Senior guard Asia Durr scored 32 points in the No. 5 Louisville Cardinal’s 80 – 75 win against in state rival, No. 19 Kentucky. The win marks the third consecutive win against the Wildcats.
Louisville was not short of scorers. The Cardinals had five players hit double digits. Durr led all players with 32 points, while Jazmine Jones and Sam Fuehring each added 12 points. Junior Bianca Dunham continues to be vital in the post for the Cardinals. Dunham notched 11 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore Dana Evans contributed 10 points.
Louisville and Kentucky battled it out for the lead in the first frame. The Cardinals used a 6 – 0 run at the end of the first quarter to pull ahead with a 24 – 19 lead. Louisville would not trail the remainder of the match. At the half, the Cardinals held a 36 – 29 advantage.
A high-powered Louisville team stepped on the floor in the third period. An 11 – 4 run gave the Cardinals a 15 point lead with 7:19 remaining. The Cardinals would go up by as much as 18 before a questionable technical foul was called on Jazmine Jones.
Durr had just thrown an ally oop to Jones, who laid it in and got fouled. A technical was called, but it was unclear as to why a technical was called.
Louisville head coach Jeff Walz said he asked the referee what Jones said and the referee replied that he did not know.
“He didn’t know what she said,” Coach Walz said. “She could’ve asked for a phone number. ‘Hey, can I call you after the game, I really think you’re a good player’… Who knows.”
Coach Walz continued, “I want to start getting crowds like the men’s games. A play like that in our game doesn’t happen all the time. That’s a dunk for us.”
Coach said he would go back and review the call to see if Jones stared the player down.
Seniors Durr and Fuehring also weighed in on the issue.
“You gotta let people get excited,” Asia Durr said. “She just scored and got fouled. Why can’t she get hype?”
The technical was a pivotal call in the match. Kentucky knocked down both free throw shots and started to chip into the Louisville lead when they got the ball back.
“We were going on a run there,” Sam Fuehring said. “To call a tech, get them two free throws and give them the ball. I don’t think that’s right.”
She continued, “We shouldn’t get penalized for saying ‘Let’s Go.”
The Wildcats furiously clawed its way back into the game at the end of the third period and the momentum continued into the final frame. Louisville’s 67 – 52 lead at the end of three quickly diminished as Kentucky sprinted out on a 7 – 0 run.
The Cardinals began to struggle shooting the ball and could not get back into an offensive rhythm. A triple for Maci Morris cut the lead to single digits. The Wildcats would get as close as four points. However, the Cardinals were able to outlast Kentucky.
Despite the win, Louisville had an ugly afternoon from the charity stripe. The Cardinals went 15-of-28 from the free throw line. A stat that is extremely uncharacteristic for this Louisville team.
The Cardinals head to 10 – 0 on the season, while the Wildcats pick up their first loss.
Senior Asia Durr’s last Battle for the Bluegrass was a success. The Cardinals have only lost one game against Kentucky, which was Durr’s freshman year.
Asked to reflect on her final Battle for the Bluegrass, the senior said, “First of all, we played a great team tonight. Anytime we’re playing against them, it’s a big game. Try to come out play hard. We knew it was going to be a dogfight. I think we played great as a team, but we just played a really great team.”
The Cardinals remain at home as they face another in state team, the Northern Kentucky Norse at 11:30 AM on Saturday.