LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Asia Durr’s final 3-pointer of the night was much like her previous six, a beautifully arced shot that came right on time for No. 8 Louisville.
Her last long-range basket put the exclamation point on a career performance in which she and the Cardinals found their games after struggling for the first 20 minutes.
Durr scored a career-high 36 points, including 18 during Louisville’s 36-point third quarter, and Mariya Moore had a triple-double as the Cardinals rallied past No. 25 Syracuse 91-76 on Thursday to open Atlantic Coast Conference play.
After making just two first-half free throws, Durr found her shot early and often after the break to key a 31-4 run for a 64-44 lead. Sam Fuehring added 10 points in the game-changing period and provided a cushion before the Orange rallied to within seven midway through the fourth.
Syracuse never got closer as Durr kept firing away, adding several more 3s down the stretch. She scored Louisville’s final five points and capped its seventh straight win with one more from long range with five seconds remaining.
“My teammates found me the ball,” said Durr, who went 10 of 18 from the field and 9 of 12 at the free throw line to top her previous career best by two points. “I was very disappointed with myself in the first half. Coach and the whole team was (disappointed), and I knew I could do better. I just tried to come out and play hard.”
Moore had 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for the seventh triple-double by a Louisville player and the program’s first since Bria Smith on Nov. 25, 2014. Myisha Hines-Allen added 18 points and 10 boards for the Cardinals (13-2, 1-0 ACC), who shot 66 percent in the second half after going just 10 of 29 before halftime.
Alexis Peterson had 31 points and Brittney Sykes 20 for Syracuse (9-5, 0-1), which led 40-33 at halftime but was overwhelmed in the third quarter and lost its second straight.
THE BIG PICTURE
Syracuse: The Orange appeared in control early behind 3-point shooting and strong defense, but couldn’t slow Louisville in the third quarter. Peterson, Sykes and Gabby Cooper (11 points) combined to make 11 of the team’s 13 long-range baskets on 37 attempts. But the Orange were beaten 45-27 on the boards and 32-20 in the paint.
“In the second half we were kind of sped up in our offense,” coach Quentin Hillsman said. “We took a lot of quick shots and a lot of shots that weren’t in rhythm. That was the biggest thing for us.”
Louisville: The Cardinals have been a different team since losing to Maryland and didn’t seem fazed by a cold-shooting start. They finished at 51 percent from the field behind Durr, who topped her previous career best against Bowling Green last month.
“She looked scared and I have no understanding why and I told her that at halftime,” coach Jeff Walz said. “I was like, ‘You are catching it at the free throw line and you weren’t even looking to score.’ She is a scorer and that is what she has to do for us and I thought in the second half she finally started to attack.”
More encouraging was the free throw shooting that helped the Cardinals stay close despite their sluggish start. Louisville made 11 of 12 in the first half and 20 of 24 overall, its second-most makes this season.
Louisville should remain in the Top 10 while Syracuse could fall out of the rankings after consecutive losses.
Sara Nord had three triple-doubles, Angel McCoughtry two and Smith one before Moore’s effort that helped key the comeback win. The junior shot just 3 of 9 but found others, especially Durr.
“I didn’t realize until the end of the game,” Moore said, “and I was trying to get every person that was making shots open, which was Asia and Myisha.”
Louisville played without freshman forward Kylee Shook, who sprained her right ankle this week in practice and wore a walking boot during the game.
Syracuse: Hosts Virginia on Monday night in search of its fifth straight win over the Cavaliers. The Orange lead the series 4-3.
Louisville: Visits No. 15 Duke on Monday in the first of consecutive ACC road games. The Cardinals won 65-48 last season to tie the series 2-2.
More AP College Basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.