Louisville junior Mariya Moore busted out of her slump on Monday; pushing the Cardinals past Tennessee into the NCAA Sweet 16

Louisville junior Mariya Moore busted out of her slump on Monday; pushing the Cardinals past Tennessee into the NCAA Sweet 16.

Mariya Moore was disappointed in herself, while her University of Louisville teammates had never seen it before.

The celebration after a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter of Monday night's NCAA Tournament second round game against Tennessee surprised just about every one in the KFC Yum Center that has seen Moore play before for the Cardinals.

Moore hit the step-back three-pointer to give U of L a 51-47 lead and then she let the emotion flow. Moore raised her arms, pumped her fists and then mimed putting pistols back into their holsters as she ran down the floor.

The Yum Center crowd - and her teammates - went berserk.

"I've never seen than from her before," teammate Myisha Hines-Allen said. "But when I did I was like, 'OK, let's go'."

The three was one of five that Moore made as she came out of her recent slump to hit for 19 points as the Cardinals beat Tennessee 75-64 to advance into the NCAA Sweet 16 for the seventh time in 10 seasons under head coach Jeff Walz.

"Honestly, that just came out," Moore said of the emotion. "I always tell myself we are not going to celebrate, just get back on defense. When that happened, I was kind of disappointed in myself. That's really not me.

"But was so excited that I was able to help the team."

Walz said she was "feeling pretty good," but noted that she came into the NCAA Tournament 1-for-21 in the previous four games from three-point range and the one make was a bank shot.

"She could have done a cartwheel for all I cared," Walz said. "As we keep telling them, shooters shoot. What I did is that I told her after we came back from the ACC Tournament, I'm like, Mariya, if you trust me with anything, when you shoot, follow your shot. Just run after it.

"It's the same thing I told Antonita Slaughter (in 2013), if you go back and look at the way she played for the NCAA Tournament. As we like to say, she couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Antonita was just throwing a brick. It was awful. I finally told her, Antonita, when you shoot it, just go run after it and get it. I told Mariya the same thing. What that does for some of these kids is now you stay with your shot. Instead of falling back, you get balanced. I just said, keep following it. I was really proud of her, because every one she took tonight, she stayed with."

And she made some big ones.

Moore hit the one early in the fourth quarter and then hit another three - off an in-bounds play from the right corner - about a minute later to put the Cardinals up seven. She also had two big drives to the basket in the final period.

"After the ACC Tournament, I knew what I was doing wasn't going to help us go too far," Moore said. "I knew I had to change that and I knew that any game we could go home. So I said, I can put in as much work as I can now and rest later.

"So i have been in the gym as much as I can working on my shot."

Moore had six points and 10 assists in the first round against Chattanooga but was 7-for-10 shooting and added nine rebounds and three assists against the Lady Vols.

"Everybody gets into a shooting slump," senior Cortnee Walton said. "Coach Walz has been telling Mariya about Antonita Slaughter and she's just been getting into the gym and working hard."

Added Asia Durr: "We knew it was coming at some point."

The Cardinals just didn't know it was going to come with that much celebration afterwards.


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