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NCAAW Recap: Dana Evans’ masterful command of the Louisville offense too much for Duke to handle

It was the Dana Evans show from start to finish in the No. 2 Louisville Cardinals’ 73-49 dismantling of the Duke Blue Devils in Durham, NC, spoiling Kara Lawson’s first game against a ranked opponent as a collegiate head coach.

Dana Evans masterfully dismantled Duke on Wednesday in Kara Lawson’s first matchup against a ranked opponent as a collegiate head coach.
Photo courtesy of Louisville Women’s Basketball via Twitter

Dana Evans embodied senior point guard leadership in the No. 2 Louisville Cardinals’ 73-49 dismantling of the Duke Blue Devils on Wednesday, spoiling Kara Lawson’s first game against a ranked opponent as a collegiate head coach.

Evans scored a game-high 24 points and recorded three steals, two assists and one rebound.

Highlights: Dana (Evans) does it all

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Her masterful execution of the Louisville offense began at the opening tip and helped the Cardinals to 35 points at the half, 13 of which where scored by Evans herself on 50 percent shooting from the field. She also recorded three steals through two quarters — helping to hold the Blue Devils to 22 points on 30.6-percent shooting from the field (and a striking 0 percent shooting from the beyond on the arc on 11 attempts) at the break.

As a team, the Cards shot 44.8 percent from the field, 71.4 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the free-throw line.

The Blue Devils did not get to the charity stripe in the first half.

Duke got going in the second half, shooting 40 percent from the field, improving to 20 percent shooting from beyond the arc, getting to the free-throw line and completing 57.1 percent of its free-throw attempts. The Blue Devils even managed a 14-14 third-quarter tie because Evans had cooled to 40-percent shooting from the field and, as a team, the Cards dropped to 22.2-percent shooting from 3-point range on 2-of-9 attempts.

Yet, the Cards harnessed their experience and depth to execute a fourth quarter in the image of their first two.

Louisville was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line in the second half and secured a 24-13 advantage in the fourth quarter, with significant contributions from freshman guard Hailey Van Lith, who scored 11 points combined in the third and fourth quarters and 14 points for the game. Van Lith also recorded four rebounds, three assists and one steal.

Other double-digit scoring contributions came from Kianna Smith (15 points), a redshirt junior guard, and freshman forward Olivia Cochran (11 points), who also hustled for 12 rebounds — six on the offensive side and six on the defensive side — in just 19 minutes of playing time.

Smith also recorded three rebounds and two steals.

Jade Williams, a 6-foot-5 forward/center, recorded nine rebounds and three blocks in Duke’s losing effort, and her team-high 13 points — with freshman guard Vanessa de Jesus (11 points) being the only other Blue Devils to score in double figures — underscore the difficulties with which Lawson’s team had generating offense. Duke forced Louisville into 12 turnovers but converted them into just four points. The Cards, meanwhile, transformed the Blue Devil’s 18 turnovers into 23 points.

Both teams play next on Sunday, Dec. 13

  • 3 p.m. ET | Duke visits Miami Hurricanes (ACCNX)
  • 4 p.m. ET | Louisville hosts North Carolina Tar Heels (ACCN)