By Xavier Bleuel–
Louisville women’s basketball gained sole possession of 4th place in the Big East conference with a 81-55 win over DePaul University Sunday afternoon in front of over 10,000 fans inside the KFC Yum! Center.
It was “Play 4 Kay” day as women’s teams from around country helped raise money and awareness for the Kay Yow foundation that fights women’s cancers. The Cardinals donned all-pink uniforms while DePaul wore their blue uniforms with pink accents. Attendees also showed their support by wearing pink.
Sophomore guard Bria Smith set the tone in the first half, exploding out of the gate with 14 points and six rebounds. She finished with 21 and seven. Fellow sophomore forward Sarah Hammond recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
After missing the previous five games with a bone bruise, Monique Reid returned to action, receiving a standing ovation upon entering at the 10:25 mark in the first half. She finished with eight points and eight rebounds in 15 minutes of action before leaving the game after hitting the floor on a lay-up attempt.
“She’s fine,” said head coach Jeff Walz of Reid. “She could have come back in to the game but there was no need to put her back in.”
Despite jumping out to a 25-15 lead, the outburst by Smith, and holding the Blue Demons to 18 percent shooting, the Cardinals only led by six points heading into the half. Coach Walz lit a fire under his team as they came out and out-scored the Blue Demons 52-32 in the second period. At one point, the lead swelled up to 30.
Louisville controlled the paint, outscoring DePaul 50-10. Hammond had the challenge of matching up with the Big East’s leading rebounder and the only player in DePaul history with 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 150 blocks: senior forward Katherine Harry.
Walz revealed that he challenged Hammond before the game, saying, “I told her if she doesn’t rebound, we don’t win the ball game today.” She was up for the task, matching Harry’s rebounding total at 13.
Up next for the Lady Cards is the University of South Florida Bulls on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center.
Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal