LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville coach Jeff Walz was looking for more balance on offense and the Cardinals responded.
Tia Gibbs led No. 5 Louisville with 19 points — one of four players in double figures scoring — and the Cardinals tallied their 15th straight win with a 79-59 victory over the Bulls, tying the program's longest win streak set in 2006-07.
Gibbs was 5 of 7 from three-point range and 4 of 4 from the free throw line. Shoni Schimmel added 14 points while Antonita Slaughter had 12 points.
Walz said he needed Gibbs, who started and played 26 minutes, and Antonita Slaughter to step up, and they played a key role when the game was tight early.
In what has become a recent trend for Louisville, the Cardinals took a while to get their offense going. They started off 1 of 11 from the field - including 0 for 6 from three-point range — but picked up speed midway through the first half.
"I thought we had very good shots, they just weren't going in, but we continued to defend," Walz said.
After missing her first six shot attempts, Schimmel made a short jumper to put Louisville (22-1, 10-0 AAC) up 22-16 with 7:53 left in the first half.
USF (11-10, 6-4) fell behind by 10 but rallied. After Walz was called for a technical foul, the Bulls scored seven unanswered points capped by a three-pointer by Inga Orekhova to make it 32-28 with 4:28 left.
Schimmel and Antonita Slaughter responded with back-to-back three-pointers, and Louisville closed out the first half on a 13-0 run to lead 45-28 at halftime.