Louisville, KY — The No. 8 Louisville Cardinals overcame a double-digit deficit to defeat No. 25 Syracuse Orange, 91-76.
In typical ACC fashion, this matchup was nothing short of dramatic. The Cardinals, down 12 at one point in the first period, fought back to a 15-point victory. Mariya Moore notched her first career triple-double with 11 points, 11 boards, and 10-assists, while Myisha Hines-Allen picked up her 5th double-double on the season.
But, it was Asia Durr who stole the show. Durr posted a career-high 36 points, 34 of which came in the second half.
“The first half, I was ready to give the money back to our fans for our effort that we gave, which was less than desirable.” Louisville head coach Jeff Walz said in his post game interview. “We came out flat, we did not look excited.”
Louisville started out cold, shooting only 22-percent in the first period. The Cardinals struggled with the smothering Syracuse defense. Louisville committed 7-turnovers, allowing the Orange to convert the turnovers into 7-points.
Syracuse connected on 4 three-pointers in the first period to take an easy 22-10 lead. The Orange connected on 7-of-17 from the field.
The Cardinals found their game in the second period, outscoring the Orange, 23-18.
Myisha Hines-Allen struck first in the second period connecting on a jump-shot. A foul committed by Bria Day (55) sent Mariya Moore to the charity strip to hit two and cut the Syracuse lead to 8. However, Gabby Cooper countered with a three-pointer.
Syracuse surged to another big lead, 30-18, but Sydney Zambrotta sparked the Cardinals connecting on a trey, while Moore drove to the bucket for a layup.
Brittney Sykes, a 51-percent three-point shooter, knocked down her second three of the game to put the Orange back up by 10.
By the end of the half, the Cardinals had cut into the Orange’s lead, making it a 7-point contest heading into the locker room.
At the end of the first half, Alexis Peterson led all scorers with 16-points, while Cooper and Sykes added 8-points apiece.
For the Cardinals, Moore led with 9-points, followed by Myisha Hines-Allen with 8-points.
“I just talked to them at the half about energy. It’s an embarrassment. You have to come out and compete for 40-minutes,” Coach Walz said. “We came out, we finally defended. We did what we were supposed to do and all of a sudden, we rebound the ball, rebound turns into transition baskets and things started to go.”
In a tale of two halves, Louisville came out in the third period on fire. The Cardinals scored a season-high 36 points on 72.2% shooting from the field. Asia Durr’s hot hand contributed 18-points, while Sam Fuehring added 10-points.
Louisville went on a 12-0 run to start the third period. Hines-Allen struck first on back-to-back scoring to cut Syracuse’s lead to 3 and forcing a Syracuse timeout with 9-minutes remaining in the period.
A foul sent Durr to the charity stripe to add two more points, 40-39 Syracuse. A layup by Hines-Allen put the Cardinals ahead for the first time and a dead ball technical attributed to Sykes sent Durr back to the charity stripe to put Louisville up, 42-40.
It was clear Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman was unhappy about the call as he ripped his jacket off on the sidelines and protested to the referees.
Durr added 3 more points before Briana Day (50) broke the Syracuse scoring drought.
Midway through the third period, the Cardinals took a 12-point lead. But, Sykes drove to the bucket for a layup to bring Syracuse within 10. However, still upset from the technical on Sykes, Coach Hillsman was assessed a technical foul, sending Durr back to the line to put the Cardinals up, 55-44.
Durr struck on her third three-pointer of the period, while Fuehring converted back-to-back three-point plays to send Louisville on a 16-2 run and a 20-point lead.
In typical Syracuse fashion, the Orange fought back cutting the Louisville lead to 10 heading into the final period.
Back-to-back scoring from Peterson brought the Orange within 5. But scoring from Moore and a triple from Durr put Louisville back up by 10.
Durr could not be stopped in the final period, going an 8-0 run herself to put the Cardinals up, 84-69.
Despite holding a 12-point lead in the first period, the Orange could not hold on. The Cardinals defeated Syracuse, 91-76, to open ACC play as 1-0.
Department of Defense
The Syracuse Orange rank 6th nationally in offensive rebounds averaging 18 per game. However, the Cardinals limited the Orange on the offensive boards, allowing Syracuse only to grab a season-low 7 offensive boards.
The Cardinals had four players post double-figures: Asia Durr paced the Cardinals with a career-high 36-points. Durr connected on a game-high 7 three-pointers, while pulling down 5-rebounds. Myisha Hines-Allen picked up her 5th double-double on the season with 18-points and 10-rebounds. Hines-Allen connected on 8-of-12 from the field. Mariya Moore earned her first career triple-double. Moore racked up 11-points, 11-boards and 10-assists. Moore becomes just the 7th Cardinals to notch a triple-double. Finally, Sam Fuehring tallied 10-points, going 4-of-4 from the field.
For Syracuse, Alexis Peterson led the way on 50-percent shooting. Peterson put up 31-points and dished out 8-assists. Brittney Sykes notched her 10th career double-double with 20-points and 10-rebounds. Freshman Gabby Cooper rounds out the top scorers for Syracuse. Cooper tallied 11-points, including three triples.
The Cardinals hit the road to face the No. 15/17 Duke Blue Devils on January 2nd.