Importance of Mariya Moore and Briahanna Jackson shown in win over Virginia

By on February 23, 2017

By Dalton Ray–

In the 66-55 win over Virginia, women’s basketball played without their two assist leaders in senior Briahanna Jackson and junior Mariya Moore.

According to coach Jeff Walz, both players were suspended for one game for violating a team rule. Even though postseason is approaching, Walz doesn’t hesitate to take a moment to teach his team a lesson.

“We’re continuing to teach all of our kids that the choices they make affect everyone. It’s not just them or their teammates, it affects the fans,” Walz said.

Jackson is the fiery point guard with 117 assists this season. Moore is the facilitating wing with a great eye for opening pass lanes. Without the duo, Louisville entered the Virginia game lacking 49 percent of their total assists.

The Cardinals struggled, committing six turnovers in the first quarter. Louisville averages 75 points a game, yet ended the quarter with only 11.

Sophomore Asia Durr, Louisville’s leading scorer, had to keep the offense flowing. Durr finished with a game-high 24 points.

“We started the game with a three from Asia, but then she passed up the next two or three shots down the floor. We kept telling her ‘hunt your shot,'” Walz said. “Then she started to look to score more and be a threat.”

Not having Jackson and Moore also brings obstacles in the scoring column. Durr and Hines-Allen accounted for 45 of Louisville’s 66 points.

Moore is Louisville’s second leading scorer with 13 points a game and Jackson is fourth with 6.5 per contest. Without the two upperclassmen, the Cardinals are forced to turn to unproven players like freshmen Jazmine Jones and Sydney Zambrotta. The two shot 6-for-12 from the field, but combined for eight turnovers against the Cavs.

Louisville went through multiple scoring droughts during the game, allowing Virginia to stay close. With only two established scoring options in Durr and Hines-Allen, the Cavaliers were able to cause dry spells for the two stars.

Jackson’s injury isn’t the first Louisville has encountered this season. Junior guard Arica Carter entered 2016-2017 nursing a hernia injury. Expected to make a mid-season return, Carter had season-ending surgery in December. The loss of Carter took away an experienced ball handler for Walz.

While Moore only sits out one game, Jackson hasn’t played since Feb. 6 and her return is murky.

“I’m not sure if B.J. will be able to play (this week), because of her back. She tweaked it again the other day,” Walz said. “We’re going through the process with her now. If we can possibly get her back for the NCAA Tournament, I think that’s a realistic goal. We’re going to take things slow.”

For Louisville to take a deep postseason run, the Cardinals need all of their players healthy and focused.

Photo by Laurel Slaughter / The Louisville Cardinal

About Dalton Ray

Sports editor (2016-2018) that is technically award winning.Email: dray@louisvillecardinal.com

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