--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photos by Seth Spalding
The Louisville Cardinals opened 2018-19 on a high note.
The last time Jeff Walz and company played a game; it was a heartbreaking overtime loss in the Final Four. Louisville shook off the feeling with a dominating 102-80 win over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers; led by Asia Durr’s stellar performance.
Durr led scoring with 33 points. She led a quartet of double-digit scorers; including Arica Carter (19), newcomer Yacine Diop (11), and Kylie Shook (10). Diop also had a double-double.
Durr jumped had 11 within the first two minutes. In fact, Durr scored Louisville’s first 11 points- before newcomer Yacine Diop scored a two-point basket. The Cardinals went on a 12-0 drive before Western scored another basket. Louisville’s largest lead of the quarter was 15; 2:31 into the game. At the end of the first quarter, Louisville led 32-21. Durr led scorers with 16 points in the first quarter.
Western played tough in the second quarter. The Hilltoppers went on a 12-2 run over the middle part of the quarter, cutting Louisville’s lead to five; before Arica Carter stopped Western’s momentum with a three-point basket. A layup from Jaz Jones and three from Durr ended the half.
Louisville led 54-43 at halftime. Durr led scorers with 21. Louisville shot 55.6 percent from the field, and 45 from beyond the arc.
Both teams played sluggish to start the second half. Both teams were shooting under 50 percent for the first five minutes.
Then, it was all Louisville. The Cardinals outscored WKU 31-8 in the period. It was helped by a long 17-0 run. The run was kicked off with a pair of free-throws from Yacine Diop at 6:14, and lasted until nearly the two-minute mark. Louisville led 85-51 at the end of three.
The Hilltoppers began winning the fourth quarter, when the Cardinals had put their reserves into the game. Bionca Dunham made two free-throws with 3:25 in the game to put the Cardinals in triple-digits scoring.
Louisville moves to 1-0. They travel to Tennessee, and will take on UT Chattanooga on Friday, November 9th, at 7pm. The Cardinals will play their first game at the KFC Yum! Center on Monday, November 26th; hosting Miami of Ohio.