LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Shots began falling again for Myisha Hines-Allen and Asia Durr, a potent combination that has often resulted in good things for Louisville.
The duo certainly had their chances thanks to the Cardinals’ aggressive philosophy that overwhelmed Marquette early and built a comfortable cushion they rode into their second consecutive Sweet 16 berth just down the road.
Hines-Allen had 24 points and 13 rebounds, Asia Durr scored 19 points and top-seeded Louisville quickly pounced on No. 8 seed Marquette on the way to a 90-72 victory Sunday in the second round of the women’s NCAA Tournament.
The Cardinals (34-2) advanced to their second consecutive Sweet 16 and will play 80 miles east in next weekend’s regional in Lexington, Kentucky.
Hines-Allen and Durr made sure of that right away by combining for 26 points on 12-of-14 shooting in the first half after the duo totaled just 13 points in a first-round rout of Boise State. Hines-Allen made her first 10 shots and 12 of 16 overall to earn her 16th double-double this season.
Marquette could do little to stop Hines-Allen or Louisville on either end as the Cardinals outscored the Golden Eagles 60-36 in the paint.
“Our advantage was inside, and that’s what we tried to do,” said Hines-Allen, who had 11 defensive rebounds. “Once we got the defensive rebounds we ran in transition too, so we got a lot of open layups, open looks.”
Added Marquette coach Carolyn Kieger, “We tried different schemes and tried to throw different stuff, but we’re just one too many big-bodies short.”
Durr meanwhile snapped out of a modest slump to finish 8 of 15 from the field and 3 of 6 from behind the arc. The junior guard yelled after making her first 3 during a 9-0 run that put Louisville ahead for good at 15-9 and went up from there.
“When she saw the ball go in, I know she felt better,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said of Durr.
Their offensive recovery keyed Louisville’s 70 percent shooting effort in the first half and 64 percent for the game. The Cardinals’ accuracy offset being outscored 45-38 by Marquette (24-10) after halftime.
Sam Fuehring had a career-high 19 points and eight rebounds and Jazmine Jones 14 points as the Cardinals won their ninth in a row.
Defense again was a big factor for Louisville, which dominated the rebounding margin 42-26 and disrupted Marquette’s rhythm to set up chances on the other end.
Allazia Blockton had a career-high 34 points and Erika Davenport 11 for Marquette (24-10), which shot 41 percent.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles picked up the pace in the second half, but rarely got closer than 17 points, symbolizing their game-long struggle to keep up. They rarely got good looks against the Cardinals’ pressure and couldn’t overcome size disadvantages in the post. One game after scoring a program-record 32 points with eight 3-pointers against Dayton, guard Natisha Hiedeman managed just nine points with one 3.
“We just lacked focus in the first half, which led us to a bad start,” Hiedeman said.
Louisville: The Cardinals weren’t concerned by their top scorers’ recent struggles and believed that Durr and Hines-Allen — playing her home finale — would eventually knock down shots. They did, with help from Louisville’s athleticism that overwhelmed Marquette. The Cardinals also had a season-high 27 assists.
Durr and Fuehring teased Hines-Allen about whether she’d cry after being asked about closing her home finale. The senior forward paused and initially tried to defer answering but held her emotions in check until tearing up at the end of her response.
“I consider everyone that I’ve met here my family, and I hope I made a good impression on them,” she said. “I am just so thankful. …”
Louisville will face the Stanford-Florida Gulf Coast winner in Friday’s regional semifinal in Lexington.