LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville coach Jeff Walz sets a turnover goal for his team before each game. If the Cardinals go over the threshold -- even by one -- Walz orders them to run one wind sprint per turnover during the next practice.
After giving it away 30 times in a sloppy 72-42 win over Austin Peay on Monday, the Cardinals (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) might want to get their rest.
"It's going to be hell," said freshman Monique Reid.
It wasn't exactly the way the Cardinals wanted to celebrate the highest ranking in school history. While star Angel McCoughtry did her thing, scoring 15 points and grabbing seven rebounds in 15 efficient minutes, Louisville (2-0) struggled to find any kind of rhythm against the Lady Govs (1-1), picked to finish in the bottom half of the Ohio Valley Conference.
"Great teams get better all the time, we've got to get better," McCoughtry said.
Right now that means finding a way to get a handle on an offense that has turned it over 56 times in two games.
Walz hoped Deseree Byrd could take command at point guard, but she turned it over six times and missed all four of her free throws. Freshman Tiera Stephen was just as ineffective, giving it away four times and fouling out in 15 minutes.
"There's a chance the whole team is going to have to play the point," Walz said. "It could come to the point that whoever is not being guarded by somebody is just going to have to bring the ball up the floor."
If the Cardinals can find some steady play at the point, they shouldn't have a hard time scoring. McCoughtry set the school scoring record during a season-opening win over Tennessee Tech over the weekend, a record that may not last that long with Reid around.
The freshman scored 17 points and added nine rebounds while going 7-of-10 from the floor. Yet Reid knows it's her play on defense that will determine if she'll get a chance to play alongside McCoughtry.
"I know coach doesn't matter if I score any points as long as I play defense," Reid said. "That's where I've got to learn to work."
Despite the problems holding onto the ball, Cardinals had little trouble putting away the Lady Govs.
Louisville opened the game on a 12-0 run with McCoughtry doing most of the damage. She scored 13 of Louisville's first 17 points, doing a little bit of everything as Louisville quickly built a 22-2 lead.
Louisville's defense smothered the Lady Govs all night, holding them to 26 percent shooting and forcing 27 turnovers. Austin Peay managed just two field goals over the first 16 minutes and never got within 20 points in the second half.
Ashley Herring led Austin Peay with 12 points while Nicole Jamen had nine points and nine rebounds.