If you were looking for someone to receive a game ball from Monday’s 88-66 victory over UT-Martin, you might be hard pressed to settle on a single player. That’s because Louisville (8-5) placed six players in double figures, and had a balanced attack which thoroughly wore out the Skyhawks from UT-Martin (7-6).
The Cards were paced by Myisha Hines-Allen’s 13 points, and a trio of other Cardinals(Cortnee Walton, Briahanna Jackson, and Asia Durr)added 12 a piece. Walton also led all rebounders with 9, including 5 on the offensive glass.
Early on, the game looked as if it may be a runaway with the Cards jumping out to an 18-4 lead in the first quarter. As UT-Martin employed their full court pressure, the Cards were able to get free for 6 layups during the opening run which forced the Skyhawks to abandon the pressure.
If the first quarter belonged to the Cards, the second quarter was more evenly matched with both squads going for 21 points a piece. The frustration for Coach Walz however, was the efficiency in which UT-Martin reached their 21 points. (75% field goal shooting for the quarter.) “We have got to find a way to stop other teams from scoring” was the lament Walz shared with the media in his post game address.
Notably for Louisville, the Cards shot the ball from the free-throw line with remarkable accuracy. (15-16) They dominated the glass, out rebounding UT-Martin 32-21, with 16 of the rebounds coming on the offensive glass.
For the Seahawks, they were paced by Shy Copney’s 15 points and Louisville native DaiJia Ruffin’s 11 points and 7 rebounds. UT-Martin shot 54% for the game from the field, including 6-16 from the free throw line. Coming into the contest, the goal was to keep UT-Martin off of the three point line. “Our goal was to have them shoot more twos than threes because they shoot it so well.” “So there were a few layups I was fine with, because we were not going to help off of shooters on the drive.”
Up next for the Cards, a New Year’s Day tilt with Florida State at 4:00 Friday in the KFC Yum! Center. It is the opening of ACC play for the Cards, and when asked if he thought his team was ready for it, Walz said; “It’s a four o’clock game, so I’ll tell you at six.” Certainly, the Seminoles are a formidable opponent, having beaten last year’s Louisville team twice, once in the ACC tournament, and once in Tallahassee. The Seminoles come into the game on Friday ranked 10th nationally, and sporting a 10-3 record with losses to Florida, Connecticut, and Arizona State. The game will be televised on ESPNU, and Matt Andrews’ call can be heard on WKRD 790 with pre-game starting at roughly 3:30.
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