Louisville has offensive weapons to be a dangerous team, but it’s the Cardinals’ defense that is suffocating teams. 

Louisville (12-5, 4-0 ACC) held its opponent to less than 40 percent shooting for the third-consecutive game and rolled to a 65-48 upset victory over No. 18/16 Duke on Sunday afternoon. 

The Cardinals, who now have won nine-consecutive games, limited Duke (12-5, 1-2) to just eight points in the first period and a season-low 17 at the half. Louisville’s aggressive-style defense forced Duke into 22 turnovers, which the Cardinals converted into 27 points. 

“You know, we just really did a great job of making our presence known,” head coach Jeff Walz said. “Cortnee Walton is about as good of a rebounder as I have ever coached. The kid’s just got a motor and a knack for the ball, and I thought Erin DeGrate came in and did a great job also. So, you know, we still have to continue to work. We have to get better, and then hopefully, it will keep working for us, and hopefully our freshmen will continue to improve.” 

Mariya Moore and Asia Durr carried the offense, producing 15 points apiece. Myisha Hines-Allen added 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists in the victory. 

One of the Cardinals’ concerns heading into the contest was facing a Duke team that paraded four starters taller than 6-feet onto the court and led the conference in rebounding margin at plus-10.5. 

Cortnee Walton and Erin DeGrate alleviated those fears, combining for 21 rebounds and giving the Cardinals a 42-36 edge on the glass. Walton finished with 12 rebounds, eight on the offensive end, and improved her conference-leading offensive rebounding average to 4.5. DeGrate totaled six of her nine boards on offense. 

Rebecca Greenwell had 14 points and Azurá Stevens had 12 with 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who only led at 2-0 in their first game at Louisville. It was their lowest scoring game of the season. 

Louisville, which evened the series at two games apiece, had an 8-0 run in the first quarter and another in the second that turned into a 14-2 surge to produce a 31-17 lead at the half. After an even third quarter, the lead ballooned to 61-36 after a three-point play by Hines-Allen with4:48 to play. 

Duke made its last six shots to finish at 39 percent for the game (18 of 46), but only made 9 of 19 free throws. 

Louisville begins a stretch of playing three games on the road, starting Thursday at Virginia. Tip at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va., is set for 7 p.m.

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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of TheCrunchZone.com

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