LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jazmine Jones’ turned her new-found comfort zone with her game into an impressive opening win for No. 9 Louisville.
Jones scored 12 points and the Cardinals used a dominant start to defeat Southeast Missouri State 80-40 on Friday night in a WNIT first-round game.
“I just feel more comfortable out on the court and it just feels so right,” the sophomore guard said.
After missing their first two shots, the Cardinals made nine of their next 14. Meanwhile, the RedHawks missed their first nine shots and trailed 16-0 before LaTrese Saine made a pair of free throws at the 3:15 mark.
Ashton Luttrull hit a 3-pointer for Southeast Missouri State that made it 22-5, but the Cardinals closed the first half on a 14-0 run to lead 42-11.
Dana Evans and Kylee Shook each had 11 points and Bionca Dunham 10 off the bench for Louisville.
Tesia Thompson had 10 points for the Redhawks, who scored 15 points in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth.
Southeast Missouri State: This is the Redhawks’ first-ever appearance in the preseason WNIT. … The Redhawks lost 97-43 at Louisville in their only previous meeting in 2010.
Louisville: The Cardinals are participating in the WNIT for the second time, winning the 2013 title with a 97-92 win over Oklahoma. … They are coming off a 29-8 season that ended in the Sweet 16. … Asia Durr was named the ACC preseason Player of the Year after averaging 19.2 points last year. She scored eight points. … Jeff Walz entered his 11th season as the all-time winningest coach at Louisville with a 163-93 record. … The Cardinals have reached the Sweet 16 seven times in his 10 years with three Elite Eight appearances and two trips to the Final Four.
Louisville shot 53 percent in the first quarter while Southeast Missouri went 1 of 10 from the field. The Cardinals had 22 assists on 29 baskets and went 8 of 18 from 3-point range. The RedHawks were 1 of 10 behind the arc and had 28 turnovers, leading to 33 Louisville points. Nine of the turnovers came in the first quarter. The rebounding difference was 44 to 28 for the Cardinals with Myisha Hines-Allen grabbing 11 in just 15 minutes.
Southeast Missouri State has its home opener on Monday against Missouri Valley.
Louisville will play at No. 5 Ohio State on Sunday.