Louisville, KY -- Asia Durr and the Louisville Cardinals knocked out the 13 seeded Chattanooga Moc’s, 82-62, to advance to the round of 32.
“We knew it was going to be a tough ball game throughout,” Louisville head coach Jeff Walz said. “We were able to pull away there towards the end. But it was never a game that I felt real comfortable especially the way they shoot the three.”
Despite a 20 point victory, the game was certainly not a cake walk for the Louisville Cardinals.
The Cardinals struggled in the first period, turning the ball over four times early. Chattanooga took advantage of Louisville’s struggles taking an 8-5 lead. Keiana Gilbert was responsible for five of the Moc’s early eight points.
The Cardinals fired back with fury, sprinting out to pick up 15 unanswered points. Louisville held Chattanooga scoreless for nearly 5:00.
Jasmine Jones racked up six of Louisville’s 15 unanswered points, while Myisha Hines-Allen added four. Louisville ran ahead, 20-8.
But, back-to-back triples from Queen Alford ended Chattanooga’s scoring woes and put the Moc’s back in contention. At the end of the first period, Louisville held a 20-14 advantage.
The Cardinals continued their dominance in the second period. Hines-Allen struck first scoring on back-to-back possessions. But the real excitement came when senior Briahanna Jackson entered the game with 9:02 remaining in the half. Jackson was suffering from back spasms and had not played since the Cardinals faced the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in early February.
Jackson’s presence added a level of intensity to Louisville’s offense that it has not seen in a few months. The Cardinals outscored the Moc’s, 20-14 in the second period.
Louisville was led by Durr, who put up 11 of the Cardinals’ 20 points. Durr connected on three triples.
At the half, the Cardinals held a 10 point lead, 40-30.
Louisville was led by Durr, who racked up 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field. Hines-Allen added 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go along with 8 boards, 3 assists and 1 steal.
The Cardinals shot 61% in the first half. The key to Louisville’s success in the first half was assists. The Cardinals dished out 15 assists on 17 made field goals.
Louisville dominated the paint, outscoring Chattanooga, 20-8. The Cardinals also held an 18-16 advantage on the boards.
For Chattanooga, Alford and Lakelyn Bouldin led the way behind 9 points apiece.
Out of the half, Louisville picked up three early fouls, putting the ball back in Chattanooga’s hands to close the gap.
The Moc’s were able to keep the Cardinals within arms length, not letting Louisville get more than 10 points ahead and at times, cutting the Cardinals’ lead to eight points.
The Moc’s knocked down four triples in the third period and outscored Louisville, 19-18.
Chattanooga tried to close the gap, but the Moc’s came up short, 58-49.
On Louisville’s ability to maintain its lead, Jasmine Joyner said, “They are just more athletic, quick and just a very good team.”
Chattanooga became unhinged in the fourth period, committing several turnovers and allowing Louisville to capitalize.
Louisville kicked off the final period with 9 unanswered points behind Hines-Allen’s four on back-to-back possessions.
Durr was the catalyst for the Cardinals racking up 9 of her 27 points in the final period. Louisville connected on 10-of-17 from the field, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Behind Louisville’s 59% shooting, the Cardinals were able to outscore the Moc’s, 24-13.
Despite Chattanooga’s third period momentum shift, the Cardinals were able to wrap up the game. Louisville knocked out Chattanooga, 82-62, to advance to the round of 32.
For senior Queen Alford, this first round exit was heartbreaking. “It’s very difficult because it’s like you’re almost there, but you’re never there. Every time we go through this, it breaks my heart. But every time, I try to take every positive thing that I can that can make me a better person and better player.”
Chattanooga head coach Jim Foster’s opening statement was short, but straight to the point. “Tough game.”
Louisville’s offensive dominance was the key to the Cardinals’ victory. Louisville finished the game shooting 61% from the field and 58% from beyond the arc. The Cardinals’ dished out an impressive 28 assists on 36 made field goals. Louisville also controlled the paint, outscoring Chattanooga, 46-16.
“We passed the ball well and we made open shots. It’s no secret,” Coach Jeff Walz said. “We found each other open for wide open looks and we finished them and that’s what you have to do. If you want to continue and advance, you’ve got to be able to make open shots.”
Louisville had four players grab double-figures: Asia Durr paced the Cardinals with 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including five triples. Myisha Hines-Allen tallied 16 points and 12 boards for her 16th double-double on the season. Jazmine Jones put up 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting, while Kylee Shook added 10 points and 4 rebounds.
For Chattanooga, four players notched double-digits: The Moc’s were led by Lakelyn Bouldin who put up 16 points and Queen Alford who added 15 points. Chelsey Shumpert tallied 13 points and 6 assists. While Jasmine Joyner racked up 11 points and 7 rebounds.
The Louisville Cardinals will face the winner of the Dayton Flyers and Tennessee Volunteers on Monday.