LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- After committing 10 first-half turnovers against Portland, the No. 9 Louisville women were on pace for a lot of wind sprints in their next practice.
"Our one goal was to not turn the ball over more than 15 times. And if we did, for each one over 15 we were going to run on Tuesday," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said.The Cardinals (2-0) can breathe easy as they took better care of the basketball in the second half of Sunday's 95-48 win against the Pilots (0-2)."We only turned it over three times in the second half so I was really proud of them," Walz said.It was a marked improvement from Louisville's 12 second-half turnovers that nearly derailed Friday's 47-45 opening night win against No. 15 Texas A&M.Five Cardinals scored in double figures Sunday, led by Shoni Schimmel's 16 points."It was a good one to get under our belt, especially coming off Friday," Schimmel said. Her sister, Jude, had the Cardinals' winning basket in the opener.Bria Smith scored 15, Sheronne Vails had 13, freshman Megan Deines added 12 and Shawnta' Dyer scored 10 for Louisville.Kari Luttinen and Ellen Nurmi each had 10 points for the Pilots.Louisville opened the game on a 17-2 run and never trailed. The Cardinals forced 19 first-half turnovers, including 12 steals, out of their full court zone press and held the Pilots to just nine field goals. Portland turned the ball over 32 times in all.Deines' putback at the buzzer gave Louisville a 48-25 halftime advantage.Louisville had an 11-4 run after halftime, capped by Deines' three from the left corner to give the Cardinals a 59-30 edge.Louisville had 11 players score, 10 in the first half. Freshman Cortnee Walton's steal and layup put her in the scoring column with 3:32 remaining and gave Louisville an 88-44 lead."I'd love to have games like this to be able to use that many players, but that's not realistic," Walz said. "Sometimes we may just use seven or eight players."It was a much different offensive outing for Louisville than Friday night's opener against No. 15 Texas A&M.The Cardinals spurted to a 10-point halftime lead against the Aggies but were stifled by A&M's size in the second half. Louisville rallied though and won 47-45."That first game was just a grind," Walz said. "I wasn't sure if we could score 50 points all season. We're going to have games where we grind it out 47-45 and then we'll have some games like today."The matchup against Texas A&M served Louisville well when the Pilots shifted defenses."It was a different game for everybody in that it was an easier game to get things going," Schimmel said. "They sat in zone for the most part but when they went to man, it was easier to run different plays from our offense. What helped us was playing against man against Texas A&M."Louisville travels to Austin Peay Thursday, the first of five games away from home that includes three games in the Nov. 20-22 Hardwood Tournament of Hope in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico."It's going to be a challenge for us," Walz said of the upcoming road trip. "I think it's going to show a lot about our character."