LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Mariya Moore shook off the worst game of her season and showed she’s more than just a 3-point shooter.
Moore tied a career high with 22 points to lead No. 7 Louisville to a 75-48 win against Georgia Tech on Friday night in the Cardinals’ Atlantic Coast Conference debut. She was 9 of 12 from the field and had eight assists.
”She surprised me in the fact that she could do more than just shoot 3s,” Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said of Louisville’s freshman forward. ”Her game so far just looked like it was pretty much around the 3-point line but I tonight she did a lot more things for them.”
Moore was 1 for 8 and missed all six of her 3-point attempts in scoring a career-low four points against Evansville on Monday.
”They’ve been preaching to me the whole season that I can’t just come out and perform,” Moore said. ”I have to push harder in practice. So my main focus, especially after the Evansville game, was to come out harder in practice and see if I can just do better and see if it changes in the game.”
Louisville coach Jeff Walz said he’d talked with his leading scorer about moving more without the basketball in an attempt to spark other aspects of her game.
”If we can get her moving, she sees the floor great, and I think you all saw that tonight,” Walz said. ”She made a few just great passes. That’s what we need from her – not just (to) become a three-point shooter but an all-around player.”
Moore eclipsed her season average in the first half with 14 points, including nine of the first 10 for the Cardinals (13-1, 1-0). She entered the game 20 of 54 (37 percent) on 3-pointers and hit 3 of 6 3s on Friday.
Aaliyah Whiteside led Georgia Tech (10-5, 0-1) with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Kaela Davis hit just 1 of her first 14 shots for the Yellow Jackets. The preseason Wooden Award finalist finished with 11 points, well off her scoring average of 21.2 points a game. She finished 2 of 15 and fouled out with 4:39 to play.
”We made it as difficult for Davis to score as anybody has,” Walz said. ”We were trying to make sure we were there on the catch every time she caught it. Every time she came off a ball screen, we were trying to double her.”
Louisville was tested early as Georgia Tech trailed 22-20 with 4:30 remaining in first half before the Cardinals scored 11 straight points in less than 3 minutes to give Louisville a 33-20 advantage at halftime.
That stretched into a 24-2 run, capped by a Sara Hammond spin move, that gave Louisville a 46-22 advantage with 16:33 to play.
The Yellow Jackets missed their first 10 3-pointers before Katarina Vuckovic’s shot from the top of the arc fell with 8:21 to play. Davis hit her second shot of the night, a 3 with 7:50 remaining, to cut the Louisville lead to 60-37. The Cardinals led by as many as 31.
Moore was the only Cardinals player in double figures but 11 players scored. Louisville’s 22 assists on 30 made shots (50 percent shooting) characterized the total team effort.
Louisville: The move to the ACC marks Louisville’s third conference in three seasons and sixth since the program began in 1975. While the Cardinals will no longer play perennial power and former Big East/American Athletic Conference rival Connecticut, their path to a conference title isn’t any easier as the ACC currently boasts three other programs – Notre Dame, Duke and North Carolina – ranked in the top 10.
Georgia Tech: The loss ended a five-game winning streak. Roddreka Rogers added 11 points and was 5-of-6 shooting. Sydney Wallace (second leading scorer at 13.1 points per game) did not play due to a knee injury.