Megan Deines and Shoni Schimmel each scored 16 points and the No. 7 Cardinals held Gonzaga to two points over the final 8 minutes in a 55-42 victory Wednesday night in the Hardwood Tournament of Hope.
“The way they played defense was absolutely amazing,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “It’s the best defensive game we’ve played all year against a very talented Gonzaga team.”
The Cardinals had scored at least 90 points in its last three games, but struggled against Gonzaga.
Louisville (5-0) led by eight at the half before Gonzaga cut it to 44-40 with 8:12 left. That’s as close as the Bulldogs would get as the Cardinals scored the next 11 points.
“We did a great job defensively,” Walz said. “I was really pleased. Unfortunately for our players they showed we can do it so I’ll expect it more often.”
Schimmel had seven points during the burst as the Bulldogs went without a point for over 8 minutes. Danielle Walter’s layup with 2 seconds left ended the drought for the Zags, but it was too late.
Taelor Karr led Gonzaga (5-1) with nine points. The Zags shot just 30 percent from the field and the top two leading scorers—Haiden Palmer (14.4 points) and Keani Albanez (13.8)—were held without a point.
“We played well defensively to win the game,” Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said. “A couple of players who normal do it for us didn’t and if our two leading scorers go scoreless we aren’t going to beat anybody.”
“They’ve got to be ready for a ball game against a really good Oregon State team,” Walz said. “We’re going to have to find a way to play 40 minutes.”