Louisville improves to 8-3 in the series with Xavier, winning for the seventh time in the past eight meetings. UofL has won the last three home games in the series and is 4-1 all-time versus XU in Louisville.
The Cardinals up their all-time record in home openers to 31-6, including a 13-1 record over the last 14 years and a 24-2 mark over the last 26.
Louisville is 24-0 against unranked opponents in home openers since the 1986-87 season. The Cards' only losses since then have come to #20/21 Arkansas (69-57) on Dec. 4, 1997, and to #4/4 Tennessee (63-50) last year.
After Xavier took a 4-0 advantage in the first 90 seconds of the game, Louisville scored the next 11 points to take an 11-4 lead. The point-free stretch for the Musketeers covered 9:44, five seconds short of tying the arena record for longest opponent scoring drought. The record streak came against Cincinnati last year, when the Cards held the Bearcats off the scoreboard for a span of 9:49 in an 83-47 win on Jan. 22.
Longest opponent scoring droughts, KFC Yum! Center history
1. 9:49 (18-0) - Cincinnati, 1.22.11 (11:06 to 1:17, 1st)
2. 9:48 (17-0) - Rutgers, 1.29.11 (11:21 to 1:33, 2nd) 3. 9:44 (11-0) - Xavier, 11.20.11 (18:30 to 8:46, 1st)
The first half has been a proverbial nightmare for opponents in the KFC Yum! Center and was again on Sunday. Xavier managed just 12 points in the period, lowering the all-time first-half scoring average for Louisville opponents in the arena to 21.9. The last 15 opponents to visit the venue have all scored 27 points or fewer in the first stanza.
The 12 points tie for the fewest for a Cardinal opponent in the first half in school history (Coastal Carolina also scored just 12 on Dec. 18, 1996). The only team to score fewer in any half was Houston Baptist last season (eight in the second half of a 100-34 win).
Louisville held XU to 5-for-28 (.179) shooting in the period, including 1-for-14 from downtown. The Musketeers had 11 turnovers and just two assists in the first 20 minutes.
UofL has held its 16 KFC Yum! Center opponents to an average of just 53.4 points per game. The last four have averaged 48.8, each scoring 55 or less (47 for West Virginia, 55 for DePaul, 49 for Seton Hall, and 44 for Xavier).
Louisville won its seventh straight game at home against non-conference opponents, last losing to Tennessee in the season-opener last year.
Xavier has only lost three games by 15+ points in the last five seasons, and two have come at the hands of Louisville (also a 67-45 win on Dec. 9, 2007). The Muskies' only other such loss since 2007-08 came last year at Stanford (87-52).
The 44 points were the fewest for Xavier since squeaking out a 42-41 win at St. Joseph's on Jan. 28, 2009, and fewest in a loss since Feb. 14, 2008 (44-43 at Dayton).
Xavier's final shooting percentage of .232 (13-for-56) was the lowest for a Cardinal opponent since Dec. 28, 2008, when Morehead State made just 12 of its 63 shots (.190) in a 66-38 defeat.
XU also hit on just four of 23 threes in the game, lowering the three-point percentage of UofL's opponents this season to just .202 (18-for-89).
Louisville's field-goal percentage of .333 (19-for-57), on the other hand, was its lowest in a victory since Jan. 26, 2010, when the Cards shot 31.4 percent (16-for-50) in a 53-50 Freedom Hall win over Villanova.
Head coach Jeff Walz earned his 99th career victory in his 146th career game. A win over Austin Peay on Tuesday afternoon would make Walz the third Louisville women's basketball coach with 100 wins, joining Bud Childers (152-88 from 1989-97) and Peggy Fiehrer (120-139 from 1980-89).
Louisville notched at least five steals as a team for the 48th consecutive game. Feb. 7, 2010, was the last date on which UofL had fewer than a handful of thefts (two against eventual national champion UConn).
Freshman Bria Smith recorded four steals - all in the first half - in the game, already the third four-steal game of her career. She has 16 steals through four games, placing her in the company of some of Louisville's all-time greatest steal artists in terms of thieving at the beginning of a year. In Cardinal history, only Angel McCoughtry and Sara Nord have registered more thefts in the first four games of the season, both getting 18 in their senior years.
Smith's 16 steals are a school record for steals over the first four games of a career.
Senior Becky Burke hit all four of her free throws in the game, giving her 34 makes in her last 35 tries (.971) from the charity stripe dating back to last season. Burke is 165-for-193 (.855) from the line for her career, a mark that would go down as the best in school history.
Career free-throw percentage, Louisville history 1. .855 - Becky Burke (2008-Present)
2. .852 - Kristin Mattox (1992-96)
3. .845 - Jill Morton (1996-00)
4. .797 - Sara Nord (2000-04)
5. .787 - Jenny Knight (1996-00)
Burke is a perfect 10-for-10 from the stripe this season.
Five games after going a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown against Xavier in the NCAA Tournament, Burke lit up the Muskies from three again, duplicating the feat to make her 6-for-6 in in her last two games against XU. It marked the fourth time Burke has hit three or more threes in a game without a miss, also going 4-for-4 in the 2009 BIG EAST Tournament against Rutgers and 3-for-3 at IPFW last season.
Redshirt freshman Shawnta' Dyer set career marks with seven points and 10 rebounds in the game. Coupled with rookie Sara Hammond's 13 boards in the opener, it marks the first time in Louisville history two Cardinal freshmen have registered double-digit rebounding efforts within the season's first four games. The Cards have not had two freshman record 10+ rebounds in a game at any point in the season since 2008-09, when Gwen Rucker and current senior Monique Reid each had 11-rebound contests.
Redshirt sophomore Cierra Warren continued the remarkable shooting start to her career in Louisville, finishing the contest 4-for-5 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the line. Through four games, she is connecting at a .700 clip (21-for-30) from the floor and a .929 rate (13-for-14) from the stripe. Warren also collected her fourth consecutive double-digit scoring output (10 points).
Sophomore Sheronne Vails notched her 14th career multi-block game and first this season, finishing with two.