Evans’ 3s lead No. 7 Louisville to 75-50 win at Clemson
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Dana Evans had a terrible showing her last game out for No. 7 Louisville. She quickly put that behind her against Clemson.
Evans had 27 points with a career-high seven 3-pointers as the Cardinals blew past Clemson 75-50 on Thursday night.
Evans made 10 of her first 14 shots, including all those long-range buckets from behind the arc as Louisville (13-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) led by as many as 34 points in winning its fifth straight overall and eighth in a row over the Tigers (5-9, 1-2).
It was a welcome performance for Evans, the high-scoring junior who managed just nine points in the win over Syracuse last Sunday.
“Coming into this game, I struggled last game against Syracuse,” she said. “I knew my teammates were going to find me and give me some open looks.”
Evans hit a bunch of them, including one stretch where she hit three consecutive baskets from behind the arc on a personal 11-0 run in the second quarter.
“They got me the ball where I needed it and I was able to knock down some shots,” Evans said.
Evans and Elizabeth Balogun, who had 15 points, helped Louisville come out fast and put things away early.
Balogun hit her team’s first three shots and the Cardinals pressured nearly every inbound pass, with Clemson turning the ball over three times while trying to get the ball into play. Things steadily got worse for the Tigers once Evans heated up.
The junior hit 9 of 12 shots in the opening half, including six 3-pointers, tying her career best set in a November win over Oklahoma State.
Evans set her personal best for 3s on her first attempt of the third quarter.
She came within a point of her career high, also set against Oklahoma State.
What Louisville coach Jeff Walz was happiest about was Evans’ ball movement. She knew Clemson would work to take her out of the game plan, and she found Balogun in the right spots to get the Cardinals going.
The 6-foot-1 Balogun also had five rebounds, three assists and five of Louisville’s seven blocked shots.
The Cardinals led 50-22 at half, their second-highest output in the first 20 minutes of a game this season.
Clemson made only 2 of its final 19 shots of the half and had 10 turnovers, double Louisville’s total.
Clemson’s Kendall Spray, who hit eight 3-pointers and scored 24 points in a win over Notre Dame on Sunday, managed only one 3-pointer and three points.
Hannah Hank had 11 points to lead the Tigers.
THE BIG PICTURE
Louisville: The Cardinals look fast, deep and talented — again. Evans, Balogun and Jazmine Jones are a potent trio in the backcourt while the 6-foot-4 Kylee Shook always seems in position for a rebound, a block or to catch a pass down low.
Clemson: The Tigers had hoped to carry the momentum of their first-ever win against Notre Dame into the matchup with Louisville. Clemson was the first ACC team to defeat the Irish at home with its 71-55 win. But Clemson continued its frustrating series with the Cardinals, who’ve won eight straight in the series by an average margin of 24 points.
Walz saw a family from Greenville, South Carolina (about 40 minutes away from Clemson) who came out to support the Cardinals. Greenville will be the site of a women’s NCAA Tournament regional this March. When told that, Walz grinned and said, “We’ve got a lot of ballgames left first. But we’re excited.”
Clemson coach Amanda Butler said her team’s practices leading to Louisville were OK, but not at the level needed to stay with a Top-10 program. She said her team’s sessions before facing Notre Dame were sharp and effective, leading to their success there. This time, that was not the case. “I don’t have an answer for that,” she said.
Louisville returns home to play Duke on Sunday.
Clemson has a week off before a starting a two-game road swing at Wake Forest on Jan. 9.