Cardinals Soar Past Cats

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Louisville's full-court press overwhelmed the Cincinnati women's basketball squad putting the game out of reach in the first half on Saturday.


The Bearcats lost 83-47 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky in front of 10,556 spectators.


"Once we crossed half-court we broke the pressure, but we only had about 10 seconds to get in to the offense," head coach Jamelle Elliott said. "[Guard] Shareese Ulis had to really jack up [3-pointers] with the shot clock running down."


The Cardinals executed their game plan forcing UC into poor looks at the basket en route to 14.8 percent shooting in the opening period and 12 turnovers. At the first half buzzer the contest was all but over with Cincinnati trailing 39-13 after a 31-2 Louisville streak. 


Cincinnati (8-10, 1-5 Big East) went 2-15 from long range and put up three more shots from distance than from inside the arc in the opening stanza. 


The high-ball pressure UL sustained for the entirety of the game took its toll on UC's bench. Seven players took the court for Cincinnati, meanwhile 12 suited up for Louisville with 10 playing double-figure minutes.


"We can't go through a lot of possessions without scoring because obviously were not deep enough and big enough to stop people defensively every time they come down and have a possession," Elliott said. 


Freshman guard Kayla Cook led all scorers with a career-high 17 points, while Ulis netted 14 and guard Bjonee Reaves contributed 10. This was the first time in six conference games that the Bearcats had three players in double figures.


Cook looked to get on the board early and found holes in the Cards defense allowing her to score at the rim. This opened up 3-point shots for her as she went 3-7.


"[Cook] was aggressive," Elliott said. "She was one of the only players on my team that was able to take the ball around the basket and get some easy shots in the lane. That gave her confidence. She was also able to step outside and knock down shots."


UC showed vast resolve in the closing half shooting 46.4 percent and with six giveaways. One thing Elliott can take away from this blowout loss is her team is learning from its miscues.  


"In the second half we really improved our shot selection," Elliott said. "We had some success making shots. We played better in the second half, obviously it was a little too late, but again I'm at the point where I want us to get better."


The emergence of junior college transfer Reaves, who hit double figures in points for the first time in league play, is crucial for the Bearcats offense as defenses key on leading scorer Ulis. 


"We definitely need Bjonee to step up and help [Ulis] with the scoring early in the game," Elliott said. "She is capable she was third or fourth last year in junior college scoring in the nation. That's the main reason why I brought her on board last season. She has been having trouble scoring this season, but I think that is a mindset."


Louisville's win made it a clean sweep against their old-time rivals this year. Both games exposed UC's lack of size on the interior. 


"The big advantage they have is they start three guys in the front court that are 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3," Elliott said. "Our biggest player on our team is 6-foot-1. We're outmatched from a height standpoint."


Cincinnati returns home to face No. 13/18 DePaul Tuesday, at 7 p.m. at Fifth Third Arena.


"We will need to do everything right to not only have success against Louisville, but pretty much every team we face in the Big East," Elliott said. 

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