LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Mariya Moore’s awareness of her NCAA Tournament shooting struggles made her especially determined to put them behind her.
Extra practice finally paid off with the breakout performance the Louisville junior guard always knew was capable of, ignoring leg cramps to get it done with a big fourth quarter that helped send the Cardinals to the Sweet 16.
”My mindset was we’ve come so far, we can’t give up now,” Moore said after making all five 3-pointers for 19 points as Louisville beat Tennessee 75-64 Monday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. ”I needed to do whatever I could to make sure our team pushed through.”
Moore certainly had room for improvement with career shooting averages of 29 percent from long range and 38 percent overall. She entered this tournament on a 1-of-21 slump shooting 3s.
Those numbers seemed like a distant memory after she made 7 of 10 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds a game after scoring just six points in a first-round win over Chattanooga.
Moore’s perimeter shooting provided a lift on a night that fourth-seeded Louisville (29-7) had to work hard late to finish 44 percent from the field. She scored the Cardinals’ first eight points of the fourth quarter with back-to-back 3s for a 54-47 lead before Asia Durr followed with seven of their next eight points to make it 62-51 with 4:07 remaining.
”She didn’t want to lose and I think she showed that when she came up clutch with those two threes in a row,” said Asia Durr, who scored 23 points to become the 28th Louisville player to reach 1,000 career points.
Fifth-seeded Tennessee got within five but no closer as Louisville earned its first Sweet 16 berth in two years and seventh overall under coach Jeff Walz. The Cardinals will face top-seeded Baylor on Friday in the Oklahoma City Region semifinal.
Jaime Nared had 28 points and 11 rebounds for Tennessee (20-12), which shot 33 percent in losing its first second-round tournament game in program history. Diamond DeShields had 15.
THE BIG PICTURE
Tennessee: Foul trouble by DeShields seemed to have the Lady Vols out of sync at times while she was on the bench and for a while they hurt themselves at the foul line. They were 3 for 8 at one point but finished 19 of 27, which could have made a difference against the Cardinals. Shooting 3 of 18 in the fourth quarter was the biggest reason they’re going home. Mercedes Russell had 11 points and 13 rebounds.
”I thought we had good looks, we just missed shots,” coach Holly Warlick said. ”We got good position to get some looks and just didn’t finish it.”
Louisville: The Cardinals finally found their touch in the fourth quarter, making 9 of 14 (64 percent). Hines-Allen added 14 points and 13 rebounds (12 defensive), which was key down the stretch. Moore’s outside shooting helped them finish 7 of 16 from long range.
Needing 10 points for 1,000, Durr quickly got within a point of the milestone before going cold and appearing to press at points. The sophomore made a layup early in the third quarter and saved her best for the fourth despite finishing 8 of 22 from the field.
”I just had to focus on stop, score, stop,” said Durr, who gave Louisville three 1,000-point scorers besides Moore and Hines-Allen. She’s only the fifth to do so in her first two seasons. ”We came up with some huge efforts and I’m glad that took place.”
TOUGHING IT OUT
DeShields was down for several moments late in the fourth quarter after colliding with Moore under Louisville’s basket, hitting her head on the basket stanchion as she fell. She was examined and returned 19 seconds later to finish the game.
”I had already fallen in the first half,” said DeShields, adding that she did not feel any concussion symptoms. ”(In the fourth quarter) I fell on my back and hit my head. It was more of precaution to make sure I was OK.”
Louisville faces Baylor in the Oklahoma City Regional semifinal on Friday in a rematch of the Cardinals’ 2013 upset of the Bears.
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