No. 9 Louisville 47, No. 15 Texas A&M 45
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)
Jude Schimmel saw an opportunity to make a play for No. 9 Louisville and seized it.
With the game tied at 45, the sophomore guard stepped in front of Courtney Walker's inbounds pass at midcourt for a steal and converted a layup with 24 seconds remaining to give the Cardinals a 47-45 victory over No. 15 Texas A&M Friday night.
''I knew they were trying to get something there, so I just focused on that,'' said Schimmel, who finished with four points.
Texas A&M had two chances to tie after that and failed both times.
Aggies center Kelsey Bone missed a layup with 11 seconds remaining and the Cardinals' Sara Hammond got the rebound in the scramble and the foul.
''I had to make that shot,'' said the 6-foot-4 Bone, who led the Aggies with 14 points. ''I just didn't. And that's something that I'll learn from. I missed the shot and there's nothing else to say about it.''
Texas A&M had another opportunity to tie the game after Hammond missed the front end of a one-and-one with 9 seconds remaining. But Alexia Standish's jumper in the lane in the final seconds bounced away and Louisville tied up the ball to preserve a tense victory.
Hammond, who averaged just 3.3 points as a freshman, finished with a career-high 20 points for Louisville. Her 13 rebounds also matched a career high.
''It was exciting to see her blossom,'' Louisville coach Jeff Walz said.
Redshirt senior center Monique Reid added 10 points in her first game since sustaining a season-ending knee injury last December. Junior guard Shoni Schimmel, Jude's older sister, had eight points for the Cardinals.
After a ragged first half in which Texas A&M trailed 31-21, the Aggies came out sharper in the second and slowly cut into the lead. After scoring seven straight points to close within 37-30 with 10:49 remaining, they followed with a 12-4 run capped by Bone's two free throws for a 42-41 lead, their first since leading 5-4 after 3 1/2 minutes.
''It was a game that I thought we had in control and then we got a little sloppy with the basketball,'' Walz said. ''You get in position like that, you've got to be able to put people away and we just never did that.''
For those first 20 minutes it looked as if Shoni Schimmel and Hammond would comprise Louisville's offense.
They combined for Louisville's first 17 points with Hammond scoring nine on a combination of drives and follows. Shoni Schimmel contributed short to medium range shots that helped counter Texas A&M man's pressure.
''She was just a load in there,'' Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said. ''She has a nice game.''
The Aggies stayed close for about 10 minutes running few plays through Bone.
The momentum swung toward Louisville when Reid entered the game with 8:46 remaining in the first half.
That brought a big cheer from the crowd along with some energy to the Cardinals. And any questions about rustiness or mobility were answered 31 seconds later when she quickly drove to the basket to give Louisville a 19-13 lead and another scoring option.
After a Hammond follow, Reid scored the next two baskets before a Hammond drive provided a 27-13 lead to cap a 13-0 run that forced the Aggies to call timeout.
Texas A&M struggled against Louisville's man-to-man defense, committing 17 turnovers in the first half. The Aggies finished the game with 24 turnovers.. Bone finished the half with 10 points but the Aggies shot just 9 of 21 (42.9 percent).
Louisville was slightly better (43.8 percent) thanks to Hammond, Schimmel and Reid, who combined to shoot 13 for 22. The other Cardinals were 1 for 10.