ATLANTA (AP) — Louisville is accustomed to scoring at will in the ACC. It leads the league in offense, field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage, but the Cardinals can defend pretty well, too.
“It was a good defensive game," forward Kylee Shook said after the Cardinals beat Georgia Tech 58-47 on Thursday night. “We knew they can drive amazing and their posts can score, so we did a good job helping out. We were strong on the perimeter, too.”
Jazmine Jones scored 18 points, Dana Evans added 14 and No. 5 Louisville won its third straight. Shook finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Cardinals (24-3, 13-2 Atlantic Coast Conference).
The outcome was never in doubt after Lotta-Maj Lahtinen hit a layup to pull Georgia Tech (17-10, 8-8) within three late in the third period. Led by their three upperclassmen, the Cardinals had too much skill and depth for the Yellow Jackets to match.
But it was Louisville's perimeter defense that really shined, holding the Jackets to 1 for 12 on 3-pointers. Georgia Tech was just 29.8 % from the floor overall.
“They're tough, they're long, they're tall,” Yellow Jackets coach Nell Fortner said. “They can cover a lot of ground. They can switch screens. It really creates havoc for you and we didn't take advantage of them switching screens today.”
Louisville took sole possession of first place in the ACC last Sunday, easily beating Notre Dame and getting help from Georgia Tech, which upset North Carolina State for the program's first win against a team ranked as high as the then-No. 4 Wolfpack.
The Jackets, in their first season under Fortner, dropped to 3-2 against ranked teams.
Louisville's Elizabeth Balogun finished with just four points on 2-for-10 shooting in her return to Georgia Tech. Balogun, last season's ACC freshman of the year, transferred after Fortner's predecessor, MaChelle Joseph, was fired last March.
“It was more special because I went to school here and they beat N.C. State,” Balogun said. “I had a lot of memories come back to me tonight.”
Evans banked in a straightaway 3 to make it 28-22 midway through the second period. Jones hit a 14-footer just before the second-period buzzer to put the Cardinals up 10 at halftime.
Louisville: Evans and Balogun both shook off injuries and returned to the game. Evans was fouled by Lahtinen late in the third while hitting a 3 and stayed on the floor for a couple of minutes with a sore left foot. After getting it re-taped, Evans returned in the fourth to hit a 3 that pushed the lead to 12. Balogun collided with a Georgia Tech player and hit the floor with a right leg injury in the first. She returned later and quickly hit a 14-foot pull-up jumper to make it 21-14. Both players were walking with noticeable limps to board the team bus after the game.
Georgia Tech: Francesca Pan had an off night that hurt the Jackets, finishing with five points on 1-for-8 shooting. Pan was coming off a career-high 30-point performance at N.C. State.
Louisville improved to 7-0 against Georgia Tech, but Cardinals coach Jeff Walz had some doubts in the third.
“We turned the ball over, I think, three of the first four possessions, and if you can't get shots, it's hard to score,” he said. “So we had to clean that up, and I thought we made a nice little run there at the end of the third to get it back to a nine-point lead and then kept it there for the most part during the fourth quarter. When we'd get it to 12, we could never get it to 14, to 16, but I thought we competed well.”
Louisville: At Pittsburgh at Sunday.
Georgia Tech: Hosts No. 17 Florida State on Sunday.
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