LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Myisha Hines-Allen and the Louisville women are hitting their best stride at the right time.
The sophomore forward had 25 points and 13 rebounds, her third double-double in the last five games, as the 10th-ranked Cardinals sprinted to a big early lead and closed the regular-season in style with a 65-36 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Louisville (24-6, 15-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) won its sixth straight. The Cardinals have won 21 of their last 22 after starting the season 3-5.
"Anything can happen in the postseason," said guard Briahanna Jackson, who had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. "We're excited to be reaching our peak towards the end of the year. We hope to make a run to the Final Four."
Hines-Allen made her first nine shots before missing a jumper in the lane midway through the third quarter. She earned her ninth double-double of the season and finished 11 of 14 from the field.
Louisville had its biggest halftime lead of the season at 42-10 behind her 17 points and eight rebounds. The Cardinals shot 68 percent (17 of 25) in the first half -- their highest in an opening half since Jan. 16, 2005 at Cincinnati -- compared to Pitt's 15 percent (4 of 27).
"We played with energy, we had a lot of emotion, and we were having fun out there," Hines-Allen said of her team's opening salvo.
Yacine Diop led Pitt (12-17, 4-12) with 12 points on 4 of 22 shooting.
Louisville scored the game's first 14 points in 4 1/2 minutes. Hines-Allen had nine of the team's first 11 before finishing the first 10 minutes with 13 points, the most in a quarter for any Cardinal this season. Louisville pushed its lead to 27-4, making eight straight shots during one stretch, as Pitt hit just 1 of its first 12 and trailed 27-6 after the opening quarter.
"Louisville just came out and disrupted us," Pitt coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. "They were physical. They were aggressive and we didn't respond. ... Even when we got the free throw line, the shooting percentage at the free throw line was horrendous. When you look at that type of performance, you have to believe that did everything to take us out of what we were trying to do."
A 13-0 Louisville run in less than five minutes stretched the lead to 40-8 late in the second quarter.
The Panthers' lone bright spot came while holding Louisville scoreless for more than five minutes in the third quarter. Their 10-0 run made it 44-20 midway through the period before trailing 53-24 at the end of the third quarter.
Louisville coach Jeff Walz credited Hines-Allen's efficiency for her late-season surge. She is now averaging 17 points and eight rebounds a game and is a contender for ACC player of the year.
"She's not taking bad shots," Walz said. "Her ability to drive and finish, she's just a real tough matchup right now for a lot of people. If you're getting 25 points on 14 shots, that's pretty darn good."
Louisville: Forward Cortnee Walton injured her left pinkie in the first quarter and did not return ... The Cardinals shot 49 percent (26 of 53). ... Louisville will be the No. 2 seed in the ACC tournament, playing on Friday after receiving a double-bye.
Pitt: The Panthers lost their third straight. ... Pitt shot 19 percent (10 of 52) and will be either the No. 11, 12 or 13 seed in next week's ACC tournament.
On what is usually Senior Day, Louisville had no players to celebrate for the first time in coach Jeff Walz's nine seasons. The team also has no student managers that are seniors.
Louisville: ACC Tournament
Pitt: ACC Tournament
- Tom Danaher
- Kathleen Lynch
- Kevin Dillard