Walz pleased with Louisville women's second-half effort in loss to No. 3 UConn

Despite losing to UConn for the 12th straight time, Louisville coach Jeff Walz was pleased with his team's effort.

Shoni Schimmel scored 14 points and Antonita Slaughter added 13 in the 15th-ranked Cardinals' 72-58 loss to No. 3 UConn on Tuesday night.

"You look at the score and we played them even the entire second half," Walz said. "We only turned the ball over three times in the second half, only gave up two offensive rebounds. I was really proud of the way we played."

The Cardinals trailed by 14 at the half and cut it to 11 in the second half. Slaughter had an open 3 that didn't fall which would have cut the deficit to single digits for the first time since 5 minutes were left in the first half.

"We couldn't get a six- or eight-point run together," Walz said. "We hit some great shots. Slaughter had some great looks at 3. She's going to hit that a majority of the time. She was 1 for 7 from the 3-point line. A team like this, you got to make those looks."

UConn led 16-12 midway through the first half before Bria Hartley took over. She followed up a stepback 3-pointer with a three-point play that extended the advantage to double digits for the first time.

Hartley scored 16 points, showing no ill effects from a sprained left ankle that sidelined her for the second half of the Marquette game on Saturday.

"She looked fine to me," Walz said. "She shoots the ball well."

Louisville (14-4, 2-2) got within 28-20 before the Huskies closed the half on a 9-3 run. Faris hit a 3-pointer to start the spurt and Moriah Jefferson had a nifty burst up the floor accelerating past all the Louisville players for an acrobatic layup. UConn was up 37-23 at the break.

While Hartley was able to play, UConn was missing freshman Breanna Stewart for the second straight game. The budding star sprained her left ankle in practice Friday. She did partake in pregame warmups, but didn't get into the game.

"I think she's come along a lot faster than we initially thought when she first got hurt," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "She looks good. If it was an emergency, she could have played tonight. I'm expecting her to be fully ready on Saturday."

The Huskies (15-1, 3-1 Big East) didn't need her because of Hartley.

"When she's playing like she played tonight and has the attitude she played with tonight, she makes a huge difference," Auriemma said.

Auriemma admitted he wasn't exactly sure what he was going to get out of Hartley.

"I didn't have any expectations going in," he said. "One of those, let's see what happens. She played a lot of minutes. I figured why not. She played like the old Bria. With the stretch we got coming up I don't worry about her."

UConn will host Syracuse on Saturday then play No. 4 Duke on Monday.

Stefanie Dolson also had 16 points, while Kelly Faris had 13 points and seven assists. She also had seven turnovers.

The Cardinals will be leaving for the ACC at some point over the next two years. Despite the dominance UConn has had lately, Auriemma will be sad to see them leave.

"Louisville brings out the best in us," Auriemma said. "Since (Jeff)'s gotten the job they've had incredible success. Maybe we keep playing them down the road once we find out what our situation is."


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