By Sam Draut–

The No. 7 University of Louisville women’s basketball team defeated Eastern Kentucky 76-42, pushing the Cardinals’ record to a perfect 8-0.

Coming off of the Hardwood Tournament of Hope in Mexico and a road game versus UT Martin, the Cardinals returned home for the first time since November 11, but came out sluggish, falling behind 6-0 within the first four minutes.  U of L then took control of the game.

The slow start can be attributed to the tiring travel in the past week or the level of focus going into the game.

“We’re tired, we’re a tired group and I was concerned about that, we needed a day off, the kids need a chance to get acclimated with school and get some rest, when you look at our travel schedule it’s been crazy,” head coach Jeff Walz said.

“We just weren’t mentally prepared for this game, we came out and picked it up a little bit, but we kind of lollygagged for the first few minutes,” junior guard Shoni Schimmel said.

After the slow start, senior forward Monique Reid came off the bench and ignited the run with five points in two minutes.  Reid finished with 11 points and 6 rebounds.

“After the first four or five minutes we started to do some good things, we brought the basketball up the floor,” Walz said.

The bench outscored the starters, providing 41 points and a much need boost after U of L started 0-10 from the field.

“I think our bench gave us a spark, for them to give us that spark was great for us,” Shoni Schimmel said, who finished with 12 points.

Sophomore guard Jude Schimmel led the way for the Cardinals with a career high 12 points, she also had 6 rebounds and 6 assists.

Schimmel credited her breakout sophomore campaign to her improvement in confidence and mentality on the game.

Sara Hammond finished with eight points and seven rebounds, Cortnee Walton added eight points and five rebounds, while fellow forward Shawnta’ Dyer added seven points and five rebounds.

The focus now turns to the No. 9 Kentucky Wildcats, who come to the KFC YUM! Center on Sunday Dec. 2 at 6:00 p.m.

“Sunday’s a big game, obviously it’s our next game, the next one is always a big one, we have two top 10 teams playing here,” Walz said.

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Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal