Louisville's women built a 16 point lead late in the first half and looked on their way to ending a three-game losing streak against Kentucky.
But Janee Thompson scored 19 points and Jennifer O'Neill added 17 to help No. 13 Kentucky beat the No. 7 Cardinals 77-68 Sunday.
"It's one game," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. "Now we're on to the next. Unfortunately for us, it's been four years and we're not thrilled with this. There's no question about it, but what do you want me to do? Throw in the tent and say, 'OK, we quit?'"
Myisha Hines-Allen led the Cardinals (8-1) with 17 points and nine rebounds and Bria Smith added 15 points.
After Thompson hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to tie it at 66, Louisville followed with a turnover and O'Neill converted a pair of free throws with 2:33 to play to give the Wildcats(8-1) a 68-66 lead.
"There was a lot more energy," Louisville freshman Myisha Hines-Allen said of Kentucky in the second half. "I think in the first half, if we did something bad the whole team would encourage us to fix it. In the second half it was off and on."
Linnae Harper and O'Neill followed with layups to pull away for good.
The Wildcats trailed by 16 with 6:44 to play in the first half and 42-29 at the half, but stormed back to outscore the Cardinals by 22 in the second half.
Bria Goss scored 11 points and Makayla Epps had 10 for Kentucky.
"It was about runs, and they were able to get stops and we weren't" Louisville freshman Mariya Moore said. "We need to work on our 1-on-1 defense to stop the ball.
Sunday was the 51st meeting between Kentucky and Louisville, but the fifth time they met with both teams were ranked in the AP Top 25. Kentucky leads the series 34-17.
SECOND HALF SURGE
Kentucky's 48 points in the second half were the third most this season. The Wildcats had 53 against Appalachian State and 50 against Baylor.
Kentucky: Azia Bishop went to the bench with 12:52 to play in the opening half with three fouls, she then comitted an early foul in the second and finished with just 10 minutes and two points after fouling out. ... The Wildcats' 29 points in the first half was their third lowest this season.
Louisville: The Cardinals won 19-straight non-conference games entering Sunday's contest. ... Sara Hammond made a pair of free throws with less than a minute to play in the first half for her 1,000th point.
Kentucky: Hosts Middle Tennessee State on Friday.
Louisville: Hosts Old Dominion on Monday, Dec. 15.