SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Cierra Warren learned a lesson from No. 9 Louisville's close call against Missouri State.
Warren shot 8-for-8, but struggled in the first half, before finishing with 18 points to help No. 9 Louisville beat Missouri State 73-64 Sunday in the opener for both teams.
"I was not prepared as well as I thought I could be," Warren said. "I just wasn't playing well in the first half. I had to come out in the second half and work harder."
The Cardinals went on a 16-7 run late in the second half to put the game away after taking their first lead with about 10 minutes left on a basket by Warren that made it 52-51.
"She started to move. You have to move to get open," Cardinals coach Jeff Walz said of Warren. "She was standing still We set some screens and got the ball to her in the post."
After a basket by Hannah Wilkerson got Missouri State to within 54-53 with 7:38 left, the Bears didn't score another field goal for the next four minutes as Louisville pulled away.
Casey Garrison had 15 points and 14 rebounds for Missouri State. Jaleshia Roberson scored 11 and Hannah Wilkerson and Christiana Shorter both scored 10.
"People didn't expect us to be this close to a No. 9 team," Garrison said.
Sara Hammond scored 13 points and 13 rebounds for Louisville. Bria Smith added 10.
Louisville was playing without Shoni Schimel, who had to miss two games because the NCAA found that she played in a non-sanctioned 3-on-3 tournament in Oregon over the summer.
Missouri State held a 33-32 halftime lead that could have been much larger but Louisville scored the last eight points of the half thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers by Becky Burke and a field goal by Antonita Slaughter.
There were 44 turnovers in the game and neither team shot better than 40 percent. Louisville shot 37.5 percent and Missouri State made 35.6 percent.