ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — Jazmine Jones scored 24 points and No. 8 Louisville fended off pesky Texas-Arlington in the second half for a 76-67 victory Thursday in the Paradise Jam Tournament.
Dana Evans added 19 points and Elizabeth Balogun had 12 for the Cardinals (6-0), who saw the Lady Mavericks fight back from a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
“I expected this,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “I told the kids that before we came down here. I was very impressed with watching UT in film study. They play a physical brand of basketball.
“You try to prep for it, you try to prepare, but until you get down here and get hit in the face, you’re not ready for what’s coming. It just took us a little bit of time to get our feet underneath us.”
Louisville had pulled ahead 70-54 on Evans’ 3-pointer with 6 minutes, 29 seconds remaining. But Texas-Arlington went on a 13-2 run over the next five minutes to pull within five points, 72-67, on Katie Mayhue’s tip-in with 1:33 remaining.
Jones and Evans hit four free throws over the final 37 seconds to seal the victory for the Cardinals.
The Lady Mavericks also gave Louisville fits in the first half, leading by as many as five points late in the first quarter before going out ahead 21-20.
Texas-Arlington was leading 26-25 with 7:01 left in the second quarter when the Cardinals went on an 8-0 run, capped by Jones’ jumper with 5:01 remaining, for a 33-26 lead that put Louisville ahead to stay.
“We knew they were a tough-nosed team,” said Jones, who finished one off her career high in scoring. “They played hard, ran their stuff and executed really well. We just had to get a feel for them in the first quarter, and we settled down a little bit.”
Claire Chastain finished with 22 points and Marie Benson had 16 for the Lady Mavericks (4-1).
“We know coming in everybody would probably overlook us,” Texas-Arlington coach Krista Gerlich said. “We just wanted to give it our best shot and try to punch them in the mouth first.
“We talk all the time about the upsets going on in men’s basketball, we want to see some of those in women’s basketball as well.”
Louisville: The Cardinals won their 101st straight game against a nonranked opponent, with their run dating back to the opening weeks of the 2015-2016 season.
Texas-Arlington: Despite the loss, the Lady Mavericks are still off to their best opening stretch since the 2017-2018 and 2016-2017 seasons, when they posted back-to-back 5-0 starts.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
A big advantage for Louisville came at the free-throw line, where the Cardinals made 19 of 25 shots (76.0%), while Texas-Arlington made 13 of 21 (61.9%).
Louisville gets the early game again Friday at Paradise Jam, taking on Oklahoma State.
Texas-Arlington faces its second straight top-10 opponent on Friday, playing No. 1 Oregon.