Durr scores and dishes as No. 5 Louisville beats Nebraska
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Asia Durr has always been known as a scorer. Now, Louisville’s top player is finding other ways to beat opponents.
The senior guard scored 25 points for the No. 5 Cardinals, who reeled off an 85-68 victory over visiting Nebraska Thursday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. However, she also added a career-high eight assists in the win.
“It felt great out there tonight,” said Durr, who made 8-of-17 shots and 4-of-9 3-pointers. “Every time I drove, they would pinch in. So, my teammates were there, and they made some great shots tonight.”
Playing a team that has four starters returning from an NCAA Tournament trip last season, the Cardinals (7-0) never really dominated in the first three quarters, but they weren’t really threatened either. After the first quarter, the Huskers (2-4) never got closer than five points to the Cardinals, and that came with 6:30 left in the first half.
Louisville finally broke away with a 10-2 run than spanned the final minute of the third quarter and the first 1:38 of the fourth that. Bionca Dunham’s inside jumper made it 68-52 with 8:22 left in the game.
The Cardinals led by as many as 24 points in the final period, and it was with Durr dealing. Louisville’s fifth-leading career scorer got five assists in the fourth quarter
Durr, a senior guard and national player of the year candidate, didn’t just provide a scoring punch. She added a career-high eight assists before leaving the game with 3:21 left. Five of those came in the final quarter.
“She’s really starting to see the floor much better, and I think that’s something she can continue to do for us,” Louisville coach Walz said.
Sam Fuehring added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Louisville, while Arica Carter pitched in 12 points.
Maddie Simon scored a season-high 16 points to lead the Cornhuskers, who also got a season-high 15 points from Hannah Whitish.
Nebraska: Having already played two ranked teams, the Cornhuskers didn’t come into the Yum Center the least bit intimidated. They shot 56 percent in the first quarter and even led midway through the period. However, it wasn’t enough to overcome their season-high 23 turnovers.
“Their defense is very relentless, and so it kind of just wears you down,” Nebraska coach Amy Williams said.
Louisville: While the Cardinals defense has been good at forcing turnovers, it has been a little shaky of late in allowing opponents better looks at the rim. After keeping their first four opponents under 40 percent, the Cardinals have allowed 45.8 percent in the last three games.
While Walz acknowledges there’s room for improvement, he also said there are worse problems to have early in the season.
“I’d rather be sitting here trying to get better defensively than trying to figure out how to score,” he said.
The game was a reunion of sorts as Walz was an assistant at Nebraska 20 years ago when Williams was a Cornhusker. The head coach of that team, Paul Sanderford, sat courtside and then got a chance to meet with his proteges afterward.
Walz spoke highly of Williams, who led a 15-win turnaround in just her second season at her alma mater last year en route to a 21-11 campaign.
“Amy’s done a fantastic job,” he said. “She does a great job of recruiting to the style she wants to play. I expect them to do well in the Big Ten.”
Before the game, Louisville unveiled its banner for reaching last season’s Final Four, and in doing so, the school showcased the new, more conspicuous spot for the program’s achievements. The banner, along with ones for the 2009 and 2013 NCAA finalist teams, now stand next to the men’s Final Four and championship banners at the north end of the Yum Center.
Previously, they were positioned elsewhere in rafters, but Walz and others contended they were harder to see behind the light banks.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers venture to Omaha Sunday for an afternoon contest against Creighton.
Louisville: The Cardinals play their third of six straight home games on Sunday when they host Tennessee State.