Durr scores 33 as No. 5 Louisville beats W Kentucky 102-80
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — With his mentor across the floor working the television broadcast, Louisville coach Jeff Walz reached a career win milestone.
Asia Durr scored 33 points to help No. 5 Louisville beat Western Kentucky 102-80 on Tuesday night and get Walz his 300th career win.
Durr scored the first 11 points for the Cardinals (1-0) and had 21 by halftime as the team shot an efficient 56 percent from the floor and 47 percent from 3-point range.
Already the winningest coach at Louisville, Walz got No. 300 in the same E.A. Diddle Arena where he started his career as a Western Kentucky graduate assistant in 1996-97 under former coach Paul Sanderford.
Walz was a graduate assistant for two seasons in Bowling Green, Kentucky before joining Sanderford for four seasons as an assistant at Nebraska. Walz was named head coach at Louisville in 2007 and now 300-96 (.757) with three Final Four appearances going into his 12th season.
“He gave me my chance and I’ll always be grateful to coach,” Walz said. “It’s just awesome to have him here and win No. 300 at the place I started.”
Tuesday also marked the head coaching debut of Greg Collins at Western Kentucky (0-1). The defending Conference USA Tournament champion Lady Toppers orchestrated two runs in the first half to trim Louisville’s lead to single digits, but Durr and the Cardinals never let it get close.
Durr hit her first four shots of the night to set the tone early in Louisville’s second-straight win in the in-state rivalry.
“We have seen her do it,” Walz said. “It’s what she does. The kid is a big-time player and came out with a purpose tonight. When she gets going everybody else will reap the benefits but I also thought our team did a great job of getting her the ball.”
Louisville used a 26-2 run in the last six minutes of the third quarter to lead by 34 points going into the fourth.
Durr played just three quarters and finished 12-of-21 from the floor with seven 3-pointers.
“If Asia Durr is not the best guard in the country, I’m not sure who is,” Collins said. “It’s not just that she can go score. She’s a lowkey winner. She’ll be satisfied with the game and let everybody else play and take over the game at any moment. This may be one of if not the best team Jeff has had and with her they’ve got a real shot at being there at the end of the season.”
Arica Carter finished with 19 points and accounted for four of Louisville’s 16-of-34 shooting from behind the arc.
Alexis Brewer led Western Kentucky with 22 points in her first game since sitting out a season after transferring from West Virginia. Louisville is the first of three preseason top-15 teams on WKU’s schedule with No. 13 Iowa and No. 8 Oregon State awaiting before Thanksgiving.
Louisville had 10 different scorers with Walz emptying the bench in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh transfer Yacine Diop had a double-double in her first game as a Cardinal with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Kentucky native Lindsey Duvall scored six points for Louisville in her collegiate debut. Louisville’s bench outscored WKU’s 44-10.
Louisville plays at UT-Chattanooga on Friday
Western Kentucky plays Oklahoma for the first time since 1985 in Norman, Oklahoma on Friday