LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville got the first-half performance it's accustomed to after starting out flat the last two games.
The No. 4 Cardinals needed every bit of their early surge in holding off N.C. State 65-58 Wednesday night.
Mariya Moore scored 17 points and Sara Hammond had 13 points and 10 rebounds as the Cardinals (16-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) held N.C. State without a point for more than 10 1/2 minutes, scoring 20 straight points. Louisville led by as many as 17 in the first half before withstanding a Wolfpack rally.
"It started out well for us tonight but we've got to learn how to finish," Hammond said after picking up her second double-double of the season.
The Cardinals trailed Wake Forest by 11 and Pittsburgh by eight at the break in their last two outings before rallying for wins.
N.C. State (11-6, 2-2) cut Louisville's lead to 55-51 with 4:11 left but drew no closer. Three free throws, Hammond's hook shot in the post and Moore's steal and layup put Louisville up by 11 with 1:52 remaining.
Len'Nique Brown-Hoskin had 18 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
Brown-Hoskin's fourth 3-pointer, with 55 seconds, left made it 62-56 but Moore hit 3 of 4 free throws, finishing 9 of 12 from the line, to seal the win. Moore added had nine rebounds and four assists.
Shawnta' Dyer had 11 points off Louisville's bench, her second straight game in double figures.
The Wolfpack missed 13 shots in a row and had nine of their 18 turnovers during their first-half drought. They shot 26 percent (7 of 27) in the opening 20 minutes and missed their first 10 3s before making two in the final 1:07 to trail 32-19 at halftime.
"I'm proud of the effort in the second half and really ticked off about the way we dug a hole in the first half," Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said. "That's the best I can explain it."
Louisville coach Jeff Walz didn't see a similar effort from his team in the final 20 minutes and said that if the Cardinals fail to focus during an upcoming stretch then they aren't likely to be as fortunate as Wednesday.
"We could very easily lose five straight," Walz said of the next slate of games that includes No. 20 Florida State and No. 25 Syracuse. "I'm trying to get my kids prepared for that. If we don't change the way we're performing in games and our mental approach, it could be a rough stretch."
Louisville: Freshman Myisha Hines-Allen earned her first double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) against Wake Forest but picked up two fouls in her first 3:17 of action and sat the rest of the half. Louisville's second-leading scorer (12.7) finished with 4 points in 12 minutes. ... Louisville's No. 4 ranking is the second-highest in school history. The Cardinals reached No. 3 last season and have been ranked in the top 25 for 69 consecutive weeks.
North Carolina State: Miah Spencer missed her first nine attempts and shot 1 of 11 but made all eight free throws to finish with 10 points. She scored a career-high 25 points in Saturday's win against Clemson. ... The matchup against Louisville was the first of three ranked opponents N.C. State will face in four games. After a trip to Wake Forest, it hosts No. 12 North Carolina and then travels to No. 25 Syracuse.
WINNING EARLY AGAIN
Louisville's 20-0 run in the first half was impressive but the Cardinals' 13-point halftime lead was actually three points fewer than their season average.
Louisville: hosts Virginia on Sunday.
NC State: travels to Wake Forest on Sunday.
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