LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The words that have kept being used around this University of Louisville women’s basketball team are these: “If” and “special.”
If coach Jeff Walz could get four complete quarters from his team, then it could be special.
If Asia Durr and Myisha Hines-Allen both had potential-reaching types of games, then it could be special.
If players currently in role-playing situations, like Jazmine Jones, could begin to emerge and play with confidence, then they could be special.
If point guard Arica Carter could combine her floor game with great spot-shooting from the perimeter, then they could be special.
On Thursday night, on ESPN, against the nation’s No. 2 team in front of a crowd of 12,614 at the KFC Yum! Center, all those things happened.
And it was really special. The Cardinals completely dominated a depleted Notre Dame team, 100-67, in front of the most raucous and electric crowd of this basketball season in the downtown arena. Louisville improved to 19-0, improving on the best start and longest winning streak in school history.
“I want to thank every, single one of you all,” Walz told the crowd after the game. “If every home game we play the rest of the season isn’t like this, I don’t know what to tell you. Because we’ve got a special group of young women.”
Asia Durr got off to her usual, with three early three-pointers to force Notre Dame coach Muffett McGraw to call timeout down 17-9 just four minutes into the game.
It didn’t help. Louisville shot 73.7 percent in the first quarter, and led 33-16. They cooled off to 69.2 percent in the second quarter, 9-13 from the field, and led 56-28 at half. Durr (20 points) and Hines-Allen (19) had 11 more points together than Notre Dame’s entire team.
But the biggest developments for Louisville, in fact, were elsewhere. They were in Jazmine Jones going 4-5 from the field in the first half and scoring 9 points to go with 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Her athleticism makes her a near-impossible matchup, and when she is a multi-threat player like that, there’s little that most opposing defenses can do. She finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
Sam Fuehring, the team’s No. 3 scorer, instead became its No. 1 facilitator. She dished out five first-half assists on her way to 6 for the game, to go with 10 points.
This was not a game where Walz was going to use his depth. Kylee Shook spelled Hines-Allen when needed. Dana Evans gave Carter a break once in a while. But when he was…