LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The No. 8-ranked University of Louisville women's basketball team beat Boise State 98-82 on Sunday for its 100th consecutive win over an unranked opponent.
A look at that score would suggest that it was another lazy Sunday at the KFC Yum! Center. But look a little closer. It's hard to believe any of those other 100 victims could have played much better offense than Boise State. Generally, when you shoot 61% from the field, play a pace that allows you to make 35 field goals and score 82 points on the road, you're celebrating in the locker room after the game. Instead, Boise coach Gordy Presnell was left shaking his head.
"We gave up too many zero footers," he said afterward.
A few weeks ago, that might not have been a problem. But Louisville coach Jeff Walz said that his team's biggest improvement over the past two weeks has been post play. He said the Cardinals went a combined 6 for 20 in the post in a victory a couple of Sundays back. Against Boise State, post players Kylee Shook, Bionca Dunham and Elizabeth Dixon combined for 35 points on 15-of-21 shooting.
"Our post play, plain and simple, it's pretty obvious we've improved," Walz said after the game. "We're finishing around the basket. We've been working really hard on simple Mikan drills, just to try to concentrate on our hands and our finishing. I thought Kylee was more aggressive. I thought Elizabeth took her time and finished around the basket in finishing with her left and right hand. . . . It's just going to take some time. Right now we have a 10-player rotation, and four of them are new."
While it wasn't having much luck defensively, Louisville was doing whatever it wanted on offense. The Cards grabbed an 11-point lead five minutes into the game and, despite Boise State's sharpshooting, never let the game back into single digits. They led by 26 early in the fourth quarter when Walz took his foot off the gas and went to his reserves. He came back with his starters with 2:26 left and the lead down to 14.
Asked, why, Walz said, "They were coming back and making a game out of it. We had good players on the court, but they weren't getting the job done defensively and, offensively, we were stagnant. You don't want to wait until they get it back under 10, and then it's too late. So, I like to win. That's job No. 1."
That is no secret.
Louisville got 22 points from Jazmine Jones and 20 points and 8 assists from Dana Evans. Freshman Norika Konno had 7 points and six assists off the bench. The Cards had only 10 turnovers in the game and outscored Boise State 2-10 off turnovers.
"Boise State is a good basketball team. They score the ball well," Walz said. "Their point guard is big time. She had 14 assists tonight and sees the floor great. So they're going to win a lot of basketball games, and it says a lot about our program to even play them, because a lot of people won't. ... But you all know me well enough to know, whatever the outcome is, I'm not going to be happy with anybody shooting that kind of percentage against us. ... They're as good as anybody at the country at getting the ball out of the net and getting back upcourt. They want to get it up and down. ... But that was our best offensive performance of the season. We only turned it over 10 times, and, if we can continue to do that, we're in business."
The Cards won't be back in business at home until Dec. 29. They'll embark on a seven-game road swing this week that includes a game against No. 1 Oregon in the Virgin Islands and a visit to No. 13 Kentucky next month.
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