There must be something special about 47 points for Asia Durr.
On her senior night against NC State on Thursday, Durr exploded for 47 points, tying Louisville’s single-game scoring record and breaking the ACC record with 11 threes.
The Louisville record she matched? Her own, set last season in an overtime win over Ohio State in Columbus. This time around, though, Durr dropped 47 points in 5 fewer minutes and with 2 fewer attempts.
In truth, her pair of 47-point nights are confirmation of an already well-established fact: Asia Durr is a certified bucket. The lefty guard has been the focus of every scouting report and every opponent’s defensive gameplan for her entire career, and yet she still makes it look easy.
What’s most striking about Durr’s senior season so far is how routinely she’s been able to pick apart the best teams, on the biggest of stages. Forty-seven may not be enough. No. 25 might go for a 50-piece before it’s all said and done.
“Nobody ever had to force me to go play [basketball] or go train hard,” Durr tells SLAM. “I’d just always go out there and just do it with fun and with passion and with ease.”
When Durr takes over a game, it’s like she’s putting her opponent to sleep. She’ll often exclaim, “Nite nite” as she hits big shot after big shot, putting the game out of reach. She doesn’t talk trash or get cocky beyond that. Just, “Nite nite.” We’re done.
When Durr lit up NC State for 47 points, she shot 6-10 from two and 11-17 from three, keeping a straight face through it all. She’s deadly like that.
“We hold opponents to 47 points,” Louisville forward Sam Fuehring says. “She scored what we hold opponents to.”
Last season, Louisville finished No. 1 in the ACC, won the conference tournament and advanced to the Final Four. But the magical season ended in heartbreaking defeat—an OT loss to Mississippi State.
It took nearly two months for Durr to watch the film of Louisville’s loss. The 5-10 guard from Douglasville, GA, played all 45 minutes in that game, scoring 18 points on 6-17 shooting.
She decided to make consistency—consistent dominance—a focus of her offseason, which was scary considering how much of a bucket she already was. After taking time off to be with family, Durr got right back in the gym with her long-time trainer Dorian Lee. The results this season have spoken for themselves.
As of Friday, Durr is averaging career-highs in points (21.6), assists (3.2), rebounds (3.4) and steals (1.5). And she’s been making her presence known when the stakes are the highest. In December, she dropped 32 points in a victory over Kentucky. In January, 24 points and 5 treys in a win against UConn. And of course, the 47 points in a huge conference matchup against top-10 ranked NC State on Thursday.
Now, with March Madness right around the corner, Durr has one final score to settle.
“We definitely think about [last year’s Final Four loss] all the time because we wanted more than just the Final Four,” Durr says. “It was a huge, disappointing thing for us. But we’re trying to bounce back even harder now.”
Back in 2008, a commercial for the WNBA’s newest expansion team, the Atlanta Dream, posed the question: “Ever wonder what happens to girls like this?”
It was 10-year-old Asia Durr. She’s playing pickup with boys at the park, doing what she does best. She’s crossing them up, dropping no-look passes and raining threes—making them look like fools for overlooking her.
The narrator continued: “They grow up to be women like this.”
The spot jumped to Dream point guard Ivory Latta, who led North Carolina to two straight Final Fours in 2006 and 2007. Durr, who watched a lot of college basketball growing up, looked up to Latta as a kid. “I just fell in love with how she played and how passionate she was, how much of a dominant scorer she was,” Durr says.
Durr being cast for the commercial was almost too perfect to have been a coincidence. Not only did Durr—who originally wore No. 12 because of Latta—go on to lead her team to the Final Four, she has a chance at doing it twice. Like Latta, Durr will be a first-round pick in the WNBA Draft—but Durr could very well be selected No. 1 overall.
Her dream of following in Latta’s footsteps took a turn when the number wasn’t available on her traveling team. She considered playing in No. 23 instead, but the lists of greats—LeBron, Jordan, Maya, to name a few—to don that number was staggering. Faced with no obvious choice, Durr turned to her father for advice.
“My dad was like, ‘I think you should wear something that nobody wears because you want to grow in to that number. And when you wear it, you want people to be like, ‘Hey I want to be No. 25 just like her,’” Durr recalls.
So Durr began to wear No. 25 with the intention of inspiring others and forging her own path. If she stopped playing basketball today, she would have already accomplished that goal. The No. 2 scorer in Louisville history, Durr has built a legacy as one of the Cardinals’ all-time greats.
But rest assured, Durr wants more. She’s laser-focused on erasing the bitter taste from last season’s Final Four defeat. This time around, No. 25 is vowing to make her presence felt throughout every game.
“Just being dominant,” says Durr, on her mentality this year. “Having my presence known for the whole game. Being very aggressive. Being vocal. Being a great teammate, a great leader.”
Straight up, that’s some “nite nite” talk. Opponents be warned.
“Asia is the GOAT, honestly. She’s one of the biggest and [most] impactful people in this program,” Fuehring says. “No one can stop Asia.”
Ryne Nelson is a Senior Editor at SLAM. Follow him on Twitter @slaman10.
Photos via Adam Creech, UofL; Getty Images.