By Sam Draut
Through the first 12 minutes against Memphis, the fifth-ranked University of Louisville Women’s basketball team was locked in a 15-15 tie. Asia Taylor and Sara Hammond were the only Cardinal scorers to that point. U of L was in desperate need of a spark. Shoni Schimmel single-handedy ignited the Cardinal offense and Louisville, 20-1, cruised to an 88-61 victory.
Schimmel scored 26 points in the final 7:52 of the first half, hitting eight three-pointers to push Louisville to a comfortable 47-25 halftime lead.
“When she gets open looks in rhythm, within in the offense, Shoni can shoot the ball very well,” U of L head coach Jeff Walz said.
Schimmel missed her first four shots and was taken out at the 11:41 mark, frustrated, she refocused.
“I sat down on the bench I just evaluated the whole situation and told myself `I’m better than that,’” Schimmel said.
Schimmel hit her ninth three-pointer in the second half, which gave her the U of L record for made three-pointers in a game.
“Her teammates did a fantastic job of getting her the ball,” Walz said. “It was just very unselfish basketball.”
Schimmel finished the game with 29 points, her seventh game this season with 20 points or more.
After starting 4 of 16 from the field through the first 12 minutes, U of L was 16 of 19 from the field over the next 14 minutes, based in large part from Schimmel’s performance.
“We show glimpses of being a pretty darn good basketball team. Then we show glimpses of being just a good team. So we have to continue to watch some film and continue to watch some things and hopefully get more consistent over a 40 minute period,” Walz said.
Emmonnie Henderson scored 14 points. It was the freshman forward’s second consecutive game with 14 points.
“If you could take where we are at right now she is probably the most improved player on the team. Obviously you can see she’s an offensive threat, every time you get it in the paint you know she’s going to score, we have confidence in her,” Hammond said.
Hammond contributed with 13 points and eight rebounds. Asia Taylor added 12 points and five rebounds.
After missing the past five games with a sprained ankle, Jude Schimmel returned to action, scoring five points and dishing out four assists in 16 minutes of play.
U of L goes to Rutgers on Jan. 28, looking to extend their winning streak to 14 games.