By Matt Bradshaw —
Senior classes with fantastic players are no stranger to the women’s basketball program. Head coach Jeff Walz has consistently graduated all-around greats in the past 10 years, led by the likes of Angel McCoughtry, Shoni Schimmel and Monique Reid.
This year is no different. Asia Durr, Sam Fuehring and Arica Carter have capped their terrific careers with a successful regular season. Similarly, No. 3 Louisville (26-2, 13-3) capped off its home slate with a 92-62 thumping of No. 10 NC State (24-4, 11-4) on senior night.
Durr was the story of the game, breaking records and making it look easy. She scored 47 points with an ACC/program record 11 three-pointers. The Georgia native tied her career high for points in a game and outscored the Wolfpack for most of the contest.
“It was a great team night,” redshirt senior Carter said. “Asia had it going and we kept feeding her the ball. She had 47 and made it look easy.”
Only giving Durr credit for the win draws attention from a productive offense overall. Louisville shot out to a 36-13 lead in the first quarter, spurred by some of the best team-play from the Cardinals all season.
“That first quarter, Asia goes 8-for-11 and 6-of-8 from three,” head coach Jeff Walz said. “But we had 10 assists on 14 made field goals. That’s what excites me, because her teammates were like, ‘Okay, she’s on.’ They got her the basketball in places to score. It was teammates getting her open, setting good screens, and she did what she can do and that’s put the ball in the basket.”
When asked how much fun she had scoring 47 points, Durr focused on how much her teammates helped.
“Obviously I had a great game, but I have to give credit to my team,” Durr said. “They found me on the floor. They made great passes. It takes a great team to do that. This is not just about me. You’re stupid if you think that.”
The 30-point win against a top-10 opponent is significant for one pressing reason, putting Louisville in a tie with Notre Dame for first place in the ACC standings.
Overall, the victory speaks to the culmination of success through this senior class. Durr, Fuehring and Carter are now two wins away from becoming the winningest class in program history. Walz had a lot to say about them.
“Asia came in with a lot of hype,” Walz said. “You’ve got to give her credit because she’s lived up to it. It hasn’t always been easy. She had surgery before her freshman year and then it was managing her playing time, getting her back. Her sophomore year she starts to do what she can do. And then the rest, we all know what she did last year and what she’s been doing this year.”
Though not breaking records in the fashion of Durr, Fuehring and Carter bring a vital level of play to the success of Louisville.
“For AC and Sam, I’m just really excited for them,” Walz said. “What these two have done within our program is what doesn’t happen very often in college athletics. Not just women’s basketball, but college athletics. They come in as freshmen and don’t play a ton. Sophomore year gets a little more playing time. Then they get back in the gym and they kept working, developing their game. As juniors, they had breakout years for us. It helped take a team to the Final Four.”
Fuehring finished senior night with a double-double of 12 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Carter struggled from the field early on with two quick fouls, but she persisted and converted her lone field goal in the fourth quarter.
With one game left in the regular season, the trio of seniors have combined for these numbers throughout their collegiate careers: 3,999 points, 1,302 rebounds and 760 assists. Durr sits behind McCoughtry at second in program history with 2,326 points.
“It feels amazing to hear the crowd go crazy for her,” Fuehring said. “I feel good for her. It’s excited to be a part of something like that.”
Louisville travels to face Pittsburgh for its regular season finale on Sunday, March 3 at 2 p.m.
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Photos by Taris Smith / The Louisville Cardinal