LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Hailey Van Lith scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead No. 5 Louisville to a 101-58 victory in its home opener over Eastern Kentucky on Sunday.
The Cardinals (2-0) used a 16-2 run to start the second quarter, take a 35-14 lead with 5:17 left in the half and put the game away. They would lead by as much as 40-16 in the half.
Van Lith, a McDonald’s High School All-American last season, lived up to expectations in her home debut. She made 7-of-13 shots, including five 3-pointers.
Senior guard Dana Evans also scored 20. A preseason All-American, Evans made just 7-of-16 shots Sunday, but added seven assists.
Amerah Steele’s 11 points led the Colonels (0-2), who shot just 33.9 percent and committed 20 turnovers.
Louisville was supposed to play at Cincinnati Saturday, but that game, like many others across the country, was canceled Thursday after Cincinnati discovered a positive COVID-19 case within the program.
Louisville coach Jeff Walz went to Twitter in an attempt to find a weekend opponent. Just a day later, the Cardinals announced with the game with the Colonels, coached by Samantha Williams, a former Walz assistant at Louisville.
Eastern Kentucky had the country’s third-best turnaround last season with a 10-win improvement. With seven newcomers, including six freshmen, on this year’s team, the Colonels may find it a challenge to duplicate that kind of success in Williams’ second year.
Louisville returned just five players from last year’s Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season champions, but on Sunday the Cardinals newcomers showed they should be able to maintain the Cardinals’ lofty standards. Besides Van Lith, freshman Olivia Cochran added 15 points and Ahlana Smith, last year’s national junior college player of the year, added nine points and six rebounds.
Eastern Kentucky is slated to start Ohio Valley Conference action next Saturday, hosting Morehead State.
Louisville is scheduled to host Tennessee-Martin next Sunday.