No. 7 Louisville 61, Oregon St. 43

Louisville coach Jeff Walz was thrilled to head back to Kentucky

with a championship.

Sara Hammond scored 17 points and Shoni Schimmel added 15 to

help No. 7 Louisville beat Oregon State 61-43 on Thursday night to

win the Hardwood Tournament of Hope tournament.

”It was a great three-day effort,” Walz said. ”These were

three great wins. Now we will take a day to relax and travel back.

Our players enjoyed it, enjoyed the culture.”

The Cardinals (6-0) led 37-32 with 13:22 left before going on a

16-2 run over the next 5 minutes to take command of the game.

Schimmel had back-to-back 3-pointers and Hammond scored four points

during the spurt.

”Shoni played very well,” Walz said. ”She took care of the

ball for us. We had a season low seven turnovers and 15 assists on

22 made field goals that says a lot.”

Monique Reid’s layup with 8:22 left made it 53-34.

”It felt like it was a 60-second spurt where they got it to 10

and then offense becomes easier for them because the scoreboard

puts pressure on us,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. ”We

got tight, they got loose and the next thing you knew it was 15

points.”

Oregon State (3-2) could get no closer than 15 the rest of the

way. Ali Gibson scored 10 points to lead the Beavers.

Louisville also put together back-to-back strong defensive

efforts, shutting down both Gonzaga and Oregon State in the final

two games of the tournament after giving up 73 points in the opener

to Central Florida.

”I thought for the most part we did a really nice job

defensively,” Walz said. ”We’re not the most athletic team you’re

going to watch play, but we are long.”

The two teams stayed close in the first half with the Cardinals

holding a 30-23 halftime advantage before pulling away in the

second half.

”We are a young team in a lot of ways. We made too many

mistakes to win the game, but I thought we did a heck of a job

staying in it, competing and we are growing up minute-by-minute,”

Rueck said.