No. 7 Louisville women run past Ball State 105-67

Louisville coach Jeff Walz gave his team easy instructions

Tuesday night.

Crank up the pressure, put Ball State away early and get ready

for this weekend’s showdown with No. 11 Colorado. Mission

accomplished.

Shoni Schimmel had 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists

in 27 minutes, and Sara Hammond scored 11 of her 13 points in the

first five minutes to help the seventh-ranked Cardinals run away

with a 105-67 victory at Ball State.

”Coach told us to go out there and get at it right from the

beginning,” Schimmel said. ”So we came out did what we had to

do.”

There was never a doubt about this one.

The Cardinals (11-1) have won four straight since losing to

rival Kentucky and have scored 213 points since Saturday and won

those two games by a combined total of 93 points. And by topping

100 points for the fourth time this season, they already have tied

the school’s single-season record with eight 90-plus point games.

The mark was first established in 1990-91.

That’s not all.

Three days after setting season highs with 43 field goals made

and 27 assists in a 108-53 rout of Austin Peay, Louisville was just

as proficient against Ball State (3-6). It again made 43 baskets,

had 28 assists and grabbed 18 offensive rebounds on just 29 missed

shots.

But Walz wasn’t as interested in the impressive numbers. He was

looking for his team to make an early statement.

”I just told them `We’re going into situations now where we

have the target on our back, where teams say this is an opportunity

to get a top-10 win and you can’t walk into any gym and think that

somebody’s not excited to play you,”’ said Walz, who agreed to the

game when his old college pal, Ball State coach Brady Sallee wanted

to put it on the schedule. ”So I’ve been trying to tell them that

we need to be the one to throw the first punch.”

They threw everything at Ball State, which was looking for its

first upset of a ranked foe since a stunning victory over Tennessee

in the 2009 NCAA tournament.

Ball State (3-6) never had a chance against Louisville’s size,

speed, strength or depth.

In the first half, Louisville shot 67.6 percent and had a 32-12

scoring advantage in the paint. It forced 14 turnovers, had a 16-0

edge on fast-break points and outscored Ball State’s reserves 25-2.

Predictably, the Cardinals led 60-29 at the half and had their most

points in any half this season.

Jill Morrison scored 17 points and Nathalie Fontaine had 14

points and six rebounds to lead Ball State – not nearly enough on

this night.

”They’re ranked seventh for a reason,” Sallee said. ”In their

league, they’re not going to lose a whole lot of games. UConn’s

pretty good and I hear they beat Duke at home tonight, but so is

Louisville. But they are that good. What they can do to you

rebounding and turning it over, they can really, really amp it up

on you. It’s not something we could simulate in practice, so we had

to kind of learn on the fly a little bit.”

The lessons were tough.

Louisville scored the first nine points, and Hammond’s opening

scoring flurry helped the Cardinals take a commanding 22-2 with

13:47 to go in the first half. Ball State still didn’t have a

basket at that point.

Things only got worse.

Monny Niamke’s three-point play midway through the half extended

the margin to 32-6, and after taking the 31-point lead into

halftime, Louisville took a 40-point lead with 10:15 left in the

game and never let Ball State get closer than 37.

Jude Schimmel also had 14 points in her second straight start

for the Cardinals.