Jan. 3, 2012
Box Score |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Despite losing two players to season-ending injuries already, No. 14 Louisville remains on a hot streak.
"The one thing about our team right now - everyone's getting the chance to play," said coach Jeff Walz. "Then it's a matter of what are you going to do with your time?"
Freshman Bria Smith made the most of her 31 minutes on Tuesday night, scoring 14 of her 16 points in the second half as Louisville (13-2, 2-0 Big East) ran away from Marquette for a 70-53 win at the KFC Yum! Center.
The win was the Cardinals' sixth in a row after a Dec. 4 loss to Kentucky and simultaneously snapped a four-game Marquette (9-6, 0-2) streak as conference play resumed for both teams.
Shoni Schimmel led Louisville with 17 points, scoring 10 of the Cardinals' first 20 as they started a lowly 3 of 13 from the field. Becky Burke then stepped up, tallying eight Louisville points in the last 4:14 of the first half to give the Cardinals the lead for good.
"We just play, and whoever's open is going to score," Schimmel said. "Whatever works."
That's how Louisville operates, having lost guard Tia Gibbs (shoulder) and forward Monique Reid (knee) to season-ending injuries. Walz starts just one senior - Burke - and on Tuesday played all but one of his 11 available players.
The Cardinals' remaining depth showed as they closed the last five minutes on a 16-6 run, with the final score representing Louisville's largest lead of the game.
Burke finished with 13 points, and Cierra Warren added 10 as four Cardinals finished in double figures.
But Schimmel said the key to scoring came at the other end of the court. Katherine Plouffe, Marquette's leading scorer coming into the game, was held to two points and riddled with foul trouble in her 25 minutes on the court.
"She was the main key to their team, I think," Schimmel said. "(It was) just coming out here and knowing the scouting report and knowing how to play her."
Marquette cut the Louisville lead to as few as six points with 16 minutes left and had it at seven points before Walz called a timeout with 5:29 to go.
The Cardinals then engaged their press, allowing just three Golden Eagles shot attempts over the last five minutes.
"I just felt like the defense picked up, and with the defense comes offense," Smith said.
On the other end, Marquette coach Terri Mitchell saw Louisville score point after point with the shot clock winding down.
"You could see it just broke our spirit toward the end," Mitchell said.
Sarina Simmons returned from a first-half collision with Louisville's Asia Taylor to lead the Golden Eagles with 17 points, and Gabi Minix joined her in double figures with 11.
Marquette is winless against ranked teams this season in three tries.