Jan. 11, 2012
Box Score |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Shoni Schimmel scored 16 points and No. 16 Louisville rallied to beat South Florida 63-57 on Wednesday night.
Louisville trailed USF 47-39 with 10:17 to play following a steal by Inga Orekhova that led to Jasmine Wynne's layup. The Cardinals then swung the game with a 15-0 run during the next four minutes, highlighted by two three-point plays and a 25-footer from Schimmel. Shelby Harper's loose ball rebound in the left corner and subsequent drive and layup gave the Cardinals the lead for good at 49-47 with 8:33 to play.
Louisville stretched its lead to 58-49 on a Becky Burke free throw at the 3:50 mark but South Florida clawed back with the chance to tie in the game's final minute. Down 60-57 with 33 seconds left, South Florida missed two chances to tie it, including a 3-pointer by Orekhova. Sheronne Vails' two free throws with 15.7 seconds to play and a Harper rebound on the next possession sealed the game.
"We got the win today because we actually got down and defended people," Schimmel said.
Vails had 14 points on 10-of-11 from the line to go with eight rebounds and four blocks for Louisville (14-3, 3-1 BIG EAST).
"I just had the mindset that I just have to do this for my team so I'll take hits for my team," Vails said. "I'm pretty sure that was the best game I've had (from the line)."
Wynne led USF (9-8, 1-2) with 20 points and Kaneisha Saunders had 18.
Harper, a lightly used 5-foot-4 junior guard, entered the game at the 11:09 mark and never left, sparking Louisville with six points and six rebounds. The points were her first since the Dec. 19 contest at Washington State.
"I've coached for 16 years and I've coached some great players but there aren't many like Shelby," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. "When I say that, she comes to practice every day and never complains."
Harper knew that when she was called upon, she had to bring strong defensive energy to the court.
"I knew we needed to pick up our defense and stop them from scoring," Harper said of her entrance. "I feel like every day we're in practice, defense is what leads us into our offense. If we're having problems on offense I know we need to pick up the defense."
Louisville trailed 33-29 at the break, its first halftime deficit at home this season. Harper's rebound and drive gave the Cardinals their first lead since a 22-20 advantage with 7:48 left in the first half.
"She goes out there and comes up with a huge offense board and just drives in like she's fearless and banks it in," Walz said. "She was a big part defensively for us getting stops that we needed to get.
"She's 5-4 on a good day and she gets six boards in 11 minutes of play. Without her we would have not come out with a win tonight."
Louisville avenged Sunday's 74-62 upset loss at St. John's to extend its home win streak to 10.
The loss was USF's second straight to a ranked opponent after falling to Georgetown Saturday.