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.