Louisville’s black-clad Cardinals deposited Notre Dame into a quick black hole, and never let the Irish out during an 86-54 women’s basketball victory Thursday night at Purcell Pavilion.
Gary native and junior guard Dana Evans scored 17 points, dished six assists and made three steals in less than three quarters as No. 5-ranked Louisville (21-1, 10-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) cruised to its 13th straight win.
Undermanned and overmatched Notre Dame (7-14, 2-7) suffered its 10th loss in its last 12 outings and stands alone in 14th place in the 15-team ACC.
The Cardinals, with an all-business approach befitting that mostly black attire, roared to a 9-0 lead in the opening 2 minutes, 40 seconds, and steadily stretched the spread from there.
Louisville led 27-11 after one quarter and owned a double-up advantage of 50-25 at 1:21 to go until halftime, before the Irish scored the final four points before the break.
The visitors’ largest lead was 86-50 with 2:45 to go.
Senior swing Jazmine Jones and senior forward Kylee Shook — who both joined Evans in sitting out all of the fourth quarter — likewise joined her in having their way until then.
Jones finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists in 25 minutes, while the 6-foot-4 Shook stuffed ND to the tune of six blocks to go with 12 points and six boards in 22 minutes.
Katlyn Gilbert led the Irish with 18 points and was 8-of-8 at the line. Sam Brunelle added 17 points and nine rebounds, but also had six of her team’s 16 turnovers.
Notre Dame suffered a program-record eighth home loss of the season, dropping to 3-8 with four regular-season home contests remaining.
ND’s only home losing season came in 1980-81, its first in NCAA Division I, when it went 6-7.
The Irish have never closed below .500 at home under 33rd year coach Muffet McGraw, with their lone .500 finish being 7-7 in 1991-92.
By halftime, Louisville stood 21-of-33 from the field for 64% with four 3-pointers, while ND was at 11-of-31 for 35% with a pair of treys.
The Cardinals continually created and converted from open seams against the Irish 2-3 zone.
Louisville also proved highly opportunistic. While ND had just seven turnovers at the break, one less than the visitors, the Cards turned their takeaways into 13 points and the Irish theirs into seven.
UL prevailed for the first time in its last six visits to Purcell, its last victory here coming in February 2009.
Though she came off the bench, Yacine Diop flirted with a triple-double for the Cardinals, winding up at nine points, nine rebounds and a game-high seven assists in 28 minutes.
Elizabeth Balogun scored 11 points, giving Louisville four players in double figures.
Mikki Vaughn scored eight points to go with five rebounds and five assists for the Irish.
Destinee Walker, averaging 13.9 on the season for ND, netted just three points, closing at 1-of-10 from the field over 25 minutes.
Point guard Marta Sniezek had five points, three assists and four turnovers for the hosts.
Before the game, a moment of silence was observed in memory of Notre Dame student Annrose Jerry, 21, and former Irish athletic director Gene Corrigan, 91, who both died last week.
Notre Dame plays its next two games on the road beginning with Sunday’s 2 p.m. contest at Georgia Tech (14-7, 5-5).
Louisville hosts the U.S. Women’s National Team in a 2 p.m. exhibition Sunday on ESPN.
Former Irish stars Skylar Diggins-Smith and Kayla McBride, who is a current ND part-time assistant, are both on the national team that will face the Cardinals.