The No. 3 Louisville Cardinals ran the No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish out of the KFC Yum! Center in a 100 – 67 beat down.
“Louisville is the best team in the country,” Notre Dame head coach Muffett McGraw said.
That’s a high remark from a coach who has faced South Carolina and UConn.
“Asia Durr is the best player in the country.” McGraw added.
There’s no disputing Durr’s dominance. The junior guard had another stellar performance against a top-5 opponent. On its last outing against then No. 5 Ohio State, Durr dropped an easy 47 points. Against the No. 2 Fighting Irish, Durr knocked down 13 – of – 18 from the field, eight of which came from beyond the arc, to amount to 36 points.
But, Durr credits her teammates for her offensive prowess.
“I give it all to my teammates,” Durr told the media. “Without them finding me on the court and throwing me the ball, my shot does not go up.”
Durr started off hot for the Cardinals firing off three triples. After the first 10 minutes, Durr already had 11 points.
“They came out ready,” Coach McGraw said. “They gave us a knockout punch and we got knocked out in the first quarter.
McGraw’s Fighting Irish led for a total of a minute and a half in the first period before Louisville took control and never looked back.
Louisville’s offense shot an astounding 74% from the field and 71% from three as the Cardinals sprinted ahead to a 33 – 16 lead.
Early on, it was clear the Irish had no answer for Asia Durr or Myisha Hines-Allen. The duo combined for 22 of Louisville’s 33 first period points.
The second quarter was no different for the Cardinals. Louisville, behind Durr and Hines-Allen, was electric on offense. Everything was falling for the Cardinals. Durr added another nine points to her total, while Hines-Allen racked up another eight points. Sophomore Jazmine Jones gave Louisville valuable minutes. Jones, who has had a standout season, provided five points for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals’ defense was locked in early. Louisville held the Irish’s leading scorer, Arike Ogunbowale, to only three points in the first half.
Louisville held an impressive 56 – 26 at the end of the first half. The Cardinals connected on 23 field goals, nine of which came from the three-point line. The offensive clinic was orchestrated by Hines-Allen and Durr’s combined 39 points. Durr had 20 points in the first half, while Hines-Allen nearly notched a double-double with 19 points and eight rebounds.
Notre Dame has held opponents to 68.2 points, a number the Cardinals nearly reached in the first half.
“We knew it was going to be tough playing here,” Jackie Young said. “I think right off the tip they were ready to play, we weren’t. The crowd got into it and it was hard to get back in the game after that.”
Louisville continued to keep Notre Dame down. Out of the half, the Cardinals came out hot. Durr, again, had a big 10 minutes firing off four three pointers, including a thrilling buzzer beater at the end of the third period.
The Fighting Irish leaned on Jackie Young and Marina Mabrey to help Notre Dame chip away at Louisville’s lead, but it was useless. Despite Young’s seven points and Mabrey’s two triples, Louisville could not be cooled down. The Cardinals were able to add 29 points in the third period.
Going into the final period, the Cardinals maintained a huge lead, 89-46.
Although the Fighting Irish won the fourth period, the damage had been done.
The No. 3 Louisville Cardinals handed the No. 2 Fighting Irish its worst loss in more than 15 years. The Cardinals improve to 19-0 behind a 100 – 67 victory.
Louisville had four players grab double-figures: Asia Durr led all scorers with 36 points, including eight three pointers. Myisha Hines-Allen earned her 36th career double-double behind a career-high 31 points and 12 rebounds. Jazmine Jones had a standout game adding 10 points for the Cardinals to go along with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Rounding out the top scorers for Louisville is Sam Fuehring, who racked up 10 points and six assists.
For the Irish, three players notched double-digits: Jackie Young paced the Fighting Irish with 23 points and 7 rebounds. Marina Mabrey racked up 14 points and five steals, while Jessica Shepherd added 12 points and six assists.
The No. 3 Louisville Cardinals don’t take the court again until Thursday, January 18th, when the Cardinals head north to face Pitt.