AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Louisville put its undefeated record up against winless Air Force on Wednesday.
The test proved more difficult than most would have thought.
Myisha Hines-Allen scored 16 points and freshman Dana Evans tied a career high with 14 points and No. 3 Louisville struggled in a 62-50 victory over the Falcons.
Louisville coach Jeff Walz wasn’t impressed.
“Hopefully, if we’re smart we’re going to learn from it,” he said. “You can be upset, which is fine. You should be. We didn’t play well.”
The Cardinals (14-0) won with scoring leader Asia Durr sitting out with back spasms. Starting guard Arica Carter also missed the game and is day-to-day with a left foot injury.
Jazmine Jones had nine points, and Sam Fuehring added eight for Louisville. Kylee Shook added four points and 13 rebounds in her return to her hometown.
In a sloppy effort for the Cardinals, they were just 20 of 51 from the field and missed all eight of their shots from 3-point range. They also had 22 turnovers.
Simply put, “I feel like we didn’t play like the No. 3 team in the country today,” Hines-Allen said.
Kaelin Immel led Air Force (0-11) with 17 points, and Dee Bennett had 12.
Falcons coach Chris Gobrecht credited her team’s scrappy defensive performance afterward.
“We didn’t back down,” Gobrecht said. “It would’ve been easy with that level of athlete across from you and that kind of skill across from you. … We battled.”
The Cardinals led by as many as 18 in the opening half, but the Falcons stuck around well into the third quarter. Air Force used a 10-3 run to close to 39-30 with 4:29 left in the third before the Cardinals pushed the lead back to 17 by the end of the quarter.
Hines-Allen went the length of the floor and beat the buzzer with a layup to make it 53-36. Air Force had trouble stopping the size and speed of Hines-Allen all game long. The 6-foot-2 senior forward shot 7 of 9 from the field.
“Obviously she shot it at a high percentage for us, but I thought she passed up some shots she’d usually take,” Walz said. “I think the altitude affected her.”
Early on, the Cardinals missed seven of their first eight shots but used a 13-0 spurt to jump out to a 18-5 lead in the opening quarter.
Louisville: The Cardinals weren’t in much danger of falling to Air Force, but they didn’t completely overwhelm the Falcons either. Despite the struggles, the Cardinals are one win away from tying their best start in program history — a feat they reached in 2006-07.
Air Force: The Falcons held tough in their first-ever meeting with Louisville. Air Force has 11 straight losses on the season, but it can feel good about how it played as a monumental underdog. The No. 3 Cardinals are the highest-ranked program Air Force has ever faced.
STAT OF THE GAME
Louisville outrebounded the Falcons 45-31.
“For us to get rebounds, we needed every single doggone person on our team plus those on the bench rebounding,” Gobrecht said. “That part was a tough matchup.”
Walz said Durr (back) and Carter (foot) should be back for the Cardinals’ next game.
“They’ll both be back,” Walz said. “Both of them will be fine and back for ACC play.”
Louisville: Begins play in the Atlantic Coast Conference when it travels to face Georgia Tech on Dec. 28.
Air Force: Kicks off its Mountain West Conference schedule by hosting New Mexico Dec. 28.