Dana Evans sends No. 8 Louisville past Oklahoma State 69-48

BILL KISER (The Associated Press)
The Associated Press

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) -- Louisville overcame its turnover problems with sizzling shooting behind the 3-point arc.

The Cardinals know they have to clean things up with top-ranked Oregon next on the schedule.

Dana Evans scored a career-high 28 points and No. 8 Louisville pulled away in the second half to beat Oklahoma State 69-48 on Friday at the Paradise Jam tournament.

Elizabeth Balogun added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinals (7-0), who overcame their own turnover problems to hand the Cowgirls their second straight loss.

Louisville had 21 turnovers, tying its season high, but made up for it with its defense and 47.5% shooting, including 9 of 14 on 3-pointers.

''I thought we defended extremely well,'' Cardinals coach Jeff Walz said. ''We followed the game plan, and did exactly what we had to do when we executed in the half court. We put the ball in the basket.

''But (the turnovers) is something we really have to focus on. It's been our Achilles heel this season, turning the basketball over. It's a good thing we're winning, but when you win and do that, it's hard for players to understand how it's going to come back and bite you.''

Louisville plays Oregon on Saturday to determine the tournament's Island Division champion.

Vivian Gray had 18 points for Oklahoma State (5-2), which shot just 25% and made only 5 of 18 3-pointers.

Louisville led from almost the start but had to work to get any real separation from Oklahoma State in the first half, taking a 37-25 advantage at the break.

The Cardinals turned the ball over 12 times in the first two quarters, partially offsetting the Cowgirls' shooting woes. They shot 24% in the half, including just 3 of 14 on 3-pointers.

Still, Oklahoma State was able to stay within six points before the Cardinals broke free with a 14-5 run over the next 6 1/2 minutes. Louisville extended its lead in the second half, going up 56-32 with 2:05 left in the third quarter. Oklahoma State came no closer than 16 points in the fourth quarter.

''You've got to give Louisville credit, they did a good job defensively,'' Cowgirls coach Jim Littell said. ''They got us sped up a little bit. But we had a lot of open looks from 3, a lot of open jump shots from 12-15 feet.

''If you're going to beat a top-10 team, you've got to make shots. We got off 12-13 more shots than they did, but when you shoot 18 of 71, you're not going to beat many people when you shoot that poorly.''


Louisville: The Cardinals were tested in their first two Paradise Jam games but face their biggest test Saturday against No. 1 Oregon to determine the tournament's Island Division champion.

Oklahoma State: The Cowgirls have now faced consecutive top-10 opponents for the first time since late in the 2017-18 season, when they lost to then-No. 3 Baylor and then-No. 6 Texas on Feb. 13 and Feb. 17, 2018.


Louisville: Closes out Paradise Jam against No. 1 Oregon on Saturday.

Oklahoma State: Plays Texas-Arlington on Saturday in its Paradise Jam finale.

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