No. 3 Louisville turns showdown with No. 2 Notre Dame into a blowout
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Asia Durr and Myisha Hines-Allen combined to match Notre Dame's point total, just one example of how much No. 3 Louisville dominated the second-ranked Irish almost from the start.
Durr scored 36 points, Hines-Allen matched a career high with 31 and the Cardinals overwhelmed Notre Dame on both ends for a 100-67 blowout victory Thursday night in an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown.
The unbeaten Cardinals (19-0, 5-0 ACC) erased an early deficit to thump the short-handed Irish in nearly every phase during a marquee matchup between top teams. Louisville finished 41 of 63 (65 percent) from the field to earn the program's biggest victory since upsetting top-seeded Baylor in the 2013 NCAA Tournament regional semifinals and snap an 11-game losing streak against Notre Dame (15-2, 4-1 ACC).
Plenty of high-fives and celebratory hugs followed for the Cardinals, who extended their school-record winning streak with the kind of performance they knew was possible — even against a powerhouse program.
"A lot of fun. A lot of fun," said Durr, whose fadeaway, buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the third quarter thrilled a charged-up crowd of 12,614.
"It does not stop here, though. We've got to keep on going. We can't get satisfied with this win."
Louisville didn't take long to ensure it would have something to savor.
Durr quickly set the tone with three first-quarter 3-pointers and eight overall in shooting 13 of 18 from the field. Hines-Allen kept pace with her, hitting 15 of 20 while grabbing 12 rebounds.
Cardinals forwards Sam Fuerhing and Jazmine Jones each scored 10 points and combined for 10 rebounds for Louisville, which at one point was shooting nearly 85 percent.
"Offensively, we were as good as we've been all year," coach Jeff Walz said. "Not for the fact that we scored 100, but we passed the ball well. We got the ball to people when they were open at the right time."
On Durr, the coach added: "We got her some looks early and she knocked them down. All of a sudden, that basket becomes real big."
Louisville also overcame recent struggles in finishing off opponents by pouring it on, leading by 44 early in the fourth in handing the Irish the 11th-largest loss in program history. Notre Dame also allowed its fourth-most points overall.
"We're going to bounce back, no question about it," Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. "We're probably not even going to watch this one. Just throw it away and start over. We're not going to learn a damn thing except we've got to play hard."
Jackie Young had 23 points and Marina Mabrey 14 for the Irish, who had won eight straight since losing 80-71 to top-ranked Connecticut. Notre Dame shot 44 percent and committed 18 turnovers that led to 26 Louisville points.
Notre Dame: The Irish had been able to overcome knee injuries to several players and beat defending national champion South Carolina among their wins, but they were no match for Louisville after leading 7-5. Junior guard Arike Ogunbowale, who entered as the ACC's No. 3 scorer averaging 20.5 points, managed just five on 2-of-9 shooting in 33 minutes.
Louisville: The Cardinals posted their fifth victory against a ranked opponent by starting quickly and keeping it going behind a season-best 72 percent shooting in the first half. Most importantly, they didn't cool off and stifled the Irish defensively as well. Louisville dominated the boards 35-25, had 25 assists and used 10 players.
Louisville positioned itself to move up after a signature win. Notre Dame could remain in the top five if it rebounds from the lopsided loss.
Walz wouldn't compare this victory to Louisville's 2013 upset of Baylor because the Cardinals still have much of their conference schedule remaining. But the 11th-year coach said it was important in the team's quest to end Notre Dame's four-year reign as ACC champs.
"You've got to figure out a way to beat Notre Dame if you want a chance to compete to win our league," he said. "And we did that tonight, so I'm proud of these young women."
Notre Dame hosts Boston College on Sunday.
Louisville has a week off before visiting Pittsburgh on Jan. 18.