Smith leads Louisville to rout of Loyola Chicago

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Jeff Walz feels that this may be his deepest team yet since taking over at Louisville seven seasons ago.

The fifth-ranked Cardinals showed off their roster in a 101-54 rout of Loyola Chicago on Saturday night in the first round of the Preseason WNIT.

Bria Smith scored 16 points, one of six Louisville players to score in double figures, and Sara Hammond added 11 points and 11 rebounds in the season opener for both teams. Tia Gibbs, who missed last season with a hip injury, scored 13 points.

''We're fortunate it's a game that we can get a lot of kids a lot of minutes. We'll continue to do this. It is going to come down where we're going to be in situations where it's going to be eight to 10 kids that are out there playing,'' Walz said. ''Players are going to have these opportunities here to show that, 'I deserve to be out there.' That's what I'm trying to get them all to understand, that if you don't take advantage of these opportunities to play, when it's a big game, you won't be out there.''

Louisville (1-0) led 15-9 before scoring 14 of the next 17 points - including consecutive 3-pointers from Jude Schimmel - to take control of the game. The Ramblers couldn't respond.

Walz was impressed by the play of Schimmel.

''She's not making that flashy pass, but at the end of the night when you look at her stat sheet, she does a great job,'' he said.

Schimmel's older sister Shoni also had 11 points and became the school's all-time leader in 3-pointers made with 272. She said she didn't even know about the record until after the game.

The Cardinals move on to host Quinnipiac in the second round of the tournament Monday night.

Sheryl Swoopes, who was making her debut as Loyola Chicago's coach was impressed with the Cardinals.

''To be able to have the type of depth they have, they can sub five players at a time and they don't have any letdown,'' said Swoopes.

Taylor Johnson scored 18 points for the Ramblers (0-1), who were playing their first game under the three-time WNBA MVP, who took over the program last Spring. The Ramblers were without last year's leading scorer and rebounder Simone Law, who is sidelined with a knee injury.

''For the most part I thought we did a good job of handling their press tonight,'' Swoopes said.