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ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — Dana Evans scored a career-high 28 points and No. 8 Louisville pulled away in the second half to beat Oklahoma State 69-48 on Friday at the Paradise Jam.
Elizabeth Balogun added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinals (7-0), who overcame their own turnover problems to hand the Cowgirls their second straight loss.
Vivian Gray had 18 points for Oklahoma State (5-2), which shot just 25 percent and made only 5 of 18 3-pointers.
Louisville led from almost the start but had to work to get any real separation from Oklahoma State in the first half, which it led 37-25 at the break.
The Cardinals turned the ball over 12 times in the first two quarters, partially offsetting the Cowgirls’ shooting woes. They shot 24 percent in the half, including just 3 of 14 on 3-pointers.
Still, Oklahoma State was able to stay within six points before Louisville — the last at 23-17 on Abbie Winchester’s jumper with 7:01 left in the second quarter before the Cardinals broke free with a 14-5 run over the next six and a half minutes. Evans’ layup with 40 seconds remaining put Louisville ahead 37-22, its biggest lead of the half.
Louisville extended its lead in the second half, going up 56-32 on Dixon’s layup with 2:05 left in the third quarter. Oklahoma State came no closer than 16 points in the fourth quarter.
Louisville: The Cardinals were tested in their first two Paradise Jam games but face their biggest test Saturday — against No. 1 Oregon to determine the tournament’s Island Division champion.
Oklahoma State: The Cowgirls have now faced back-to-back top 10 opponents for the first time since late in the 2017-2018 season, when they lost to then-No. 3 Baylor and then-No. 6 Texas on Feb. 13 and Feb. 17, 2018.
Louisville: Closes out Paradise Jam against No. 1 Oregon on Saturday.
Oklahoma States: Plays Texas-Arlington on Saturday in its Paradise Jam finale.