No. 4 Louisville pulls away late to beat North Carolina
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Louisville finished its weeklong trip with a flourish.
Asia Durr scored 19 points to help the fourth-ranked Cardinals rally past North Carolina 67-57 on Sunday.
Arica Carter added 14 points for Louisville (27-2, 13-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), which finished 8-0 on the road in conference play for the second time in four years.
The Cardinals spent all week away from home, playing at top-ranked Connecticut on Monday and Boston College on Thursday before heading south for the weekend.
“I’m looking forward to seeing my family, and I know they’re all excited to get back in their own beds,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “It’s been a good week, though. We’ve had a lot of opportunities to bond as a team.”
Durr made two 3-pointers as part of a 9-0 spurt to give the Cardinals a 51-45 lead early in the fourth quarter. She left the game with an injured right ankle with 8:21 to play and did not return.
Louisville pulled away with a 12-2 run down the stretch, getting two 3-pointers by Carter.
Myisha Hines-Allen scored all 10 of her points in the second half for the Cardinals, whose only lead before the fourth quarter was 4-2.
Janelle Bailey scored 20 points and Paris Kea had 14 for North Carolina (14-13, 4-10).
The Tar Heels suffered their seventh consecutive loss, tied for their longest skid since the 1990-91 season.
“It’s not about the losses,” North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “It’s about how we play. The kids busted their behinds out there today. They played good team basketball, and we got better. We played a good game against a great team.”
Louisville: The Cardinals were far from their best, perhaps feeling the effects of a long stretch of travel. The game was Louisville’s fifth away from home in its last six games overall, but the Cardinals showed grit in the fourth quarter with Durr sidelined. Walz said Durr’s injury did not appear to be serious. “She’s a big part of our team,” Carter said. “But when she’s not on the court, we have to continue to play and show teams that we can still win if she has to be out.”
North Carolina: The Tar Heels gave a spirited effort, looking nothing like a team that had not won in four weeks. They gave Louisville all it could handle before fading in the fourth quarter. North Carolina shot just 7 of 28 in the second half. “We gave them about all we had, really,” Hatchell said.
Walz asked for no sympathy after his team’s long week. He said Louisville stayed on the road to make life easier for his players by allowing them to get regular sleep and avoid extra flights.
“We’re staying at a nice hotel, we’re getting a good night’s sleep,” he said. “It’s not like we’re pitching a tent and staying outside.”
Point guard Jamie Cherry ignited North Carolina’s strong first half with her penetration. She made 1 of 2 shots from the field and had six assists and two turnovers. In the second half, Cherry shot 1 of 10 and had no assists and three turnovers.
Players and coaches for both teams wore pink as part of Play4Kay, a fundraising initiative of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Yow, a Hall of Fame coach at North Carolina State, died of cancer in 2009 after a 22-year battle with the disease.
HE SAID IT
“She’s nothing fancy. I say it all the time: She’s perfect for the YMCA 50-and-over men’s league. That’s exactly how she plays.” — Walz on Carter, who made 4 of 6 3-point tries.
Louisville hosts Virginia on Thursday night.
North Carolina plays its final home game of the regular season on Thursday night against Syracuse.