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No. 8 Cardinals cruise past St. John's

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)

Louisville star Angel McCoughtry walked to the bench after picking up her second foul with 4 minutes to go in the first half against St. John's on Tuesday night and coach Jeff Walz went "uh-oh." He shouldn't have worried. McCoughtry's supporting cast is growing up fast. The Cardinals actually extended the lead while McCoughtry watched from the sidelines before she and fellow senior Candyce Bingham took over in the second half as No. 8 Louisville rolled to an 89-60 win. "This team is more than just Angel," Walz said. "Angel does a lot for us. I'm not stupid. I really thought tonight everybody stepped up and played well." McCoughtry finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds for her 51st career double-double and Bingham overcame a foul-plagued first half to score 16 points and grab 10 rebounds. Da'Shena Stephens led St. John's (15-10, 3-9) with 14 points, but the Red Storm simply couldn't keep up with one of the Big East's deepest teams. Louisville (24-3, 11-2) clinched one of the top four berths in next month's Big East tournament with the win. While Bingham called it "just a stepping stone," the Cardinals will take the break after needing to win three games to reach the tournament finals a year ago. "It's a good feeling," McCoughtry said. "I know for four years I've been in the Big East tournament thinking 'Gosh I wish we could have that bye and watch other teams play."' The Cardinals will get two byes in the tournament and continue to be the best team not-named Connecticut. It's heady territory for a program that lost starting center Chauntise Wright to a knee injury before the season started. "It's been a special year for them," Walz said. "I think our kids have learned if we'll come and fight every game, we have a chance to be successful." They'll have to find a way to hold onto the ball. The Cardinals won despite turning it over 18 times, though just four times in the second half. "We've got four more games to improve and after that it's one and done," Walz said. "We've got to start to figure things out that once you get into the Big East tournament, it's no more 'Hey, I'm sorry, it's a bad pass."' Louisville's sloppiness allowed St. John's to hang around for awhile. Bingham went to the bench with her second foul three minutes in, and Louisville seemed only too happy to throw the ball away. McCoughtry, however, scored nine straight points during an 18-3 run to take a 23-11 lead. The Red Storm briefly cut the lead to single digits and received a glimmer of hope when McCoughtry picked up her second foul and the Cardinals up 29-19. Terry, however, stepped up and knocked down a 3-pointer and pulled down a long rebound off a missed desperation 3-pointer by Deseree Byrd, then got fouled. She made one of the free throws, part of a 12-6 surge that helped Louisville push the lead to 41-25 at the half. "We started off slow, but we picked up," McCoughtry said. "That's what we have to do. We don't know what can happen. Who knows if I get in foul trouble. We have to step up." When McCoughtry and Bingham returned after the break, the Cardinals took off. St. John's never got closer than 14 and Louisville pulled away. The Cardinals dominated in the lane, outrebounding the Red Storm 48-26 and using their defense to turn St. John's 19 turnovers into 30 points.

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