Louisville, KY -- The Louisville Cardinals opened the 2016-2017 season with a huge win over Lindsey Wilson. While the game was only an exhibition, Louisville showed their growth as a team.
The Cardinals outscored the Blue Raiders, 97-50. Louisville dominated every facet of the game.
Despite the game being lopsided, here are a few takeaways:
Asia Durr is Playing at 100%.
In her freshman year, Asia Durr suffered from a nagging injury that plagued her throughout the season. Durr is now healed and according to Coach Walz, playing at 100%.
In her first outing, Durr put up 19 points, hitting 70% of her shots. In the first period alone, Durr went 4-of-4 from beyond the arc and grabbed one layup to tally 14 points.
Defensively, Durr grabbed three steals and five defensive boards.
"Last year I played through a lot of pain, and it feels so good to be pain-free now," Asia said.
Coach Walz added, "I'm really excited for her. I still don't think 10 shots is enough for her, so that's one thing she's going to have to figure out a way to get more shots up.”
The Cardinals have Height.
Coach Walz said the Cardinals have a post presence that they have not had in recent years. With freshmen McDonald's All-American's, Kylee Shook and Ciera Johnson topping out at 6'4, the Cardinals are able to get aggressive in the post.
Last season, the Cardinals relied heavily on Cortnee Walton and Myisha Hines-Allen to attack the boards. Now, Louisville has four more players to add to the mix: sophomore Sam Fuehring, and freshmen Bionca Dunham, Johnson and Shook.
In the exhibition against Lindsey Wilson, Fuehring and Dunham pulled down 10 rebounds apiece. Dunham dominated on defense getting a team-high four blocks.
Hines-Allen joked that Dunham and Fuehring have taken the pressure off of her by attacking the boards.
"The defenders are going to be worried about them once they see the numbers and they are able to get." She added, "So they need to start worrying about that, and I'll just clean it up. Just to see them out there rebounding like that is amazing."
The Cardinals are Stacked.
Louisville had 12 players see the floor in Sunday's exhibition. That does not include junior guard Arica Carter, fifth-year senior Cortnee Walton and freshman McDonald's All-American Shook, who did not dress for the outing.
"I'm really pleased with the depth that we have," Walz told the media. "We're going to be able to run some bodies, hit some people. And the great thing about it is if one of them doesn't feel like coming to play hard I don't have to play them."
The Cardinals had four players grab double-digit points. Asia Durr paced Louisville putting up 19 points. Durr connected on a team-best five three-pointers. Durr also pulled down five defensive rebounds and grabbed three steals.
Myisha Hines-Allen and freshman Jazmine Jones put up 15 points a piece. Hines-Allen connected on 60% of her shots going 6-of-10 from the field. While Jones connected on 7-of-8 from the field. Rounding out the top scorers is another freshman, Ciera Johnson. Johnson hit 70% of her shots tallying 14 points.
Overall, Louisville's bench contributed 39 points.
The Cardinals have Elite Potential.
Despite going 13-of-26 from the charity stripe and turning the ball over 15 times, stats that Coach Walz was less than pleased about, the Cardinals have the potential to be an elite team this season.
"We're trying to challenge this group of young women to be elite," Coach Walz said. "Let's get this program to where we're on an elite level and in order to do that; you have to be able to do the little things right the entire game."
The Cardinals have high expectations for this season. And they are fully prepared to embrace those expectations. If the Cardinals can continue to improve, there's no ceiling to their greatness.
The Cardinals officially kick off the season on Friday as they head to Tennessee to face UT-Martin.