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Monday, March 27, 2017

A crazy day of hoops...Lacrosse falls at Northwestern -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



(The misery loves company Monday Morning edition of Cardinal Couple...where the Cats join the Cards on the couch to watch the
Men's final four and madness reigns in four games) 



One of the best parts for me during the NCAA Tournaments is that several day stretch when 16 turns into four. No, I'm not introducing another Walzian Theorem to you and it isn't a new version of the Jimi Hendrix classic "If Six Were Nine" but when the Sweet Sixteen becomes a Final Four....it's a pretty special time of year.  

Your Monday morning musical selection here: IF SIX WERE NINE

Sunday was a great day for watching hoops. It started off with seeing if the Brianna Turner-less Irish WBB squad could make the Dallas dance against Stanford. After one half, that answer appeared to be "Why, Certainly!" Notre Dame had a 14 point-lead, Elizabethtown star Erin Boley was getting rave reviews and her Mom national TV exposure and all was well in the Muffet McGraw locker room...seemingly. An 18-0 Irish run and one wondered if the Cardinal was going to end up like the Cardinals. 

Someone forgot to cue the Cardinal in on the script. A 24-12 third quarter from Tara's terrors made this one a ball game again. A wild fourth quarter that ended up, so ironically, with...first... a lob pass into Alanna Smith for the go-ahead basket. a play that Stanford never tries if 6'5" Turner is on the court. Then, the Arike Ogumbowale fake and drive that ends up getting rejected by 6'3" Erika McCall to preserve the win. Why not take the jumper you've been nailing all game long? 

From a 56% shooting first half to a 33% number in the final twenty. The Irish go home and the Trees head to Dallas. 

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Switching over to the men's side. Florida vs. South Carolina. How many of you had those two playing in your office bracket. Yeah, thought so. Two SEC schools, a #4 seed and #7 seed. 


Frank Martin. If you're not familiar with the Cocks' coach...get ready. This guy is a gem. He just might make the Final Four on the guys' side watchable. He's kind of a white collar, subdivision doppelganger of Syracuse's "Q". 

Florida bombing threes in the first half. Seven of them. With the apparent ease of tossing oranges into a gathering basket. Like, the women's game before, though, you play all 40 minutes to determine a winner. 

Florida misses all 14 attempts from beyond the arc in the final twenty. South Carolina goes inside..22 of their 26 buckets in the paint in the final 20. I couldn't help but wondering several things as the Gators sunk into the swamp...What Would Billy Donovan Do?  How crazy would SEC fans would get if the Cats could get by "DadGummit Roy" and how did Duke and Baylor both manage to lose to South Carolina. Once again, that madness of March. 

Two names to remember:  South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell and Maik Kolsar.  Candidates for Worldwide's All-Name team, or a Tom Clancy action novel and the two main reasons that the South Carolina squad marches on with a 77-70 victory. The Gamecocks sank their final five free throws to secure the win. Florida had beaten USC 81-66 in a game 35 days ago. Ah, the madness of March...


             *           *           *           *           *           *           *     


The Cats were up next in the sequence.  They held a earlier season win over UNC. (Yup, we've heard this one before...) They got a career game out of Issac Humphries . They made three threes in the the last minute. Malik Monk with the three to tie. Pandemonium next door at my neighbor's (who had a Big Blue watch party that I was invited to but politely declined). Then, stunned silence and a few minutes later...a girl staggering out of the front door and puking in my taxus bushes. (No, not at the game...next door, again). Thanks. Probably great fertilizer, right? At least she didn't fall into them...

Luke Maye goes Cool Hand Luke, Luke Skywalker...even Luke Hancock and nails the jumper. Nails the door shut on UK advancing. Nails a berth for the ACC in the Final Four and nails to the wall another example of why they play the game. 

Cats up by five with five to pay. Tar Heels up by five with two to go. CBS is calling it an instant classic. That moniker may vary depending on what part of the country you live in. 


Sit down and grab a seat on the couch, Wildcats. The Big Blue Mist just sunk into the Mississippi River. Oh, wait a sec...not that couch! Lexington news reports that numerous t-shirts, a television and a couch were burned in the streets last night.  Here's a little video below that shows some of the post-game UK fans antics. (I just love the girl dancing about 15 seconds in!) 


LINK HOW BOUT DEM KATS?

"Bring out the couch!"  (Somewhere, a former UK and NFL quarterback by the same name is still hiding in an undisclosed basement...unwilling to emerge). 


                *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *


While the silliness is going on in the streets of Lexington...in Oklahoma City there is work being done. Kim Mulkey's Bears and looking to send Mississippi State's Bulldogs to the doghouse. 

We'll be polite and just say that this one was a lot closer than the Cards effort against Baylor. And, hello and we love you, Morgan William! Mississippi St. fighting tooth and nail against Baylor. Leading the Bears by three at the half. Kim Mulkey bringing out all her best dance moves, facial expressions and favorite howls and screams for this one.

A one-point lead for the Bulldogs after three and down to the wire we go! Little mighty-mite Morgan ties it at 75-75 with 25 seconds left in regulation and both teams miss chances to win it. Extra ball! 

And...strictly no contest in those five minutes. Say it again. Morgan William. 

LINK: http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=19012340


41 points from the diminutive guard that had 14 made threes on the season before this game. Add six more to that total. Ten points in the fourth quarter and 12 in O.T. Playing on the day after that...three years ago...her father died. The feel-good story of this women's tournament...by far. 

A 5'5" guard. Qualifies for our "Attack Yorkie" designation and a game from her that all attack Yorkies everywhere can proudly point. School and SEC scoring records for an NCAA Tournament game. 

"Give the little gal a chance!" YES! That one was for you...Shelby Harper, Jessica Laemmle, Dana Evans and Taylor Johnson and all guards 5'6" or shorter.

Baylor goes bye-bye. 

Kim Mulkey may have summed it up best: 

"That one girl kicked our butts. I knew we were in trouble when they started banking in threes at the start of the game." 

Yorkie Power. Expect the unexpected. 

Vic Schaefer and Frank Martin at the same party? Forget about it...way out of control. Invite the dancing UK girl and turn up the radio. 


              *          *          *          *          *          *          *


LACROSSE FALLS TO NORTHWESTERN

Louisville Lacrosse loses 12-8 to Wildcats

#14 Northwestern scored the final five goals in the contest to erase a 8-7 Louisville lead and take the match in Evanston., IL. Kellie Young explains: 

" This was a tale of two halves. We executed our game plan in the first half and played well as a team. The second half was a different story. We have work to do. " 

Hannah Koloski had four goals in the Cardinals' loss while the Wildcats benefited from five different plays with two goals each. Louisville got goals from Madison Hoover and Meghan Siverson to break a 3-3 tie  in the first half and take a two goal lead to the locker room. 

The Wildcats responded with four goals to open the final session and grab a 7-5 lead. Louisville battled back...Koloski scored twice and Ashley Lynch found the net to put the Cards back in charge 8-7 with 11:36 remaining. The Cards would not score again. 

Five losses in a row to Northwestern...going back to 2012. 

Louisville (9-4) returns to action on April Fools Day for a Saturday 1 p.m. ACC contest at Virginia Tech. 


paulie
xxxxx

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring Without Basketball -- SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

We all knew that it had to come to an end, but it is not until the final whistle sounds on a Louisville basketball season that the feeling really hits. Last year, for the men's team, that whistle came all too early. This year, both the men's and women's teams seemed poised to potentially make a run before ultimately being snuffed out in drastically different fashions. The final scores of the games are unimportant, as are the narratives of the games. What matters is that we in the city of Louisville are without meaningful basketball for the next few months. The joy of being a Cardinal fan is that the spring seasons are just getting into gear, and that fall sports are just around the corner. Today, let's look at how the spring is going.

Lacrosse Travels to Northwestern


The Wildcats have had Louisville's number in the old Native American sport. Louisville's lacrosse
team has a bit of a rivalry with the team from Evanston, but it has been rather one-sided. Northwestern leads the alltime series 5-1, with Louisville notching it's only win last year in the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium. Northwestern was able to enact swift revenge by knocking the Cards out of the NCAA tournament in the first round. Though ranked 14/17, NU has struggled this year. The Wildcats are 4-5 overall and 1-0 in conference after a win over Michigan. This is an excellent opportunity for the Cards to get a quality out of conference win, but they will need to put together a great game to do it. The game will get underway at 1PM, but does not appear to be accessible on TV. Tune in tomorrow for how this game will turn out!

Softball Wins "Series" at Syracuse


After a series opening 7-4 win on Friday, Louisville will return home having sealed the series with only one game. After the schedule was shifted around repeatedly to accommodate a three game set, the brass at Syracuse ultimately cancelled the final two games of the series, giving the Cards a series win in conference and a couple of extra rest days before their next game. Turns out it is tough to play softball in the rain or on rain soaked fields. Louisville will be back in action on Wednesday when IU comes down the road. First pitch will be at 6PM. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra, but the early forecast indicates pretty good weather. Stop on by to root on the Cards.

Louisville has Fantastic "Rust Buster"


Down in Knoxville, the track and field teams were busy putting in work yesterday. Louisville
finished the day with wins in 6 events and a whopping 26 top five finishes. Winners on the women's team were Mia Ross (1500m), Raven Grant (100m), Kelsey Heyward (400m Hurdles -- Louisville went 1, 2, 3 in this event. They also won the men's race.), Alexis Gibbons (long jump), and Morgan Zacharias (pole vault). Emmonnie Henderson finished third in the discus and Dolly Nyemah finished second in the hammer throw. Overall it was a wonderful day for the Cards and they'll look to have repeated success next weekend in Austin.

Roundup


There are a few other things to mention, but I fear I am getting a bit long winded. Here they are in the lightening round.

The Louisville men's swimming team grabbed an 11th place team finish at the NCAA Championships. Texas won the event by nearly 200 points over second place. Though they've had higher finishes in the past, an 11th place finish is nothing to scoff about. Arthur Albiero said he was disappointed to not achieve their team goal of a top 10 finish (a mere ten points behind 10th place), but that he was excited for what it would teach them going into next year.

The Cardinal baseball team righted the ship after a couple of losses took the shine off of their historic start to the season. Louisville led NC State 6-3 in the bottom of the 9th inning before allowing a three run shot with two outs to tie the game. Fortunately, the Cards were able to buckle down and regain the lead in the top of the 10th and hold onto it for the 7-6 win. Louisville rounds out the series in Raleigh today. The game is a 1PM start and can be found on the ACC Network Extra. 

While the women's soccer team is in the midst of their spring schedule, as are the men. Louisville played a closed friendly against the Chicago Fire yesterday afternoon, which they finished with a 0-0 draw. Chicago played some of their first team players, which makes the draw all the more impressive. Louisville saw familiar faces in Daniel Johnson and Stefan Cleveland, both of whom were drafted by Chicago in this year's superdraft. Ken Lolla was very pleased with the result and said he loves to get his players exposure to pro teams.

Finally, we hosted the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour yesterday morning. In between the banter, we recounted the ending to the men's and women's basketball seasons and tried to keep Paulie, who took the loss quite hard, from throwing things across the studio. Unfortunately, the gremlins at WCHQ have struck again and the show was not recorded, so there is no rebroadcast available for listening. Please tune in next week, when we give all of the other sports the attention we've starved them of during March Madness.

Until next time, Go Cards.
-CH-

*******************************************************************************


CARDINAL COUPLE PICK 'EM

We have a Great Eight in the NCAA WBB Tourney. Congratulations to Baylor, Notre Dame, Stanford, IConn, Fla. St., South Carolina, Miss. st. and Oregon for getting this far.


In the contest, your top performers 56 games in and seven to go:

49-7   The Deb Factor
48-8   Cliff, Curtis F., 
47-9   Kenny S.
46-10 Charlie Mc., Paulie, Perry S. 
45-11 The Real Joe Hill 

Good games today! Enjoy! Have some!

~Paulie~

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Louisville women's basketball -- Baylor runs past Cards 97-63



CARDS SUFFER WORST DEFEAT OF THE SEASON


Louisville women's basketball picked the wrong time to produce a clunker. Shooting 30% from the floor and getting outrebounded by 16, the Cards fall to #1 seed in the region Baylor by 34 points in the contest Friday night in Oklahoma City. 

It was rough to watch this second half, quite frankly. And, that was after a first half where Louisville fell behind 25-9 after the first quarter and could get no closer than 10 point in the first twenty minutes. The Cards were the gang that couldn't shoot straight and couldn't guard the impressive array of talent on the Bears roster. 

That first quarter saw Louisville struggling offensively...with 25% shooting and no made threes. Baylor, on the other hand, shot 58.8% in that time frame and was punishing Louisville inside, mid-range and out. Down by 18, the Cards did put together a brief rally to climb within 10 near the end of the second quarter...and Baylor took a 43-31 lead into the locker room. A feeling of despair began to set in...could Louisville find a way to get the game under their control and stop Nina Davis, Kalani Brown, Kristy Wallace and Alexis Prince

The Cards needed to come out with intensity in the second half, sink some shots and find away to slow down the Bears offensive fireworks. Sadly, none of that ever emerged. Baylor dominated the third quarter 29-14...shooting 62% in those ten minutes and the Cards went 5-19 for a less that desirable 26.3%. At the end of thirty minutes, the Bears held a 72-45 advantage and showed no signs of slowing down. 

Baylor maintained in the final session and went deep into their bench as the clock ticked toward zero. Walz began to pull the starters...realizing that it just wasn't the Cards night and, outscoring the Cards 25-18 in the fourth, the Bears won...quite convincingly...97-63. 

I could probably fill up a few more pages on what Louisville failed to do Friday night...but we'll just leave it at this. Poor shooting, ineffective defense and getting dominated on the glass isn't going to give you a "W" this time of year.

Asia Durr finally broke out of her early shooting slump (0-10 at one point) to finish with 21 points in 35 minutes to lead the Cards. Myisha Hines-Allen fought very hard for her 12 points and nine grabs. Mariya Moore rounded out the Cards double-figure scores with 10. Between the three, they got up 48 shots and sank 14 of them. 29%. We'll leave it there. 

HOW DID FRED DO? 


"They scored again? Lily! Where's the remote?
Free Throws -- Louisville was 14-18 for 77.7%. That may be one of the few or only impressive stats for the Cards Friday night. We'll award the capital "F"

Rebounding -- Not one of the Cards better nights. Hines-Allen lead Louisville with nine and Jazmine Jones came off the bench to haul in seven in 18 minutes of play. Baylor had two players in double-figure rebounding and won the board battle 52-36. No letter here. 

Effort/Execution -- Once again, it wasn't a great night in this category either. The Cards came out slow, looked a bit confused and unsure at times and never could seem to get into a consistently good flow in the game. 12 turnover aren't so bad...but Baylor scored 21 points off them. The Cards forced ten Baylor turnovers and could only get 5 points from them. Points in the paints is the telling tale here. 46-16 inside advantage for the Bears. No letter awarded here either.

Defense. 97 points allowed. 50% opponent shooting. THe choice is pretty easy here. No letter.


FRED COUNT: F-_-_-_


WHAT WE LIKED


-- J.J came to play. The freshman from Tallahassee showed a little spunk and drive during her court time. The five fouls weren't a great feat but the six points, seven boards and overall hustle were a bright spot on a cloudy evening.

-- Free Throws. Over 70%. They certainly weren't a factor...but a building point for next season 



NOT SO LIKABLE

-- The Domination. Louisville got a first hand look at what they need to improve on to be considered a top five team. Both teams have excellent athletes...but Baylor's played up to their potential and more....the Cards were not at their best by any means.

-- Really? Lauren Cox getting chippy at the end and throwing what appeared to be a punch at Sam Fuehring. Maybe one of the weakest punch attempts I've seen but...still...why? Boos to the refs for not tossing her. 

-- Technical. Walz is a dramatic and flamboyant coach and he was correct on the blown call by the refs but he took it too far. Four free throws to the Bears at a point of the game when it looked it might still be remotely possible for the Cards to come back. 

SO...

The Cards's season ends with a thud. A good season overall, yes. This loss will give the players, coaches and fans a lot to think about in the off-season. Louisville is a talented team but needs to develop some strengths...especially inside and at the point. Help is on the way and the freshmen will get better...but to be a top five squad, they should just put this game video on a endless loop and play it non-stop so that what happened last night never happens again to the Cards. Domination is never pretty when it's happening to you and the objective now is to become the dominator in big games and not the dominated. 

Motivation. Execution. Following the game plan. Defense. All areas that the Cards should strive to excel in for 2017-18. 


THEY SAID IT

link:  WALZ AND CARDS DISCUSS BAYLOR LOSS


PAULIE
XXXXX

Friday, March 24, 2017

Louisville women's basketball -- Cards vs. Baylor tonight



WBCA All-Region Honorees Durr, Hines-Allen lead Cards into Sweet Sixteen play vs. Bears


Asia Durr and Myisha Hines-Allen are two of the 52 all-region selections for the WBCA All-America Team. They'll be in consideration for the 10-member Division I Coaches' All-America Team, that will be announced during the NCAA Women's Final Four in Dallas. A wonderful honor for these two. Our hopes are that they make that final ten list and are playing in Dallas when the announcement comes.

Kalani Brown and Nina Davis were also selected for the honor. The play for the Baylor Bears...who will play#13 Louisville tonight in the NCAA Regionals. The game will be on ESPN2 around 9:30 p.m. or so tonight. It'll follow the Washington vs. Mississippi St. contest in the Chesapeake Energy Center arena in Oklahoma City, OK. 

The Cards go into the contest a decided underdog against Baylor....according to the so-called "experts, talking heads and analyst gurus".  Baylor was the #1 seed in the Oklahoma City region. The Cards were the #4 seed. So, far...the rankings for this region have held to form...with Mississippi St #2 seeded and Washington at #3. Looking quickly at the other three regions...Bridgeport has the #1 seed UConn facing #4 seed UCLA and #3 seed Maryland against upstart #10 Oregon. In Lexington, the #1 seed Notre Dame gets #5 Ohio State and #2 Stanford battles #3 Texas. Finally, in Stockton...#1 South Carolina has surprising #12 Quinnipiac on their slate and #2 Oregon State will tussle with #3 Florida State. 

What must the Cards do to beat Baylor? 

(Say it in unison with me.....score more points) 

We'll look at (5) key factors in the contest that could determine whether Louisville will play on Sunday or not: 


1) "Durr"ection. Louisville has to have a big night out of the Douglasville, GA sophomore. Lately, that hasn't been a problem...she's averaging 19.2 points per game and has 114 threes on the season. Against a Baylor defense that will probably start guards Alexis Prince and Kristy Wallace...with Wallace being the most likely to draw the assignment on her...she'll need to move efficiently without the ball to get open looks and hope that Mariya Moore, Briahanna Jackson or whoever is running the assists counter is open for business and distributing. 



2) Close the bakery! Simply put, Louisville can not afford to have a turnover number in double-digits. When it comes to creating turnovers, the Bears run a part-time operation. They forced California into 24. Texas Southern coughed up 21. In the Big 12 Tournament, though, West Virginia committed only seven and Kansas St. was guilty of eight. Having Jackson back and available at point should help the Cards limit the miscues. Interestingly, Moore and Hines-Allen have committed the most turnovers on the Cardinal roster this season. It's time for those two to hang up their baking smocks and shut down the oven.

3) Let "Threedom" reign.  It was the turning point and factor in putting away a pesky Tennessee squad. Moore needs another 5-5 performance or better. Durr needs to be on the mark with her trifecta offerings. Anything that the Cards can get from Kylee Shook, Syd Zambrotta or even Jackson would be a benefit. The Bears allowed 5.5 made threes during the season and a .272 average on attempts. Louisville will need to blow those stats out of the Chesapeake bay tonight and have the ref crew raising both hands over their heads similar to when the Cards last played Baylor. 

4) Defense, defense!  It is the factor that Coach Walz stresses with great importance this time of year. Louisville has allowed 60 points per contest this season. Their opponents have averaged 36% shooting success. Defense starts with communication. Talking. Shouting out the switch, covering the outside shooter, making inside play difficult and preventing the dribble-drive and run-outs. Against Baylor, the inside game that the Bears use quite successfully has to be shut down. In the Cards seven losses this season, they allowed the victors an average of 76 points a game. South Carolina and Notre Dame (twice) scored over 80. We'll call the line of success at 70. If the Cards hold the Bears to that and score more than that, they'll win.


5) Free throws. Charity tosses are the 500 lb. Bears in the corner that everyone is certainly tired of talking about but can't be ignored. The Cards are at a 68% success rate on the season. They allow 70%. Louisville averages going to the line 11 times a contest. If that trend holds, we'll need to see the Cards sink at least eight of them. On the season, opponents have gone to the line 35 more times than the Cards and made 34 more. Durr, Hines-Allen, Moore, Taylor Johnson and Zambrotta are all above 72%. BJ and Walton are at 50%. Sam Fuehring at 65%. If it comes down to late fouling by the Bears, the Cards need to make sure they are getting the ball in the hands of the right player(s) and having "makers, not shooters" on the floor.  

I expect a close game tonight. I think the Cards will be able to slow the Baylor offensive juggernaut down and keep this one in the seventies. I don't think the Bears will have much success trying to stop Hines-Allen inside or Durr from outside...but Louisville will need to curtail what Brown, David and even Cox and Cave can do inside. 

Louisville will need production from "the Big Three" and freshmen Shook and Jazmine Jones would really help the win chances if they "are on".  Hopefully BJ is back to her old "flying around the court and making incredible plays" self and if Louisville can get contributions from Fuehring, Taylor Johnson and a few Syd bombs tossed in for good measure...they should be able to pull off the win. 

Walz and the staff have a plan. They are masterminds at getting a scenario together that will bring success. What they need is for the players to follow it and execute it properly. 

Will we see a repeat of the biggest upset in the history of women's college basketball? Will Louisville continue the quest to go dancing in Dallas? We'll know in about 14 hours (from the time of this article submission). Get in a nap if you need to, put on the coffee and hunker down by the TV or radio tonight and get ready for the game. 

If you're in Okla City and reading this, get loud, get crazy and pull the Cardinals through! 


Success is failure turned inside out.

The silver tint of the clouds in doubt.

And you never can tell how close you are.

It may be near when it seems so far.

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit.

It's when things seem worse that you must not quit.


****************************************************************


THEY SAID IT: 

Walz, Myisha and Asia talk about the game, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant at the link below


twitter.com/VoXPz4vO5z



paulie
xxxxx

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wisconsin no-hits Softball Cards...more on Baylor -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


MENZ ENDS CARDS WIN STREAK WITH NO-HITTER



Louisville softball faced #21 Wisconsin yesterday afternoon at Ulmer Stadium and the visitors handed the Cards a 10-1, five-inning loss that featured Badger pitcher Kaitlyn Menz tossing a no-hitter against Sandy Pearsall's squad. 

The Cards win streak ends at six. Louisville did manage a run in the bottom of the second to tie the contest. Tiarra Sanabria drew a base on balls and advanced to second on a Lillie Goetz fielders choice. Megan Hensley walked to load the bases for Jamie Soles...whose ground-out brought in Sanabria. 

Other than that, the Cards bats were held at bay. UofL starting pitcher Maryssa Becker was touched for seven runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings...Hensley pitched 2/3 of an inning and allowed three runs and three hits. It was the first no-hitter thrown at UofL since Michigan performed the feat back in 2006

After 12 straight games at Ulmer, the Cards take to the road for a three-game series at Syracuse that starts tomorrow. Louisville is 18-8 overall and 3-0 in the ACC. 


**************************************************************


GOING BEAR HUNTING NO WALK IN THE PARK

When the Louisville women's basketball team faces Baylor late Friday night in Oklahoma City...they better (to borrow an old cliche) come loaded for bear. 

These Texan Bears from Waco have plenty of players who can hang a loss on an opponent and when they are on their game...there may not be a better team in the country...except Geno's dogs in Connecticut. 

Like many bears coming out of hibernation, Baylor started slowly against the Golden Bears from California in their last outing...but finished with a roar. 

 Baylor led just 17-12 after the first quarter, then cranked off a 15-0 run in the second quarter, including back-to-back three-pointers by Natalie Chou, and went into halftime up 40-20. Baylor had three players score in double figures, led by seniors Alexis Prince and Nina Davis with 16 points each. Kristy Wallace added 10 points and nine assists.


Down 20 at halftime is daunting enough...but with all Big-12 and starting center 6'7" Kalani Brown picking up two early fouls and watching 19 minutes of action next to head coach Kim Mulkey in the chairs...realizing that she would be back to add firepower to the Baylor attack had to be of great concern to California head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. 

Quite frankly, California should have been placed in the WNIT instead of the Big Dance. They were 19-11 on Selection Monday, had gone 6-12 in conference play....were seventh in the Pac 12, got knocked out in the first round of the PAC 12 tournament by 22 points against Oregon St. and were 4-8 in their last 12 games. I'll say it again...Virginia got hosed. 

Mulkey presented Gottlieb with a baby-shower type gift during the shoot-around the day of the game...since Lindsay is about seven months into term. She should have given her a couple of aspirin or a fifth of red wine for pain relief. 

The Bears come at you with multiple threats and have complied some pretty impressive numbers. (This is where our Jeff McAdams moans...Paulie is about to start throwing stats out). 

Brown leads a balanced attack with 15.1 ppg. She's has plenty of company in double figure scoring...Alexis Jones is at 13.4, Nina Davis 12.6 and Alexis Prince 12.1. . Prince and Davis are regular starters. Off the bench, Beatrice Mompremier adds 8.3, Lauren Cox 8.0 and Kristy Wallace 7.5. These seven, plus Natalie Chou, average anywhere from 15-28 minutes a game.  

Baylor outscored opponents by an average of 89.4 to 55.0 during the season. They dismantled Winthrop 140-32. They scored over 100 points eight times.  

Height-wise...they are impressive as well. Brown, as we mentioned earlier, is 6'7". Cox and Mompremier are 6'4" and Prince and Chou go 6'2". Out of the top eight...there are two red-shirt seniors, one junior, three sophomores and two freshmen. 

The Bears have lost three games this year. Against UConn in a early season 72-61 loss at Storrs, they trailed by just three at the half. After being tied at 54-54 early in the fourth...Baylor went nearly four minutes without scoring, had five turnovers and missed seven out of eight shots. 


They also fell to Texas...in Waco...during early February by a score of 85-79. Texas came out and "punched them right in the mouth" to start the game...according to Mulkey and led the Bears 47-35 at the half. UT shot 72% in the second quarter. Baylor fought back and tied the contest at 74-74 but the Longhorns hit seven free throws in the final 30 seconds to ice the win. 

West Virginia provided a bit of a surprise to Baylor in the Big 12 conference tournament final with a 77-66 beating of the Bears. Leading 39-30 at the half, the Mountaineers extended that to 65-44 going into the final quarter and hung on for the win. WVU's Tynice Martin had 32 in the win.  

Baylor. They can be beat. Not very often, but it is possible. Are they as good as the 2013 squad Louisville beat in the regionals. I will say "no". There is no Griner on this 2016-17 team...although Kalani Brown is pretty fearsome in the paint. No Odyssey Sims present...even though the Alexis duo does a fine job at the guard sports. Is Louisville as good now as they were in 2013? Another hard question, but I will say "no". There is no Shoni. Asia Durr can put up Shoni-like numbers...but isn't quite the on-the-court leader, driver and force on the court. 

Yet. 

The Cards are close, though. If Hines-Allen, Moore, Shook and Ms. Durr can ignite that fire we saw against Tennessee late and get a solid bench performance....it could be another upset in the making. Taylor, Slaughter, Reid were key factors in 2013. Myisha, Mariya and Kylee have comparable skills...if not better. 

A high scoring affair ahead? The numbers would indicate definitely...but Walzian defenses can...and have...limited some pretty powerful offenses to considerably less points than their season averages. Coach will tell you that defense and scoring more points than the opponent wins games. The Cards allow 60 points a contest. Accomplishing this against the high-powered Baylor attack will be a challenge...but Walz will have had four days to prepare, plan and scout these Bears. I like the Cards chances. 

Or, they could follow the Sylvia Hatchell philosophy. After winning their first game in the ACC Tournament, Hatchell was asked what the Tar Heels needed to do to defeat Syracuse. She responded: 

"I guarantee ya we're gonna be praying a lot"

We'll look more closely at what the Cards need to do to win in our Friday morning article. 


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WNIT and ACC? 

The WNIT has a Sweet Sixteen now and two ACC schools are a part of it Georgia Tech knocked off UCF to get there and will face MTSU next. Virginia Tech downed Navy to advance and gets Penn St. next. Of local interest, Indiana also is a Sweet Sixteen participant .

The engineers move forward! Good job Techies and keep on rolling. 


paulie
xxxxx

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Lacrosse wins, Baylor looms -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



NINE SCORERS IN 15-6 LAX WIN OVER DUKES



The Duquesne nickname is "the Dukes". One would think it would be fair play, then...if Duke adopted the "Duquesne's" as their moniker...but as we know, with Grayson Allen on board, fair play is hardly in the Duke vocabulary. Or, maybe this "Dukes" thing is a tribute to Bo, Luke, Cooter and the rest of the crew from the late 70's - early 80's television show THE DUKES OF HAZZARD.

Duquesne sent their duchess contingent to Louisville Tuesday and they got "duked" by the Louisville Lacrosse team 15-6 yesterday. A win that looks great on paper but wasn't that phenomenal...according to coach Kellie Young: 

"We could have won this game 8-2 and I would have been very happy if we had followed our game plan. We kind of get distressed, get frustrated and then get emotional and make bad decisions. We have to stay invested in the game for 60 minutes at a time. We have to understand the scout, play the scout and stay within the system. I know it's crazy to be frustrated...but we are trying to hold our team to a higher standard and we're trying to do great things this season." 


One thing that was pretty awesome, if not downright great, was the multiplicity of scorers yesterday for the Lax gals. Jillian Balog got the first net-finder, Meghan Siverson and McKayla Conti received feeds from Madison Hoover and it was 3-0 Cards early. Taylor Webster dove into the scoring pool next and this one looked like it might be a runaway blowout early. 

The Dukes, though...with no assist from Roscoe P. Coltraine or Daisy Mae...struck back with two consecutive scores and it was a 4-2 contest with six minutes until the half. Elise Koehl acheived net success, Conti poured in another and Balog blogged about her second score to close the half.

It was 7-2 Louisville at the break and Hannah Koloski hadn't scored yet. What separate reality and far-away universe had I been transported to? 

Hannah opened the second half with a tally, alleviating my fears that I wasn't at the "Ellis"...it was the first of five straight for the Birds...Ashley Lynch, Allison Ferrara, Koehl again, and Siverson's second score set the margin at 12-2. 


(People ask me why I call the Lacrosse stadium "the Ellis" . It's because the initials L.L.S. sound like "ellis" when you roll them off your tongue. Or maybe it's in tribute to long-time Cardinal sports orthopedic surgeon Rudy Ellis. I haven't quite decided yet...maybe I could be thinking of my basketball buddy Ellis Blanton?) Or all of the above...Plus, it's positioned right cross from soccer's "Palace"...Lynn Stadium. 

The Dukes fired up the General Lee one more time and ran off three straight scores from Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and JoAnne P. McCallie to make it 12-5. I missed most of those...engaged in a conversation with WDRB reporter Stephan Johnson about the tragic shooting at the Tim Faulkner Gallery over the weekend  and the connection to the Louisville lacrosse program. Savannah Walker, who was a Louisville student and played club ball for the Louisville Club Team program died in the incident. Yellow ribbons were distributed at the game and a moment of silence took place before the contest. Johnson was there to do a story on the connection.

I also spent time explaining the basics of Lacrosse to Johnson and we discussed
why there weren't any players from Louisville on the Cards roster. The Cards recruit the hotbeds of high school lacrosse...Maryland and New Jersey....14 of Louisville's 27 players are from those two states. 

Backup goalie Lexie Ball took the field for the final 9:37 of the game for UofL. She allowed just one score and the Cards got goals from Julia Schmucker (which allowed me to use the phrase "Schmucker stuck'er in the net!) and second scores from Webster and Koloski to end the game in Louisville's favor 15-6. Ball's going to be a good one, continuing the strong tradition that current starter Brittany Read has established. 

Louisville heads to Evanston, IL to face rival Northwestern on Sunday. If the past holds any pitch here...it'll rain and it'll be a tight contest. 

THEY SAID IT


Post game interviews below. We got an airplane involved, but no sirens nor trains. 

Thanks to THE CARDINAL Sports editor Dalton Ray for helping me formulate the questions for Young and McNamara. A man who's beard puts mine to shame. Standing together, we probably look like a couple of roadies from the Grateful Dead tour to the unsuspecting.



KELLIE YOUNG DISCUSSES THE WIN

STEPH MCNAMARA REVIEWS THE CONTEST



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BEARS AHEAD!

The Louisville women's basketball team is in the Sweet Sixteen and travels today to Oklahoma City to face #1 seed in the region...the Baylor Bears...Friday night...somewhere around 9:30 p.m. 

As a reader has commented...and I agree with...I am surprised there is no send-off pep rally for the Cards before they head to O.K.C.

Or maybe I'm not. The WBB Cards have one horrible marketing program. Coach Walz and the players deserve better than this. I've seen way better at significantly smaller schools. Combine that with their media relations fails and maybe it isn't any wonder that only 5800 showed up for the 1st and 2nd rounds. I've seen dog racing get more publicity and media assistance. But, their egos are definitely top-five ranked....OK, back to the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports. Excuse the diversion. 

As much as I wish I was going to be there, unfortunately financial situations and health are going to dictate that I watch this one in Louisville. We looked good financially at CARDINAL COUPLE going into January...but a few unforeseen expenses, road trips to Martin, Nashville, Murfreesboro and the ACC Tournament...plus donations literally non-existent since January have put us on a tight-rope in order to get through the year with any bank account balance at all. As far as a personal financing by me for the trip...no bucks there either. 


Sadly, my knees are getting worse, hip still degenerating and the tendinitis in my IT bands have reached new levels of tightness and making it hard to do steps or any long walking distances. Driving 11 hours is out of the question currently as well. Anyone willing to drop $1000 in the coffers or transplant this brain into a new body, please step forward now. 

(Thanks for cheering us all up, Paulie...) 

I love the call on radio that Nick Curran and A.J. provide. There have been many a road game this season where I've abandoned the video feed and retreated to my porch to listen to the call and "beverage".  Good times...



Kim Mulkey also power-lifts players...isn't that special?
Jeff Walz and his WBB squad will face a tough bunch of Bears in Oklahoma. We'll get into a more descriptive breakdown and analysis in Friday's column...but we'll start with the 86-46 dismantling of another bunch of bears...the California Golden variety...to reach the Sweet Sixteen. 

Lindsay Gottlieb, Cal head coach, says this: 


"They have a darn good team. I know they have to go to Oklahoma City first...but I think they have a great chance to be playing in Dallas." 


A keen eye there, Coach G. Sequential order is of importance in any accurate dissertation this time of year...

Kalani Brown, Nina Davis, Natalie Chou, Kristy Wallace, Lauren Cox. The deadly Alexis factor...Alexis Prince and Alexis Jones. This magnificent seven, along with a little help from their friends...has complied a 32-3 record. UConn early, Texas late in the regular season pinned losses on Mulkey's bunch. Improbable West Virginia in the Big 12 tournament knocked them off. 

Poor Texas Southern drew the misfortune of drawing them in the NCAA opener. 119-30 was that outcome. A forty-point drubbing of a Cal team that many questioned deserving an NCAA bid. 

But, they run into the mad genius of Jeff Walz next. We all remember 2013 in Okla. City. The biggest upset in women's college basketball. Wanna see that one? Click the link below: 

LINK: CARDS DEFEAT BAYLOR

Kim is also known for the screaming death stare
Difficult...but not impossible. Is this Baylor team as good as the one in 2013 that Louisville beat? Is this Louisville team as good as the 2013 version? Does it matter? 

Kim Mulkey. Such a shy and non-controversial soul...She's taken Baylor to nine straight Sweet Sixteen's. She has talent galore. She's played two less-than-impressive teams so far...how will the Bears handle a Cardinal squad with...perhaps...just as good, if not better talent? 

The Cards handled a tall and impressive Vols squad with defense, successful shooting and a strong finish. Louisville has faced their share of tough competition in Notre Dame, South Carolina, Maryland and Florida State...who are all still dancing. Asia Durr is putting up fantastic numbers, Myisha Hines-Allen the force in the paint, Mariya Moore has been re-born and exuding confidence and this Cardinal team is playing like a team and not just a bunch of All-Americans. 

We'll cover more on this match-up later. The shootout at the OK Corral. It should be a good one...


paulie
xxxxx 











Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Strong start to final quarter drives Cards past Vols 75-64...TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



16-4 RUN TOPPLES ROCKY TOP 


Mariya prepares to inbounds
The University of Louisville women's basketball team used a 16-4 start to the fourth quarter to erase a one-point deficit and gain a 11 point, 62-51 lead over the first six minutes of the final frame and beat Tennessee in the KFC YUM! Center Monday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Cards earn a berth in the Sweet Sixteen! Still dancing. 



A crowd of 5698 went ballistic over the Cards scoring stretch...that featured eight points from Mariya Moore and seven from Asia Durr. Trailing 47-46 after thirty minutes...the Cards Sydney Zambrotta started the fourth by forcing UT's Jordan Reynolds into a turnover from a steal and getting a driving layup by Moore. 45 seconds later, Moore knocked down a three and "we got a little Moore" when Myisha Hines-Allen found Moore on the wing and the junior drilled another trifecta to make the Cardinal lead 54-47 at the 7:23 mark. 

Durr took the reins next. Her free throw put Louisville put 55-49. She followed with two straight successful jumpers to build the advantage to 59-51. After a Hines-Allen free throw, Durr struck again with a layup in the paint off a nice feed from Moore and head Tennessee coach Holly Warlick called a time-out to talk it over...almost kicking the basketball before a player restrained her...Louisville leading 62-51 and 4:07 on the clock. Are the Vols looking for a place-kicker? 


DeShields being attended to
A scary moment with 2:02 to play when both Moore and DeShields went down on the court after a missed Shook jumper and Nared rebound. Trainers and coaches rushing to each fallen player. A leg cramp for Moore (drink your water and hydrate, girl!) and blow to the head to DeShields that necessitated taking her out of the game for 20 seconds before returning. 


UT would fight back several times over the waning minutes...cutting the lead to 67-62 after a Jamie Nared hoop and free throw at the 1:38...but the Cards went on a game-closing 8-2 run...featuring four Durr free throws, a Briahanna Jackson layup and a triumphant, breakaway Hines-Allen layup after a block and mad dash down the court while grinning broadly with 10 seconds left. 

To be sure...before the fourth, this was anyone's ball game. 

The Cards began well, racing out to a 15-9 lead after Moore's first of five threes at the 4:37 mark in the first. UT would battle back to tie it at 19-19 and lead 21-20 after a Diamond DeShields jumper before Jackson's layup with four seconds gave the Cards the one-point margin after one. 


The Cards would rally from a 27-26 Tennessee lead in the second and grab a 33-27 edge after a Sam Fuehring jumper with 3:26 until half. UT had been held scoreless for 4:52 before Nared nailed a couple of free throws...twice in a row to climb back within two before Fuehring closed out the first half scoring with a bucket 17 seconds before halftime. The Cards took a 35-31 lead to the locker-room...but few in the crowd were comfortable with it after a very competitive and exciting first half. 

Free throws were a matter of debate. The Cards took two in the first half and made one. The Vols were 7-14 from the charity stripe

Points in the paint were going Louisville's way...18-12 but Nared was waging a one-women war on Louisville with 15 points. The Cards had held Mercedes Russell to just seven points and DeShields had been limited to six...but one wondered if those two would explode in the final twenty minutes. 


Mariya awaits the pass
Nared's three a minute into the third frame put UT back into the lead 36-35. Louisville would eventually push back out to a six-point edge after Moore's third three made it 42-36 ...but UT finished the final five minutes on a 11-4 run. Jordan Reynolds' jumper sent the Vols to a 47-44 advantage but Hines-Allen countered with 22 ticks left to create the 47-46 Tennessee margin. 

The Cards 29-17 scoring edge in the fourth was augmented by 64.3% shooting for the ten minutes and a defensive effort that limited the SEC foe to 3-18 final period marksmanship for a abysmal 16.7%. Defense (and scoring more points than the opponent) wins games and the Cards fourth quarter containment of Russell (0-2) and the rest of the UT players was a big key in getting the win. 


Russell, a 6'6" red-shirt junior, was the focus of an intense recruiting effort during her senior year in high school between UofL and Tennessee. The Vols won the commitment battle but Louisville won the war Monday evening. Jordan Reynolds, Kortney Dunbar and Alexa Middleton...all Vol contributors...were subjects of various levels of Cardinal recruiting as well. Instead, Louisville ended up with Moore, Hines-Allen, Carter and eventually Jackson. Another obvious win for the red and black. 

A great game and another exciting moment right after it ended when I got to visit briefly with daily reader and comments maestro Mike D. and old college fraternity buddy and site regular Tom Roma. Good to see both of them and it's absolutely wonderful and I'm very happy that they came out to support their Cards! 


HOW DID FRED DO? 


Cards still dancin' like Fred Astaire.
Free Throws -- The Cards were 10-16 for 62%. Louisville was 1 for 2 after three periods. They made enough in the final ten minutes to clinch the win...but not enough to get a letter here. Our standard is 70%. It wasn't met. 

Rebounding -- UT edged Louisville out with a 43-41 effort. In the fourth quarter the Cards did have a 13-10 edge...so we can't be too critical here. Hines -Allen grabbed 13...to give her a double-double with her 14 points...and Moore controlled nine (just missing a double-double with 19 points). I'll deem a small case "r" here...tracking down those missed UT shots in the fourth a very big part of the reason.

Effort/Execution -- We talked about the "big three" needing to do productive work in Monday's column and they did...with 56 points, 28 rebounds and just three turnovers. Shook was essential and a contributor in her 26 minutes and Fuehring and Jackson gave a lot of heart and hustle to the cause. This multi-faceted effort led to a Louisville win and the execution was crisp and precise when it needed to be.  A capital "E" was earned. 

Defense -- It may be the thing I'm most proud of from the Cards tonight. taking on a very talented UT squad, holding them to 33.3% shooting, creating 13 turnovers and not letting DeShields or Nunn take over. Yes, Nared was outstanding in defeat and caused a lot of headaches...but when it counted, Louisville slammed the door on the Vols offense at the end and that most absolutely and definitely earns them the capital "D". 


FINAL FRED COUNT:  -_r-E-D 


SO...


Cheerleaders prepare to...well...cheer! 
Survive and advance this time of year. It is the prime objective. Louisville did that in an exciting contest that turned into a Card party in the final ten minutes. I veered away from my usual analytical and subjective game watching routine tonight and viewed this one as a passionate (but restrained and mostly silent) fan. Can't get too crazy on press row, you know...

Give a lot of credit to the Vols for making this a tight affair for thirty minutes. They found their strengths early on and utilized them to effective measures. The portion of the game that usually decides who will get the "W" and "L", though...the final period...belonged to Louisville.

Durr, who has been good-as-advertised the vast majority of the season hit only one three all night but found other ways to score and contribute and her 23 points kind of snuck up on me. Hines-Allen, the warrior...wearing her heart on her sleeve...was "MyZilla" again Monday night. She wanted to keep dancing in March and got that accomplished. Oh, Mariya! What a great time to execute three-point perfection. I'd have to give her player-of-the-game for that and the overall execution, her 19 points and lighting the fuse that blew up the Volunteer firecracker. 


We think she chose correctly. Go Dana! 
Briahanna, Kylee, Sam, Jazz, Syd, Cortnee and Johnson & Johnson all did their part to assure the Cards will be travelling westbound for a Friday shoot-out at the OK Corral against #1 seed in the region Baylor...who obliterated California by 40...86-46.  

Two down, four to go....in the March Madness show. 

The decision now...do I take this old
body to Oklahoma...11 hours away or not? 


Best exchange of the post-game presser. Mariya Moore explaining her leg cramps: 

Mariya: "Our nutritionist, our trainer are always on me to drink more often." 

Walz: "That's water. She means water. Just want to make sure we clarify that. " 


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THEY SAID IT: 

WALZ AND PLAYERS AFTER TENNESSEE WIN


*****************************************************


CARDINAL COUPLE BRACKET CHALLENGE


We have a Sweet Sixteen sighting! Congrats to UConn, UCLA, Maryland, Oregon, Baylor, LOUISVILLE, Washington, Mississippi St., Notre Dame, Ohio St., Texas, Stanford, South Carolina, Quinnipiac,  Florida St., and Oregon St. on their advancement. 

(4) #1 seeds, (3) #2 seeds, (4) #3 seeds, (2) #4 seeds, (1) #5 seed (1) #10 seed and (1) #12 seed move along. Survive and advance. 

Four Pac 12 still alive. Three from the ACC and the SEC. Two from the Big 10 and Big 12, one AAC and one MAAC school as well. 

THE LEADERBOARD --THE TOP 12

43-5  Kenny S., Cliff
42-6  The Deb Factor, Paulie
41-7  Curtis Franklin, Charlie Mc
40-8  Joe Hill, K. Starks, Perry S. 
39-9  Doug A, Jenny, Beth 

15 games to go! Out of the top 12, seven have UConn as the champ. Two have Notre Dame and Baylor, Louisville and Stanford are the champ picks from one entry each. 

Good luck all! If you don't see your name above and what to see how you're doing...feel free to ask in the comments section or e-mail Sonja at: 

cardinalcouple@twc.com

paulie
xxxxx