The Louisville Cardinals are off to its second best start in program history behind 10 consecutive wins. This evening, Louisville proved its championship caliber, defeating the Vanderbilt Commodores, 79-57.
In a post game interview with former Louisville player, Cortnee Walton, Asia Durr said this team, “can be really special.”
She’s not wrong.
The Cardinals started out strong behind a 10-2 lead, but Vanderbilt’s Rachel Bell fired off a triple. Louisville struggled to find an answer for Bell as she racked up 16 of the Commodore’s 24 points in the first period.
Vanderbilt led Louisville, 24-20 going into the second period. The Commodores controlled two main facets of the game: field goal percentage and rebounds. Vanderbilt shot 62% from the field and pulled down eight boards, while the Cardinals shot 43% and only pulled down five boards.
However, the second period saw a focused Louisville team… Or a tired Vanderbilt team. The Cardinals held the Commodores to only nine points.
Vanderbilt took an early 29 – 24 lead after Chelsie Hall connected on a bucket and Cierra Walker fired off a three pointer.
Scoring from Arica Carter and Jazmine Jones pulled the Cardinals within two points before Bell added another two points. With 4:38 remaining in the half, Vanderbilt led Louisville, 33-29.
However, that would be the Commodores last bucket before the half. Louisville locked down defensively and closed the second period out behind an 11-0 run.
“We knew coming in we were going to have to play hard,” Asia Durr said in the post game interview. “Coach Walz and the staff were stressing about pressuring the ball.”
Pressuring the ball they did. Louisville came out of the half with fire.
The Cardinals kicked the period off with 15 unanswered points. Vanderbilt could not score until the 3:28 mark when Bell connected on a triple.
Perhaps, the most significant stat for the Cardinals was the number of turnovers it forced. The Commodores had 11 turnovers at the half. But, by the end of the third period, Vanderbilt had committed 11 more turnovers, allowing Louisville to pick up 13 points. The turnovers allowed Louisville to outscore Vanderbilt, 25-4, putting the Cardinals ahead 67 – 37.
The Commodores made a strong effort in the final period, grabbing 12 points, but it was not enough to pull Vanderbilt within striking distance. Louisville notched its 10th consecutive win, which is the best start in program history.
After the game, Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White, made a bold statement.
“We see certainly why this is a national championship caliber team.”
While that’s quite a lofty goal, this Louisville team has shown glimpses of greatness.
Louisville had three players notch double-figures: Asia Durr led all scorers with 25 points. Durr also added five boards and four steals. Arica Carter added 15 on 6-of-9 shooting from the field including three triples. Rounding out the top scorers is Sam Fuehring who contributed 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting and 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.
For Vanderbilt, two players grabbed double-digits: Rachel Bell led the Commodores with 21 points and four rebounds, while Chelsie Hall added 16 points.
No. 4 Louisville remains at home to face Middle Tennessee State University on Saturday at 7 PM EST.
While the Commodores will return home to face in-state foe Memphis on Saturday at 6PM CT.