Louisville women handle Stanford 86-59 in NCAA Sweet 16

GARY B. GRAVES (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Louisville quelled concerns about handling Stanford's tough defense with a fast tempo and athleticism that consistently converted opportunities.

The top-seeded Cardinals also imposed their will defensively on Stanford, resulting in yet another decisive victory to move within a win of reaching the Final Four.

Asia Durr had 24 points, Myisha Hines-Allen added 17 and Louisville rolled past No. 4 seed Stanford 86-59 on Friday night in the women's NCAA Tournament Lexington Region semifinal.

Arica Carter had 13 points and Jazmine Jones 10 for the Cardinals (35-2), who trailed for just 53 seconds to win their 10th consecutive game and advance to their first regional final since 2014 and fourth since 2009. Louisville thrived offensively, shooting 52 percent and building a lead that reached 27 points with 1:24 remaining to finish their third consecutive NCAA Tournament rout.

And to think, Louisville coach Jeff Walz wasn't sure how his team would respond to Stanford's pressure.

''We knew coming in we were going to have our hands full,'' the coach said. ''We knew were going to have to play extremely well, and I thought we did that.''

Hines-Allen made 8 of 15 baskets and surpassed 2,000 career points to move into third place all-time.

''Not a lot of people can get that,'' said the senior forward, who also grabbed five rebounds. ''Angel McCoughtry, Shoni Schimmel in this program have gotten it. Just to be with those type of players is amazing, and I know Asia Durr is about to be up there, too, soon.''

Brittany McPhee had 15 points and Dijonai Carrington 14 for Stanford, which hoped to upset a tournament top seed for the third straight March in Lexington after knocking out Notre Dame the previous two years.

The Cardinal bench outscored Louisville 23-13, but Stanford committed 19 turnovers leading to 22 points.

''They have a combination of athleticism and aggressiveness, size,'' coach Tara VanDerveer said of Louisville. ''They really extended their defense on us, and I think that we - intellectually, we knew that was going to happen, but you can't -it's hard to kind of talk to people about this is what's going to happen.

''And when it happens, it's a little bit different.''

BIG PICTURE

Stanford: The Cardinal started out doing what it needed to stay with Louisville offensively, outshooting the Cardinals 73 percent to 65 percent in the first quarter. But Stanford still trailed by six, and that early statistic demonstrated its struggle to slow down the athletic Cardinals. With that went the Cardinal's goal of toppling a top seed for the third straight spring.

''They just knocked down a lot of shots,'' Carrington said of Louisville. ''They were very aggressive on the offensive boards from the one to the five (spots). We didn't match that today.''

Louisville: Playing just under 80 miles east of home with many of 5,715 clad in red at Rupp Arena, the Cardinals gave them a lot to cheer by clicking in many areas. They outrebounded Stanford 34-29, controlled the paint and outraced the Cardinal in the late-evening contest. Hines-Allen set the initial tempo on offense before Durr and others chipped in. Forward Sam Fuehring had 11 rebounds and nine points.

''We were trying to push the ball,'' Durr said. ''Our point guards have done a great job of doing that, and our posts as well. Our posts are spreading the floor, and it's fun to play like that. I think we did a great job of spreading the floor tonight.''

UP NEXT

Louisville faces No. 6 seed Oregon State in Sunday's regional final. The Cardinals won the inaugural meeting 61-43 in November 2012.

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