UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Jeff Walz knew it was important for Louisville to get off to a good start against Houston.
His third-ranked Cardinals obliged, scoring 26 of the first 30 points en route to an easy 88-43 win over Houston on Saturday night in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament.
"I love the energy we had early," Walz said. "I thought Houston played outstanding (yesterday) and we took the wind out of their sails some the way we started the game."
Louisville jumped all over the Cougars behind Shoni Schimmel and Sara Hammond. Schimmel got the Cardinals on the board hitting a 3-pointer, the 99th of the season for the senior which set a new school record. Schimmel broke Sara Nord's mark.
"It's pretty awesome to hit shots," said Schimmel, who led the team with 15 points.
Hammond had all 11 of her points in the first eight minutes for the Cardinals (29-3).
Schimmel's layup made it 30-6 midway through the first half. Houston (6-25) didn't string together consecutive baskets until nearly 14 minutes were gone in the game. Marche' Amerson's jumper made it 30-10 with 5:42 left.
Louisville led 46-19 at the half and never looked back.
"It was like an avalanche," Houston interim coach Wade Scott said. "They jumped on us very early and hit some shots. A team like Louisville you can't give them any ground or they'll take that plus a few more feet."
It only got worse for the Cougars. The Cardinals had a five-point play early in the second half. Antonita Slaughter hit a 3-pointer and on the play Destini Texada was called for a technical foul for throwing down a Louisville player. Schimmel hit the two free throws that made it 53-23.