LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville dispelled any concerns about looking past Tennessee State toward rival Kentucky by scoring the game’s first 12 points and staying in gear on the way to a blowout win featuring multiple contributors.
Asia Durr, Jazmine Jones and Sam Fuehring each scored 12 points to lead a balanced offense for No. 3 Louisville, which used that opening run to jump-start a 95-56 blowout of Tennessee State on Tuesday night.
”Everyone can score on our team,” said Fuehring, who made 5 of 7 from the field and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
”If someone’s not hitting, then we can rely on someone else to hit them. So, it’s an advantage.”
Seeking a tuneup before their upcoming rivalry matchup at Kentucky, the Cardinals (12-0) made 8 of their first 9 shots toward finishing 38 of 70 from the field (54 percent). They led 57-27 at halftime and by as many as 42 while dominating the boards 52-31 in continuing their second-best start in program history.
Bionca Dunham, Myisha Hines-Allen and Kylee Shook each added 11 points and Dana Evans had 10 as seven Cardinals scored in double figures. Ten players had at least three points.
”I think it shows we’ve got the ability to score from many positions on the floor,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. ”That’s what you want, you want depth.”
Louisville swept its four-game home stand against Tennessee schools by an average margin of 37.5 points.
Taylor Williams had five 3-pointers and 17 points and Tia Wooten added 12 points for Tennessee State (1-6), which had sought consecutive wins after starting 0-5. The Tigers shot 31 percent from the field.
Tennessee State: Though overwhelmed throughout by the Cardinals, the Ohio Valley Conference school made tough perimeter shots and even mounted a 7-0, second-quarter run to get within 34-19. The Tigers were outscored 23-8 the rest of the quarter, symbolizing their game-long challenge. They made a season-high eight 3-pointers, and have converted at least seven from behind the arc in their past three contests.
”I was disappointed at our slow start, but the great part is we got it going and were consistently scoring,” first-year coach Jessica Kern said. ”I’m extremely happy with our fight.”
Louisville: The Cardinals had a tough act to follow after holding Middle Tennessee to single digits in each quarter in Saturday’s 80-26 rout. But they didn’t look past the Tigers or look back after jumping out quick, allowing Walz to give 10 players at least 13 minutes each. Their only blemish was 17 turnovers, though they scored 27 points off 18 TSU mistakes.
Known for wearing checkered dress shirts, Walz stepped out of his comfort zone to participate in the team’s annual holiday Ugly Sweater promotion. His contribution featured Santa Claus putting left-handed with a candy cane against a snowflake backdrop. Assistant coach Sam Purcell sported a red-and-green plaid suit with a bowtie featuring blinking lights. They had company among 5,782, with some spectators competing in a postgame contest.
Of the coaches’ sweaters, Jones said, ”I don’t think anybody won because every one was really ugly. Purcell’s (outfit) last year was hideous; this year he looked like a checkerboard.”
Kern was more businesslike with a black ensemble and plaid heels adorned with stones but joked, ”We didn’t get the memo. We would’ve participated!”
Tennessee State hosts Lipscomb on Friday.
Louisville begins a four-game road swing at rival Kentucky on Sunday, seeking its second consecutive win over the Wildcats after last year’s close overtime victory.
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