ICYMI: Louisville off to 5-0 start after winning WNIT

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) Jeff Walz and his Louisville Cardinals are off to a hot start.

The fifth-ranked Cardinals won the preseason WNIT by beating No. 10 Oregon in the championship game Sunday. That came after a superb second-half defensive effort against No. 24 Michigan in the semifinals. The Cardinals (5-0) are 2 for 2 in the tournament, also winning in 2013.

Walz was worried the stretch would drain his team more mentally than physically and keep them from a perfect start.

"Five-and-(zero) shows the character of these young women," he said.

Other things that happened this week:

MISSING MULKEY: Third-ranked Baylor was without coach Kim Mulkey in its loss to No. 8 UCLA on Saturday. The Lady Bears' leader stayed in Texas to be with her daughter Makenzie Fuller, who lost her unborn baby girl.

Fuller, a former Lady Bears player in her third season on her mother's staff, had shared on social media last weekend that the baby was dealing with two life-threatening birth defects.

When Fuller went to a doctor's appointment Thursday, the baby had no heartbeat, said Jil Price, the athletics communications associate director for the team. Fuller, who was about 18 weeks pregnant, delivered the baby early Friday after labor was induced. Baylor travels to the Bahamas to play in the Junkanoo Jam over Thanksgiving, and it's unclear whether Mulkey will be with the team.

WELCOME BACK: Saint Joseph's senior Avery Marz finally got to play college basketball after having a stroke when she moved into her dorm her freshman year. She's helped the Hawks to a 3-0 start, the school's best in seven years.

SIDELINED SAMUELSON: UConn has run through its first three opponents, all of whom have been ranked, winning by at least 25 points each game. The Huskies beat Maryland on Sunday without junior guard Katie Lou Samuelson, who sprained her left foot Friday. The preseason All-American will be evaluated week to week, and coach Geno Auriemma expects her not to be available for the team's trip to California, Oregon and Nevada. It's the same foot that she broke in the 2016 national semifinals.

MILESTONE WIN: Bethune-Cookman coach Vanessa Blair-Lewis earned her 250th win Monday night when the Lady Wildcats posted an impressive 77-59 road victory at Florida International.

Her husband, Eric, couldn't be there, but had a pretty good basketball-related excuse. He was officiating the Orlando Magic-Golden State Warriors game that night in California.

Bethune-Cookman won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular season the last two years. They went 21-11 last season and advanced to the MEAC title game for the first time since 1992 and played in the WNIT for second straight year. Blair-Lewis has been named MEAC Coach of The Year the past two years and three times overall in her nine years here. Eric Lewis, a grad of the school, is in his 14th season as an NBA ref.

TEAM TO WATCH: Villanova used hot shooting to beat No. 11 Duke on Sunday. The Wildcats are 3-0 and beat a team ranked that high for the first time in over a decade. Harry Perretta's squad has a favorable schedule and could find their way into the Top 25 for the first time since 2004.


Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

Updated November 20, 2017

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2018 by STATS.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.