No. 7 Louisville 76, E. Kentucky 42

Jude Schimmel is beginning to step out of her sister’s shadow at
Louisville.

The sophomore reserve scored a career-high 12 points Wednesday
night in the seventh-ranked Cardinals’ 76-42 victory over Eastern
Kentucky.

Her older sister Shoni, the Cardinals’ scoring leader and a
preseason Wooden Award candidate, also had 12 points.

Jude Schimmel’s scoring breakout came two games after a
career-high seven assists in a win against Oregon State. One of the
Cardinals’ best ball handlers even as a freshman, Louisville coach
Jeff Walz has worked to add another facet to her game.

”Now that teams know how well she can pass the ball, they’re
going to make her finish now,” Walz said. ”I thought she did a
really good job of that tonight.”

Shoni Schimmel had all the accolades coming out of high school
in Mission, Ore., and her picture now adorns billboards across the
city but its her sister who had the game-winning steal and score in
the Cardinals’ opener against then-No. 15 Texas A&M.

Walz calls Jude his best option coming off ball screens due to
ability to get low and change speeds and she has shown considerable
growth in her second year after averaging 1.7 points as a
freshman.

”The biggest thing for me was the adjustment from high school
to college,” Jude Schimmel said. ”I’ve had to adjust to the
strength and the speed of the game.”

That awareness has made her more self-assured and a legitimate
weapon on a deep Louisville bench.

”My biggest improvement is probably my confidence and my
mentality on the game. I’m more positive and I just come
ready.”

Monique Reid added 11 points as all 11 players scored for the
Cardinals (8-0), who started slow before overwhelming the Lady
Colonels.

Jade Barber had 11 points and 10 rebounds to lead Eastern
Kentucky (3-3), and Jalisa Bryant added 10 points, all in the first
half.

Two 3-pointers by Bryant gave EKU a 6-0 lead as Louisville was
scoreless for the first 3:47.

Bria Smith hit the first of two free throws to get the Cardinals
on the scoreboard, starting a 19-0 run before Bryant’s third
3-pointer of the half pulled the Lady Colonels to 19-9 with 8:36
remaining in the opening half.

Eastern Kentucky made just two free throws the rest of the half
and trailed 39-11 at the break.

The Cardinals missed their first 11 shots before Reid’s basket
on three-point play on a post move gave them their first field goal
nearly six minutes into the game. It was the first time in five
games that Louisville trailed.

”We started out flat and it took us about 5 minutes to get in
there and get energy going,” said Louisville forward Sara Hammond,
who finished with eight points and seven rebounds.

Louisville coach Jeff Walz attributed his team’s slow start to
recent road trips. The Cardinals won three games in the Puerto
Vallarta, Mexico Nov. 20-22 to win the Hardwood Tournament of Hope
before Monday’s 79-61 win at Tennesee-Martin.

”We’re a tired group,” Walz said. ”When you go back and look
at our travel schedule, it’s been a little crazy.”

The Cardinals’ defense sparked the first-half rally, scoring 22
points off 17 turnovers and holding EKU to just 14 percent
shooting. It was the fifth time Louisville has held an opponent
under 50 points this season.

EKU turned the ball over just the seven times in the second half
and the Cardinals only outscored the Colonels 37-31 after the
break. Barber’s layup at with 13:33 remaining cut Louisville’s lead
to 46-25, the closest margin in the second half.

EKU lost its third straight after dropping games against Florida
State and Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the San Juan Shootout in Puerto
Rico during the Thanksgiving week.

Louisville’s win comes before an in-state matchup of top 10
teams as No. 9 Kentucky visits on Sunday. It will be highest
ranking in series history after the Cardinals were 10th and the
Wildcats No. 12 last year when Kentucky won 74-54 in Lexington.

Hammond called the Louisville-Kentucky basketball rivalry the
best in college sports.

”You all have seen in men’s basketball how intense it is. It’s
just the same in women’s basketball,” she said. ”We’re two top 10
teams – just like the men are – so it’s going it’s going to be a
battle.”