- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Not much went wrong for No. 8 Louisville on Wednesday night as it caught a dangerous foe at a vulnerable time.

Jazmine Jones scored a career-high 15 points to lead the Cardinals to a dominating 83-30 victory over South Dakota State.

The Cardinals (9-2) extended their winning streak to three games thanks to a strong start and finish to the first half. Louisville scored the game’s first 11 points and then finished the first half on a 15-0 run to take a 38-14 lead.

Jones played a big role in getting the huge lead as she scored 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the first half, easily surpassing her previous high of eight points against Chattanooga on Nov. 21.

“It’ll definitely boost my confidence as we go along this season,” Jones said.

South Dakota State (8-3), which announced Wednesday that Macy Miller would miss the rest of the season, struggled without their leading scorer. The Jackrabbits committed a season-worst 30 turnovers and shot 19.6 percent from the field.

Even without Miller, Louisville coach Jeff Walz said he told his team to not let the Jackrabbits dictate the pace. The Cardinals responded, he said, by playing their best defense all season.

“I was just really, really pleased with our physical and mental effort tonight,” he said.

Kerri Young’s 13 points led South Dakota State.

Jackrabbits coach Aaron Johnston said the biggest enemy his team has had since Miller’s leg injury, which she suffered last Friday against Green Bay, has been time. Louisville marked the second game South Dakota State has played in less than a week and the team has also had finals to take.

“We’ve had about three hours in the gym to redefine a lot of roles,” he said.

Myisha Hines-Allen and Sydney Zambrotta added 10 points each for Louisville.

BIG PICTURE

South Dakota State: Granted the Jackrabbits played one of the top teams in the country, but they seemed lost for major stretches of the game. Some of that could be due to missing Miller. Since she went out on Friday, the Jackrabbits have yet to shoot better than 33 percent from the field.

Louisville: What was considered a possible upset threat at the beginning of the season turned into a laugher early against the short-handed Jackrabbits. While the Cardinals struggled for a stretch in the first half, they still put on an impressive display against one of the top mid-major programs in Division I.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

Louisville entered Wednesday having held opponents to single-digit scoring quarters six times this season. On Wednesday, they added three more to that total, with the Jackrabbits getting 11 points in the third quarter. When you factor in the fourth quarter against Western Kentucky, the Cardinals have had four such periods in the past five quarters.

INJURIES

In announcing Miller’s status, school officials said the junior guard, who was averaging 14.9 points a game, would seek a medical redshirt for this season.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Beating a team like South Dakota State, which Walz said will still likely pile up victories even with Miller’s absence, will only serve to boost Louisville’s profile among voters. In the last 10 days, Louisville has registered solid victories over Kentucky, Western Kentucky and the Jackrabbits, all teams which figure to be in the running for tournament bids come March.

UP NEXT

South Dakota State returns home to face Bowling Green on Sunday, a team Louisville beat 83-58 on Nov. 19.

Louisville hosts Charleston on Friday in the fifth of six straight home games.

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