By Sam Draut–
Myisha Hines-Allen returned to play after her one game absence, but it was fellow sophomore Mariya Moore who led Louisville to its 14th-consecutive win.
Moore scored 26 points and Louisville defeated Wake Forest 78-54 at the KFC YUM! Center on Sunday as the Cardinals remained undefeated in ACC play and in sole possession of first place in the conference.
In her previous two games against Syracuse and Clemson, Moore shot 29-percent from the field and averaged 6.5 points over the span. But, the Cardinals second-leading scorer this season found her shot. She made five three-pointers and added five rebounds.
Moore missed her first two three-pointers, but coach Jeff Walz urged her to keep shooting.
“He kept saying ‘shoot or you’re going to come out,'” Moore said.
After shooting 2 of 5 from the field in the first quarter, Moore found her rhythm in the second quarter. She scored 11 points and made three three-pointers before halftime.
“There was one point in the game when the shot clock was running out,” Moore said. “I just threw it up and it went in and I was like ‘okay’, I’m in a rhythm now.”
Along with her perimeter scoring, Walz was pleased to see Moore do more than make shots from behind the arc. She made 5 of 7 free-throws, two layups and a mid-range jumper.
“She goes 3 of 5 inside of the three point line, which is what she needs to do expand her game,” Walz said.
Wake Forest (11-11 overall, 2-7 in the ACC) took a five-point lead, its largest of the game, with 2:57 left in the first quarter. Louisville responded to the deficit and reeled off an 11-0 run to take a 19-13 lead.
Asia Durr closed out the game in the fourth quarter, scoring nine of her 18 points in the final period of play. The freshman has been the Cardinals third leading scorer in the ACC.
“I was trying to stay aggressive,” Durr said.
She made 8 of 9 free-throws.
Durr said the team’s main focus was defense, particularly on limiting fouls.
Wake Forest went to the free-throw line 11 times compared to Louisville’s 25 trips to the charity stripe. Beyond only committing 12 fouls, Louisville scored 26 points off of 25 Demon Deacon turnovers.
“We did a nice job trying to disrupt them offensively,” Walz said.
While the defense inhibited Wake Forest’s scoring, the Cardinal offense opened the first period of playing shooting 22.7-percent from the field. Louisville turned around the poor shooting start in the second quarter, boosting its percentage to over 40-percent.
“Once we slowed down a little bit we started making shots,” Walz said.
The 14th-ranked Cardinals (17-5 overall, 9-0 in the ACC) were without their leading scorer Hines-Allen on Thursday night’s 75-33 win over Clemson. The 6-foot-2 forward missed a few days of practice and the game because of a death in her family.
It took Hines-Allen the first half to get adjusted back to gameplay, but she scored six points in the second half and finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
With the win, Louisville takes a half-game lead over Notre Dame for first place in the ACC. The Irish play Duke on Monday and come to the KFC YUM! Center next Sunday.