The Louisville women’s basketball team ran away with an 89-69 win in Friday night’s season opener at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Cardinals (1-0) had a 21-point lead at the half over Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; and IUPUI (0-1) did cut it down to a 15-point deficit in the second half, but it was all Louisville all night. This is Louisville’s fourth consecutive season-opening win; the team’s coming off an Elite 8 appearance, and a 33-5 record in 2013-14.
The Cardinals took control from the opening whistle with a 10-point lead in the first five minutes, and Cardinal point guard Jude Schimmel finished 4-of-10 from the floor for nine points with one coming from beyond the arc. She had six steals and four assists in 29 minutes of play.
“We have basically a whole new team this year. Our chemistry off the floor is so good, we just need to find a way to make it flow on the floor,” Schimmel told ICTMN. “Personally, I felt like I did alright. There are a few things I can fix, but it’s not my goal to go out there and score 20 points a night. I just want to give my team what it needs. I feel that’s a pretty fine stat line coming from a 5-foot-5 point guard.”
In a game with such a fast start, Louisville coach Jeff Walz was able to play his entire bench. His Freshman Mariya Moore knocked down 22 points in her NCAA debut. Schimmel said that hte team's offense by committee and strong defense is what she likes most about this team.
“This year I feel our defense is so much stronger than it has been the past few years,” she said. “Our defense should lead to our offense. If we can get everybody to pitch in – five points here, 10 points there...Our team needs a little bit of everything from everyone.”
The game in Indianapolis was also the first time in three years that she hasn’t played with sister Shoni, who has moved on to the WNBA.
“Because my sister’s gone, it’s similar to my senior year in high school. But this team is so much better than that high school team,” Schimmel said with a laugh. “That team in high school was not good at all. I’m excited this year because I really like teammates. We all know what we need to bring to the table and I’m looking forward to this year.”
The Cardinals will host the University of Tennessee-Martin in KFC Yum! Center on Sunday at 2 p.m. EST.