Hot start propels No. 5 Louisville over Virginia 71-56

NCAA Basketball
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)Dana Evans scored 21 points and No. 5 Louisville beat Virginia 71-56 Thursday night for their 11th straight win.

The Cardinals (19-1, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) used a 16-2 run over a nearly seven-minute stretch in the first half to take control. Louisville shot 71.4% in the first quarter and led by 20 in the second.

Evans, the league’s reigning player of the week, kept her hot hand early as she scored 15 points in the first half. In a matchup of the ACC’s top scorers, she outdueled league leader Jocelyn Willoughby to give coach Jeff Walz his 350th career victory.

The Cavaliers (7-12, 2-6) were able to cut into the lead in the second half but couldn’t get within single digits.

After Virginia made it 46-36 on Shemera Williams’ free throw with 1:12 left in the third quarter, Jazmine Jones ended a seven-minute field goal drought for Louisville and scored the next five points to end the Cavaliers’ run.

Jones scored 13 points, 11 after halftime.

Virginia, which shot just 36.2%, was led by Williams, a freshman who scored a season-high 20 points off the bench. Willoughby finished with 17 on 6-of-14 shooting.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: The Cavaliers came into Louisville having played the nation’s toughest schedule. They looked outmatched early, and the large first-half deficit was too much to overcome as they shot below 40% for the 12th time this season.

Louisville: Just like they did Sunday at North Carolina, the Cardinals got off to a hot start, only to fade in the second half. They scored 25 points in that torrid first quarter but shot just 34.9% the rest of the way.

UP NEXT

Virginia returns home to host Notre Dame on Sunday.

Louisville plays host to Pittsburgh on Sunday.

More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/Womenscollegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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