East Lansing, MI - - A week after the Cardinals dropped out of the rankings, the team upset No. 19/20 Michigan State.
On Tuesday evening, Coach Jeff Walz told fans he was going back to square one. Whatever he did, it worked. The Cardinals looked like a complete team for the first time this season. Louisville found their swagger in East Lansing.
The Cardinals set the precedent on their first possession. Sophomore Mariya Moore connected on a three. After the ball left Mariya Moore's fingertips, the Spartans would not see the lead.
In the first period, the Cardinals surged past Michigan State, connecting on six of nine three-point shots in the first seven minutes.
Michigan State sophomore Morgan Green, hit a three to tie the game with 3:45 left in the first. But junior, Briahanna Jackson's back to back threes sparked a Louisville 8-0 run. Michigan State's, Akyah Taylor tried to stop the run with a layup. The ball landed in star-studded freshman, Asia Durr's hands and the rest is history. Durr hit back to back threes, putting the Cardinals up by nine, 23-14, at the end of the first period.
Louisville's dominance continued in the second period. Freshman Erin DeGrate, had four quick points on two layups. The Cardinals went on another huge run, outscoring the tired Spartans, 10-2. Sophomore guard, Morgan Green, ended the drought for the Spartans. However, the Spartans could not bounce back. At the half the Cardinals led, 45-32.
Louisville's confidence could not be shaken. The Cardinals shot a blistering 61% in the first half, holding Michigan State to an uncharacteristic 43%. The Spartans had 12 turnovers going into the half. More astounding, the Cardinals held junior Tori Jankoska--who averages 22 points per game-- scoreless.
Jackson and Durr were instrumental for the Cardinals. The duets fearless attitude and ability to attack the rim were key.
For Michigan State, it was redshirt sophomore, Branndais Agee, who carried the Spartans. Agee put up a team high, 10 points in the first half. Morgan Green was close behind with eight points.
Redshirt junior, Cortnee Walton, was huge for the Cardinals. Walton struck first for Louisville in the third period. Walton, who averages single digit points, put up 10 points, four coming in the shaky third period.
The Cardinals were up 51-34 when the momentum started to shift. Michigan State held Louisville scoreless for nearly two minutes, while the Spartans went on a 7-1 run. The Cardinals struggled with ticky tack fouls, allowing the Spartans to capitalize at the free throw line. Michigan State ended the third period on a 9-0 run fueled by Jankoska's first points at the 1:46 mark. The Spartans cut the lead to seven.
The Cardinals showed signs of youth entering the fourth period, allowing Michigan State to extend their run, 17-2. Michigan State's Agee brought the Spartans within one point.
Senior Jasmine Hines, had the opportunity to push the Spartans ahead, but missed on a small bunny shot. Sophomore Cardinal, Arica Carter, capitalized on Hines' missed shot, shooting two to put the Cardinals up three. Asia Durr extended the Louisville lead with a three point shot.
In a hard fought fourth period, the Cardinals went on a 15-4 run to close out the game.
The Cardinals showed immense improvement. Louisville finished the game with five players in double digits, including a season high 10 points for Cortnee Walton.