Jefferson and Rickards Dominate as No. 20 Louisville Secures 81-70 Victory Over Gonzaga in Texas Tournament Final

Kiki Jefferson scored 21 points, Nina Rickards added 16 on 8-of-8 shooting and No. 20 Louisville won the Betty Chancellor Classic with an 81-70 victory over Gonzaga. The Cardinals outscored the Bulldogs 20-6 in the first 5 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter to pull away.

Louisville won the tournament due to a point differential tiebreak as Alabama also went 2-1 in the four-team round-robin. The Cardinals shot 59% (34 of 58), including 7 of 19 on 3-pointers, overcoming early foul trouble.

Yvonne Ejim led Gonzaga with 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting, making all seven free throws, and seven rebounds. Brynna Maxwell added 16 points, Kaylynne Truong had 11 and Kayleigh Truong had 10 with seven assists. Gonzaga shot 55% with seven 3s and a 19-of-23 performance from the foul line.

But Louisville turned 21 turnovers into 27 points with many of the 10 steals leading to uncontested layups. Jefferson scored 10 points in the second quarter when the Cardinals made 11 of 19 shots with four 3s and outscored Gonzaga 28-15 for a 47-36 halftime lead.

Gonzaga couldn’t capitalize on Louisville foul trouble in the first quarter but only trailed 21-19. The game was tied at 27 but the Cardinals had a 12-2 run to take control. They had 14 points off 12 turnovers, a 17-2 difference in bench scoring and 24-8 advantage inside.

In the last minute of the third quarter, Ejim converted a three-point play and Maxwell hit a jumper in the lane to pull Gonzaga within 59-56.

Louisville goes to Mississippi for the ACC-SEC Challenge on Wednesday. The Rebels will be without KK Deans, who is awaiting season-ending knee surgery. Gonzaga is home against Eastern Washington on Wednesday.

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