LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville women’s basketball team used a second-half surge and pulled away from Ball State to post a 69-56 win and record its fourth-consecutive victory of the season on Sunday afternoon in the KFC Yum! Center.
No. 12-ranked Louisville (4-0) saw its lead in the second half cut to two at 40-38 with 14:54 left in the period, but the Cardinals responded with an 11-2 run to push the lead back to double-digits.
Ball State’s Jill Morrison cut the lead back to five at 54-49, but the Cardinals’ defensive pressure proved to be too much down the stretch, as Louisville grew its lead to as much as 13 and finished with a double-digit victory for the fourth time this year.
Mariya Moore had a game-high 22 points, leading the Cardinals in scoring for the third time. She added five rebounds, five assists, and one steal, and connected on 6-of-9 3-point attempts. Myisha Hines-Allen, Louisville’s only other double-figure scorer, produced 14 points and two rebounds in 15 minutes of action.
Louisville set the tone for the winning effort with a first half in which it jumped out to a 38-27 lead. Senior point guard Jude Schimmel dished out five of the team’s 12 assists in the first frame, while the team nabbed a total of eight steals.
Despite the lead, the first half was not easy sledding for Louisville. The two teams battled to a 9-9 knot by the first media timeout, but Louisville was boosted by two mini-runs to push it ahead. A 15-6 run following the first media timeout helped Louisville take a 24-15 lead by the eight-minute mark.
After Ball State (1-2) guard Morrison, who scored 20 points in the game, connected on back-to-back 3s to cut into the lead, Louisville scored a quick eight points to regain control. The spurt was headed by Mariya Moore, who hit two three-pointers in the sequence, and entered halftime having scored 14 points.
Ball State came out firing in the second half, beginning the second period with an 11-2 run to cut the Louisville lead to 40-38 by the 14:17 mark.
The threat of a Ball State comeback was put to rest after the quick run, when Ball State head coach Brady Sallee was hit with a technical foul during a stoppage of play. Following the technical, Moore continued her hot shooting, connecting on both free throws, and netting a 3-pointer on the subsequent possession. Louisville proceeded to go on a 14-4 run.
“Mariya, she’s got the potential to shoot it like that,” head coach Jeff Walz said following the game of Moore’s performance. “She made big shots for us. She was without a doubt our best offensive player throughout the entire game, and we’re very fortunate that she showed up to play tonight.”
Though beating Ball State in nearly every statistical category, including a 34-16 turnover edge and a 36-30 advantage in rebounding, Louisville missed several opportunities to cushion its lead on the free throw line in the second half. For the game, Louisville connected on just 11 of its 25 free throw attempts, a 44-percent clip.
Louisville returns to action on Tuesday with a home game against Western Kentucky, which is under the direction of former UofL assistant coach Michelle Clark-Heard. Tip is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3.