtry, who led Louisville to the national title game in her final season, returned to Louisville and finished with 11 points.
"Angel was a big part of getting things started for us 13 years ago," Walz said. "And it really is special to have her come back here."
Louisville led 21-17 at the end of the first quarter, then got blitzed in the second, with Team USA outscoring the Cardinals 28-9, making 13 of 18 shots. After Louisville again played fairly even in the third quarter, outscored just 20-18, the fourth was all USA.
The national team outscored Louisville 21-2 to start the quarter, and the lead swelled.
Walz said his team will take some lessons from the game, and he said he was grateful for the fans who came.
"This crowd is amazing," Walz said. "To get more than 12,000 people here on Super Bowl Sunday, and it's not a special event, they appreciate the women's game, and we're getting around 10,000 every night. So it's been great."
Louisville was led by Jazmine Jones with 12 points and Dana Evans with 10. Sylvia Fowles led Team USA with 16 points. Brianna Stewart had 13.
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