LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville dominated Murray State from the opening tip as the No. 4 Cardinals bench spurred a record-breaking performance.
Kylee Shook scored a career-high 21 points, one of five Cardinals bench players to post a career best in points in Louisville’s 115-51 rout of the Racers. Sophomore Bionca Dunham had career highs of 19 points and 16 rebounds. Sydney Zambrotta, another sophomore , scored 16 points in the win. Freshman Dana Evans finished with 14.
The Cardinals (6-0) set a school record for points in the victory.
“Four of our five in double figures come off the bench and that’s important because we have to have that depth and balance,” coach Jeff Walz said.
Sam Fuehring scored a layup four seconds into the game to give Louisville a lead it would not relinquish, and by the time the second quarter started, Walz had given playing time to all 11 of his healthy players.
The reserves, who combined for 76 points, led the way for the Cardinals. Louisville, which led 57-22 at halftime, had nine players score in the first quarter alone. Of the five Louisville players who scored in double figures, four were reserves.
The players said it was great to see that outburst as it will give them something to build on for the rest of the season.
“It gives me confidence to shoot more because I’m always hesitant,” said Shook, a 6-foot-4 sophomore forward who entered Friday averaging 5.2 points a game.
Louisville outrebounded its in-state foes by a 58-26 margin and forced 26 turnovers. The Racers (1-4) shot just 29.5 percent for the game.
Twice previously, the Cardinals had scored 109 points in a game. That last time occurred against Coastal Carolina on Dec. 18, 1996.
Murray State: One bright note for the Racers, picked to finish eighth in the Ohio Valley Conference, was the play of Abria Gulledge. The 6-foot junior finished with 18 points.
Louisville: The Cardinals had a five-day layoff between games, and Walz had given his players a couple days off a week-long stretch that featured wins over three ranked teams and another team that reached the NCAA Tournament last season. Louisville showed no signs of rust as they used a 16-2 first quarter run to take command of the game.
After scoring eight points and posting 12 rebounds Friday, Louisville forward Myisha Hines-Allen will make her way to Lexington tomorrow for the annual football game between the Cardinals and archrival Kentucky. However, her allegiances will be a bit divided.
Her brother is Josh Allen, a junior linebacker for the Wildcats who ranks among the Southeastern Conference leaders in sacks. The siblings stay in close contact with one another, even when their seasons overlap.
Some analysts consider him a possible first-round prospect if he were to enter next spring’s NFL Draft.
“I just try to help him out in any way possible,” said Hines-Allen, who herself is considered the No. 24 player in espnW’s top 25 women’s college players. “Doesn’t matter what it is. I’m just happy for him and everything that he’s done so far.”
If either top-ranked Connecticut or No. 2 Texas falter Saturday, the Cardinals win could put them in position to make more history. If Louisville were to ascend to third, it would match the highest ever ranking for the program. The Cardinals held that spot for four weeks from Feb. 17 to March 10, 2014.
Murray State: The Racers return to action on Wednesday when they host East Tennessee State.
Louisville: The Cardinals don’t play again until next Thursday, when they begin a two-game road trip. That’s when they’ll play at Indiana in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge before venturing to South Dakota State on Sunday.