Welcome to Wednesday ! And, thanks to one of the weather guys on local radio who gave me TUESDAY's forecast this morning and had me confused for a brief bit. Just another tricky day, eh?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020



We are halfway through the ACC Conference slate, and after nine ACC game, only Louisville Women's basketball can point to an undefeated conference record. 

At 9-0, the Cards are a game ahead of North Carolina St. (8-1) and three games up on Florida State (6-3). Both Louisville and NC State have just one loss in their 2019-20 schedule results...the Cards at 20-1 fell to Ohio State on Dec. 5th and NC State (19-1) tumbled at North Carolina 66-60 on January 9th. Florida St. has complied a 17-3 record, with all three losses in conference. They fell at Syracuse, in overtime, 90-89, hosting Georgia Tech 67-52 and at NC State 68-51. 

The way the ACC Tournament sets up allows the top four finishers in conference a bye until Friday games. If the tournament were to start tomorrow, Louisville, NC State and FSU would be three of those teams. #4 seed would (as of now) go to Virginia Tech, who is 5-3 in conference and 16-4 overall.  Georgia Tech, UNC, Wake Forest and Duke are all knocking at that "double bye" door, though, with just four losses. 

With at least nine conference games left for the majority of the teams that participate in the ACC (Va. Tech, Boston College, and Pitt still have 10 games to play in conference), it's way too early to make predictions on final seeding, obviously, of today... the first three games, on Wednesday, (comprising of seeds 10-15) would match some sort of combination between Pitt, Notre Dame, Virginia, Clemson, Boston College, Miami and Syracuse. 

Here's the ACC WBB standings, going into Thursday's action: 

Louisville           9-0, 20-1
NC State            8-1, 19-1
Fla. State          6-3, 17-3
Va. Tech            5-3, 16-4
Ga. Tech           5-4, 14-6
UNC                  5-4, 14-6
Wake Forest      5-4, 12-8
Duke                 5-4, 11-9
Boston College  3-5, 10-10
Miami               3-6, 11-9
Syracuse           3-6, 9-10
Virginia            3-6, 8-12 
Clemson           3-6, 7-13
Notre Dame      2-7, 7-13
Pitt                  0-8, 3-16

The Cards have not faced Fla. State, Notre Dame, NC State, Georgia Tech, or Virginia Tech yet and four of these five teams are the second through fifth ranked teams in the conference. The battle ahead for Louisville, quite frankly, is a tough one. 

Four out of Louisville's nine remaining conference games are at the KFC YUM! Center. Fla. St, Notre Dame, Boston College and Virginia Tech are the visitors. 

Louisville gets the advantage of hosting Fla. State at home  on Feb 6th. A tough match awaits the Cards on Feb.13th. when they travel to Raleigh, NC and take on Ms. Wuf and her gang of Wolves. A week later, the Cards land in Atlanta to visit Buzz and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Both are Thursday contests. There will be ACC Network coverage for NC State and, from what I'm understanding... RSN (Fox Sports something-or-other) will show the Georgia Tech game. This stuff changes, though, so check here on game days and we'll provide the viewing option. 

Thank goodness only one of the final nine are on the ACC Network Extra. The Cards and Pitt on Feb. 20th. go to the internet-only broadcasting source.  

A conference-season ending tilt, bringing in Virginia Tech on March 1st, could have big implications on the ACC Conference Tournament pairings.  

If you're a fan of Bracketology, the ESPN "experts" have six ACC teams getting invites to the "Big Dance".  Currently, the Cards are the lone #1 seed for the ACC. Others listed in the Bracketology guess are NC State, FSU, Ga. Tech, UNC and Va. Tech. I think Wake Forest and Duke should merit a little consideration as well, and if they finish strong and have good showings in the ACC Tournament, I think they'll earn NCAA Tournament bids.

If Miami can ever get Bea Mompremier healthy, watch out for the Canes, too.  

It also looks like, for now, we'll have an NCAA Tournament without "Q" (Syracuse) or "Muffet" (Notre Dame) unless either can win the ACC Tournament and get the automatic bid. When was the last time that happened...both of those usually very successful programs being shut out of the field of 64? 

Thursday, January 30th. action involves Virginia at North Carolina, Georgia Tech goes to Miami and Boston College travels to Tallahassee to face FSU. The NC State Wolfpack invade Clemson, UofL at Notre Dame (an ESPN game!), Wake visits Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech sojourns to Syracuse. 


Coach Jeff Walz meets with the media today at 12:30 p.m. in the Media room at Planet Fitness Koeber Center. We'll have the audio link from P.F.K.C. later today here at the site for you to hear. I'm expecting a hard pitch for USA vs. Louisville, a little Notre Dame discussion and whatever else crosses Coach's mind. 

No players, that we know of yet, will appear with him. I wonder if USA WBB has started moving their travelling show into the P.F.K.C. yet? They practice Fri. and Sat. on Floyd Street and we'll find out more about availability today, I would guess.  

Check back here later today, for the "words with Walz". 


Five student-athletes from the 2019 Louisville women's soccer team were honored Tuesday afternoon by being named to the 2019 All-ACC Academic Team. 

Seniors Ariana Ferraro and Brooklynn Rivers made the list. It's the second time for Rivers. 

Juniors Emina Ekic and Gabby Kouzelos achieved the 3.0 GPA from the previous semester as well. Ekic has been named to the team all three years she has been here at UofL. Kouzelos makes her second appearance on the squad. 

Sophomore Delaney Snyder rounds out the list of Cardinal WSOC student-athletes honored. 

A 3.0 GPA from the previous semester and cumulative 3.0 GPA during the student-athletes academic career are the criteria for making the squad. Athletic achievements are also considered in selecting the team.

Virginia had eight student-athletes named to the squad, Duke seven, Clemson and NC State placed six on the roster and Louisville, FSU, UNC and Wake Forest added five players each to the prestigious list.  

Congratulations to these five Cardinal student-athletes for their awards and achievements !  


Interested in the 2020 Cards WBB signee Hailey Van Lith? Here's a video below you might enjoy !

A wonderful Wednesday to you!


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Rankings -- Spring Sports Countdown -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

New Rankings

Not much changed changed in the latest  AP rankings minus a couple switches here and there.  The Civil War had the biggest effect, causing Oregon to move up to #3 and knocking Oregon State down to #10.

South Carolina remained #1 and was the heavy favorite for the top spot after they improved their record to 19-1.  Baylor remained in the #2 spot after moving to 17-1 on the year.  They did received three first place ballots.  UConn, who took down rival Tennessee earlier in the week, dropped to #4 and only sits six points behind the Ducks.

UConn fell to the USWNT last night 79-64 after trailing by a single point entering the final quarter.

Louisville remained at #5 and received a first place vote again.  The Cards had a solid victory against Virginia on Thursday and trounced Pitt on Sunday.  They head to Notre Dame on Thursday night, which will we preview that day, and host Team USA on Sunday.

Have you got your USA vs Louisville tickets yet? Coach Walz has asked the media to help him promote the exhibition and you don't want to miss our Cardinals going up against the best in the world!

There are lower bowl seat available, last I heard, and after last night's UConn vs, USA game, we need to show the Huskies that we can pack our arena, too. That was a good game, UConn hanging in there after a slow start until the very end.

OK, back to the rankings.

Stanford, NC State, UCLA, Mississippi State, and Oregon State round out the Top 10.  Other notable rankings are Kentucky at #13 and Florida State at #14.  The ACC has had somewhat of a down year with just three teams sitting in the Top 25.

Speaking of Wildcats, UK struggled a bit with Auburn last night in Memorial Coliseum before getting a 68-61 win.

If you haven't seen Unique Thompson play for Auburn yet, do yourself a favor and catch her action. She blistered the Cats for 27 points last night!  The 6'3" junior forward also had 15 rebounds and held Rhyne Howard to just 10 points. Unique is fun to watch, and she's got Dana/Kylee- type eyelashes !!

Spring Sports Countdown

Some sports like tennis and swimming and diving have begun already while others are swiftly approaching.

Lacrosse is nearly upon us.  Their season opener at Cincinnati is just 12 days away.  Their home opener is 18 days away.

Softball is a tad closer to their season when they begin the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla in 10 days.  They won't be at Ulmer Stadium until March, however.

Golf has a little more time before they begin their spring season, with the Moon Golf Invitational in Melbourne, Fla coming in mid-February.

The second Spring Sports Media Day is scheduled for Thursday at the Cards WBB practice facility. This time, Softball, Lacrosse, Rowing, men's Tennis and men's golf will take the stage.

Thank You, Kobe

Paulie already mentioned this yesterday but I want to also pay my respects to Kobe Bryant.  Besides his legacy in the NBA and his character he has made a lasting impact on the women's basketball community.

To those who don't know, Kobe was coaching some of his daughters' basketball teams and has been a big advocate for women's basketball at the high school and collegiate level.  Less than two weeks ago, Kobe went to visit UofL commit Hailey Van Lith and the two took a picture together, which we have featured for you.

Imagine 20 years with just one team. It sounds ridiculous in today's free agency, but Kobe was a Laker all those years and meant so much to LA. They say he built the Staples Center and, after his retirement, worked non-stop to promote women's sports.

He and his daughter also had a close relationship with Geno the UConn WBB squad and at last night's game they paid tribute to "Mambacita" with a UConn jersey draped over a chair on thee UConn bench and other tributes to 13 yr. old GiGi. Gone too soon, Kobe, Gigi and the seven others on that helicopter that definitely should have been grounded.


Already yelling at the refs for not calling her way
There are no women's sporting events for the next couple of days, giving us a slight rest in event coverage. We're guessing Walz will hold his usual Wednesday presser, so we'll have that to post for you in Paulie's article tomorrow. 

Thursday, we will get to see the Cards destroy Notre Dame. It's an ESPN game. I'll preview that more on Thursday. Paulie won't be attending in South Bend, he's 0-3 up on the Notre Dame campus for sporting events and doesn't want to jinx the Cards WBB squad

The Irish are 7-13 on the season, 2-7 in ACC play and got blown out Charlottesville Sunday by the 8-12, 3-6 Virginia Cavaliers by a 90-60 result.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Monday, January 27, 2020



With six in double figure scoring (almost seven) and a defensive effort that allowed just 29.7% Pittsburgh shooting, Louisville had no trouble Sunday against the Pitt Panthers in the KFC YUM! Center with a 83-49 win. 

The crowd of 11624, bolstered by over 1500 Girl Scouts, saw Louisville jump on the Panthers early, maintain the pressure throughout the entire contest and go to 20-1 on the season and 9-0 in ACC play. 

R.I.P #24 and Gianna. We will always remember you.
Shocking news of the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, plus seven others, in a helicopter crash broke as Sonja and I were in the media room, having our pre-game meal and doing our pre-game preparation. It tempered the aspect of the game and our enthusiasm level, knowing that a guy who had spent all 20 of his NBA years in Los Angeles and had meant so much to women's basketball was no longer with us. 

Louisville came out to find that the Panthers were OK with being competition early, and the Cards fell behind for the first 3-1/2 minutes. Two Liz Dixon free throws evened the score at 7-7 and started a three-minute, 13-0 run for Louisville that put them up 18-7 after Kylee Shook was on the receiving end of a fast-break pass from Elizabeth Balogun. A Dana Evans three-pointer bumped the advantage up to 21-13 with 1:55 left in the first, and that's how the first ten minutes ended. 

Evans had seven of the UofL points after one, the Cards had taken advantage of a 5-0 edge in fast-break points and second chance opportunities. Louisville forced the visitors into six first-quarter turnovers. 

Louisville and Pitt played pretty evenly for the first half of the second quarter. A Bionca Dunham set the tally at 26-17 and kicked off a 13-5 Cardinal run that developed over the next four minutes. Kasa Robinson, Louisville defensive stalwart, got the crowd up and cheering wildly when she went on her own 4-0 run with a jumper, steal and resulting layup to push the Cards to a 36-22 advantage. That sequence started a half-ending 9-2 Louisville spurt that sent the Cards to the locker room holding a 41-24 lead. 

Louisville won the second quarter 20-11 and Evans led all scorers with 12 points. Elizabeth Balogun was having a productive first half, as well, with seven points and six rebounds. And, how about our own Philly Fanatic Dunham...putting in a fantastic 15 minutes that netted her eight points, five grabs and three assists. The Cardinal defense had held Pitt to just 10-34 shooting (29%) and Pitt had committed 10 turnovers. 

Would the Cards keep up the impressive defensive tenacity and continue to score at will in the final 20 minutes? 

Coach looking one way, everyone else the other way. Hmmm. 
They certainly did. As she has done in the past several games, Jazmine Jones used the second half to make her mark on the contest. Her eight points led Louisville to a 25-11 win in the third session. Six of the eight Cardinals that played in the third hit the scoreboard and UofL started the session with a 12-3 run that covered the first five minutes. The score was 53-27 and Walz went to a lineup with both Shook and Dixon on the court at the same time to see what they could do inside.

Dunham, Evans and Jones were pretty much done for the afternoon, the Cardinal dual-posts tallied the next six points and Balogun capped off the quarter by nailing a three as time expired on an exciting sequence.  Dixon grabbed a missed free throw attempt from Robinson, quickly got the ball to a wide open "E" and she drained the attempt with a second on the clock.

66-35 after three quarters. Nine Pitt turnovers in those ten minutes had led to 12 points-off-turnovers for the Cards and the only real question that remained was if UofL would go into one of their recent fourth quarter swoons? 

It kinda didn't happen but it was a tale of two stories in the fourth period.

With Diop, Shook, Balogun, Dixon and Robinson on the court to start the fourth , the Cards built the lead to 40 at 75-35 after Ya-Ya finished a fast break with a layup at the 7:34 mark. Pitt hadn't scored yet in the fourth and Walz emptied the bench after that, bringing in Jess and Lindsey for Balogun and Shook. The Cards largest lead came seconds after that at 77-35 when Dixon connected in the paint off a Laemmle pass. Thus concludes the first story. A 11-0 Cards happy success.  

The theme of the second story of the fourth quarter concerns Louisville's shooting. It wasn't very productive in the final five minutes, going just two for eight, and Pitt did take the latter part of the final period 14-6.  The contest had been long since over, things were well-in-hand for a Cards "W" and no UofL starters were left on the court. Jess scored Louisville final bucket, with a nice hesitation move and drive to the hoop with 26 seconds left and, at the buzzer, the board read Cards 83- Panthers 49.

Despite the final five minutes, Louisville won the fourth quarter 17-14, Diop leading the way for Louisville with six points in the fourth. Freshman Dayshanette Harris had a huge final period for Pitt, hitting three buckets and three free throws for nine of her total 18 points. 83-49 was the final and Walz ended the evening on court with a passionate plea for the fans to buy USA vs. Louisville tickets. We stand with him on this one. 

Listen up, knuckleheads. This is the team that will represent the USA in the Olympics. Angel is coming to town. A 2 p.m. start ensures you won't miss any Super Bowl action and why are you interested in a football game without Satterfield or Lamar, anyway?  


Former Pitt three-point specialist Fred Potvin
saw this coming, left Pitt to go to Canada.
FREE THROWS -- The refs really didn't get n the way too much in Sunday's game. Pitt is a foul prone squad due to youth and inexperience and that led to 19 Cardinal free throw attempts. They sank 14 of them for a 73.7%. Liz led the way, going 4-4, and the Cardinal starters were 9 for 11 (83%). Based on these numbers, we can grant a CAPTIAL "F" for foul-stripe accuracy. 

REBOUNDS -- Louisville controlled the defensive board 29-22 but Pitt took the offensive boards 18-13. "E" stood tall for the second game in a row, co-leading Louisville with eight, but huge props to Kasa Robinson for ending up with eight also. Jaz with just one grab in 22 minutes is a bit disappointing, but she led everyone on the court with five steals. Louisville won the game, barely took the rebounding battle, but I'm offering just a small case "r" here...when an opponent shoots just 29%, I'd expect a lot larger "grab" differential than two.

EFFICIENCY/EXECUTION -- When you build up a 42-point lead and win by 34, a lot of things are going right for you. The Cards shot 47.7% from the floor, has 23 assists on 31 made baskets and committed just 10 turnovers. And, only three of these were from the starters. They went to war in the paint most of the game and won points-in-the-paint 32-20. Taking the categories points-off-turnovers (19-13), second-chance points (13-9) and fast break points (17-2) easily allows me to deem a CAPITAL "E" in this category. 

DEFENSE. It was spectacular for 30 of the 40 minutes played. Getting 15 steals. Pitt had 22 turnovers. The visitors shot 29.7% and 21% from the three-point range. I could go on-and-on, but this one was an easy decision to make. CAPITAL "D" for the defense. 


Pitt's head coach Lance White beat almost all of the media except me to the press conference podium and I neglected to bring my auto recording device, so we didn't capture his brief post-game remarks. I asked all the questions after his opening statement, confused him with a couple of, maybe it's good that we didn't get his remarks.

I've put Jared on "Cardinal Couple official post-game social media probation" for lollygagging around and neglecting this important service we try to provide for you. (He's actually been on watch since the start of the season for possible infractions and discrepancies).

i may start looking for someone who can beat my old, hobbled carcass to the media presentation room after a game and record this stuff.  OK, Pitt's head coach was quick on the draw because of radio obligations that followed, but, I need someone who follows the Lion King song title. 

Be prepared. 

@mrandersonjared did manage to show up in time for the Louisville players and Walz. Give him grief on Twitter for me. Those links below. 




Cardinal fans showed up in huge numbers and got what they came for, a exciting game and a dominating Cardinal win.

Despite, Walz's glib post-game comment to my question about the pre-game objective and whether the squad met it of not...(he responded with that the pre-game objective was to score one more point than the foe)...he did go on to say that Louisville did distribute the ball well, get balanced scoring and play shut-down defense. Four player with 12 points each in Shook, Dunham, Balogun and Evans....Jones with 11...and Yacine knocking on the double-digit door with eight. 

So, an expected trouncing of the worst team in the ACC happened. Turn the page, let Lola and Lucy write a "W" on the schedule on the refrigerator.  

Next, is Muffet's mediocre crew in south Bend. Yes, Walz wlll tell you they are a dangerous team, Louisville must be ready and so on and so forth. He gets paid to prepare his team in that "one-game-at-a-time, all-foes-are dangerous" fashion. But, Notre Dame is not dangerous this year and a great opportunity lies ahead to give them a beat-down like Virginia did yesterday afternoon 90-60. 

Cardinal fans are sharks in the water for this one. They smell the out-of-control bleeding going on within the South Bend swimmers and are ready for a Cardinal WBB attack. 

Let's hope the Cardinal players are focused, ready and can give the Irish a significant thumping, despite Walz's carefully thought-out "win by one" pre-game emphasis. 




Sunday, January 26, 2020

Pitt today -- W Tennis downs SEMO St -- Swimming at the YUM -- Batter Up Brunch -- SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE.

Pitt Comes to the Yum!

0-7 in conference, 3-15 overall.  Honestly, and trying to be a respectful as possible, that may be about all you need to know about Pitt before today's later afternoon matchup.

The Panthers come in with wins only against Central Connecticut State, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Ole Miss.  UCF beat them by 14, Georgetown by 10, and Duquesne by 19.  None of these are strong teams in overall NCAA play.  In conference, loses have come by margins of eight to UNC, eight to Notre Dame, nine to Boston College, 12 to Virginia Tech, eight to Clemson, 18 to Syracuse, and to NC State?  Well, that one may have gotten an R rating for being just gruesome.  The Wolfpack ran off with a 22-0 run to start the 3rd quarter and won the overall quarter 30-4 on their way to a 88-44 finish.

The only main statistical category that Pitt is beating it's opponents is rebounding.  They do have that edge on both the defensive and offensive side, though the offensive rebounding margin is razor thing on the season.  Aysia Bugg is the scoring leader, averaging 13 per game, close behind is a committee of Amber Brown, Dayshanette Harris, and Gabbie Green, all scoring between 9.9 and 9.5 points per game.  Starting in the post, look for Cara Judkins, she's good for the highest scoring percentage on the team, but it's only 4.5 per game.  At 6'2", I don't think she'll provide a huge challenge for Kylee or Bionca.

Wins are what is looked for in the season, and this should be a relatively easy one.  I hope that Coach Walz can use this one for some teaching time with a little less pressure on getting the team into the winning side of the scoreboard.  We've all watched and cheered as this team has started to "figure it out", but there's still quite a ways to go on that journey.  While the level of competition plays into some of that, it can also be nice to have a less pressure filled game to give players a chance to make mistakes, play through them, and learn from the experiences.

A feel-good romp should make for a fun time in the KFC Yum! Center this afternoon.  It's a 4pm tip and is on the ACC Network, so there is no need for streaming today.

Tennis Back in Action

South East Missouri State comes to Louisville for a double-header today vs Mark Beckham's Tennis squad.

I haven't caught up much with the Tennis team this year, but they are transfer-laden, with seven of the 10 players on the roster listed as having transferred from another University, and also have a significant international flair, having a pair of Argentinians, a Russian, a Canadian (Toronto), and a Bosnian.

The first matchup starts with the doubles as always at 10am, and the second matchup will be at 1pm.  Live streaming of the matches should be available at:

At the time of this writing, it appears only one of the six courts actually has live video up and running.

Swimming and Diving

It was a the Battle of the Bluegrass, pool party style, yesterday at the Ralph Wright Natatorium.  Our intrepid photographer, Jared was in attendance early, before scooting over to the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour recording.  All reports was that it was an absolute jam packed house, with at least parts of 5 or 6 other sports teams in attendance to cheer on their colleagues against the Wildcats.

The teams split in the results, with the Kentucky women getting the best of the Louisville women with total scores of 160.5 to 139.5.  The Louisville men managed a similar margin of the Wildcats with a total score of 165 to 135.

On the women's side, we got wins from Arina Openysheva in the 100 free, Christiana Regenauer in the 100 fly, and Lainey Visscher in the 50 free.  The three of them, plus Casey Fanz narrowly edged out the wildcats to get the win in the 400 free relay.  The margin of victory was less than two tenths of a second in a nearly three and a half minute long race.

In (well, mostly above) the diving end of the pool, Molly Fears was just edged in the 1 meter board competition, but did come out on top in the 3 meter.

You can see more of Jared's pictures from the event below.

The Swim and Dive team will be back in action Friday with Indiana coming to the Ralph Wright.

Softball Batter Up Brunch

Louisville Softball held their pre-season Batter Up Brunch at the PNC Club yesterday and Paulie and Sonja were there to attend and catch the words.

Sean Moth handled the P.A. duties in his always informative fashion

A great time it was. Here are some audio links from the event:  Vince Tyra made some opening remarks, Alicja Wolny delivered the keynote speaker address and there was a great video about the squad that the attendees got to see while they dined. Celene Funke did a Q&A with selected members of the squad, including Eden Mayo, Catlin Ferguson, Chardonnay Harris and Holly Aprile ended the program with her comments about the event, team and upcoming season.

It was a splendid time for all, and a silent auction was also available for attendees.









Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

It's a little bit of two steps forward and one step back.  We had four of us in the recording booth at the Louisville Northeast Regional Library branch, and with the added input, I found a new technical glitch.  Poor Jared, the audio interface they have had the 3rd and 4th channels turned off.  Case, Paulie, and I started on channels one and two, plus a separate USB mic, meaning for the first part of the show, Jared is awfully hard to hear.  I did give him my mic to use as I struggled to find the cause of the problem (and you can tell in my extremely distracted responses to prompts from Paulie).  We did find, and fix, the problem after the show.  So this continues to be a learning process.  In any case, you can check out the show below.


Saturday, January 25, 2020

Tennis Beats Ball State; Track Underway in South Bend -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Tennis Claims Victory Over Ball State 5-2

After a pair of sweeps at home last week, Louisville headed to Muncie, Indiana to take on the Cardinals of Ball State. The Battle of the Redbirds was a rematch from last season, when Louisville played host. In last season's match up, UofL was victorious, winning 6-1 over a Ball State team that went on to finish the season 16-6, with the final loss coming against the top-seeded Miami (OH) in the MAC Tournament. 

Yesterday, Louisville claimed victory by winning all three doubles matches and four of six singles matches. Ball State put up more fight than the final score indicates, after a big win (6-2, 6-0) for the northern Cardinals in the first completed singles match tied the overall score at 1-1 (doubles matches are completed first). Louisville regained a 3-1 lead before a close Ball State win (6-4, 6-3) made it 3-2. UofL finished off the final two singles matches to take the victory with the final 5-2 score. 

I was a bit harsh on the Cards last week in my assessment of their last few seasons, as there is no way to know this early if the team has turned a corner. A victory over a Ball State squad that they beat last year may not seem like much, but that matchup was just the second of the season and it was a Ball State team that lost just five more matches on the year. Louisville has plenty more time to get everything cleaned up before the conference season gets underway and we'll see during that time if the Cards can continue to put up impressive performances. 

Track Goes to Notre Dame Invitational

For their second winter meet of the year, the Cards are returning to Indiana. After a week off following the Gene Edmunds Cup, in which the Cards saw quite a bit of success, Louisville is in South Bend for a single day invitational meet where they will hope to duplicate some of those strong performances. The return to Indiana may seem a bit odd, but they'll actually head back for a third meet in the state on Valentine's Day at IU. In fact, all but one of the team's winter meets (outside of the championship) takes place north of Louisville. The only southern event is in Fayetteville, Arkansas and will share the competition weekend with the aforementioned event at IU and a third meet hosted in Ames, Iowa. Similarly, the indoor ACC championships will return to South Bend before any NCAA qualifiers head all the way to Alburquerque, New Mexico.

Keep an eye on the results from today's meet posted by the UofL Track and Field Twitter account, which can be followed along on the right hand side of the site, and tune in for final results following completion of the meet later today.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

We still haven't given up on this new podcast format. In fact, you might say we're getting better at it every week. I don't know if you believe that, but you might say it. This week, we'll test the capacity of the new studio when we add a fourth member to the mix. Jared has finally emerged from his hibernation and decided to grace Paulie, Jeff, and me with his presence. We've got plenty of basketball to cover, as well as continuing coverage of the lead up to spring sports getting underway. The show this week will again be coming to you at 2:30 PM, so be sure to set your alarm. Tune in to the YouTube Live stream for the show. As always, the recording of this week's show and all past broadcasts can be found at any time on the Cardinal Couple YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to the channel for episodes of the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour as well as future interviews as more sports get underway.

Until next time, Go Cards!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Strong First Half Sends WBB Cards past UVA 71-56 -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


The University of Louisville women's basketball team used a 10-minute stretch that ended the first quarter and extended into the second quarter to outscore Virginia 22-4 and put away the Cavs last night in the KFC YUM! Center before 7776 fans. 

With 5:31 left in opening period action, Louisville found themselves in a bit of a struggle against the foe from Charlottesville. The score was 13-11 and despite Kylee Shook recording the Cards first five points, the Cavs were hanging close to Louisville. 

A media timeout and Jeff Walz inserting Yacine Diop and Liz Dixon into the lineup, though, worked wonders for the Cardinals production. UofL went on a 12-2 closing run to end the quarter, two Dana Evans threes and four points from Diop propelled Louisville to a 25-13 advantage as time expired in the opening session.

Another great start for Louisville and 71% shooting in those first ten minutes from the Cards had this one pretty much looking to be "in the bag" for a UofL "W". 

The hot streak continued as the second quarter began. 

Norika making a list and checking it twice? 
Bionca Dunham ran off three baskets in a row, and after an Evans layup with 6:26 until half, UofL had increased the lead to 35-15. The Cards defense was getting the stops and ended up forcing eight UVA turnovers. Shook already had three blocks in the books and the Cards ended the half ahead 39-22 after a Kasa Robinson jumper. Despite Louisville only hitting two shots out of their final 12 in the last six minutes, they managed to win the quarter 14-9 and were shooting 50% (16-32). They had also managed to hold Virginia to just 33% shooting for the half. 

Evans and Shook had combined for five first half three pointers, the Cards were winning the points in paint battle 18-8, had 11 points off turnovers (compared to UVA's 5) and were out-rebounding the smaller foe 20-16. Walz had already played the nine players available for the game (Jess Laemmle and Molly Lockhart were out with the flu) and it looked like UofL had the Hoos boarding the bus early to navigate I-65 traffic. 39-22 was the score, it probably could have been much higher if the Cardinals hadn't stumbled and sputter a bit as the quarter wore down. 

It didn't quite turn out to be a romp, though, in the final twenty minutes.  

UVA came out determined to get back into the contest and, after Louisville went on an early 4-0 run to start the quarter and build their largest lead of the game at 43-22 after Jaz Jones got in the scoring column, the Cavs struck back. 

43-22 became 43-30 in the space of three minutes. Balanced Virginia scoring and the Cards five missed shots and three turnovers had turned the momentum and lead to a 8-0, four minute Cavalier run. Robinson connected on two free throws with 4:16 to go and Diop followed suit with two more charity tosses two minutes later to give UofL a 46-33 lead.

The Cards played VA pretty evenly to close out the third quarter thanks to Jaz.  Her 5-0 quarter-ending run included an old-fashioned three point play and two free throws, but a late Shemera Williams three pulled the Virginia  squad within 12 as the quarter ended with the score board showing 51-39 Louisville. 

The Cards made just three of 11 shot attempts in those 10 minutes, Virginia had scored six points off turnovers and won the quarter 17-12. What would the final period bring? 

Fortunately, the Cards did not suffer a fourth-quarter collapse like they did at UNC Sunday. Dana, Jaz and Elizabeth Balogun made sure of that. The trio combined for 17 of Louisville's 20 final quarter points. Louisville got off to a slow start in the fourth, but, UVA couldn't do much either. Just seven points scored in the first two minutes, the Cards getting two of them on a pair of Jones free throws. UVA narrowed it to 11 after a Jocelyn Willoughby jumper that made it 55-44, but UofL responded with a 5-0 run, started by a Balogun three and capped off by an Evans layup to create a 16-point, 60-44 lead with 5:58 to play. 

UVA head coach Tina Thompson maybe reminiscing
about her stellar playing career? 
UVA would get no closer than 13 the rest of the way. An Evans jumper made it 67-47 at the four-minute mark. Three Cardinal free throws in a excessive, late whistle blowing contest between the officials, set the tally at 71-53.

Freshman Shemera Williams, who had a nice outing against the Cards with 20 points off the bench in just 22 minutes ended the scoring with a late three.

Louisville had captured their eighth straight ACC win with the 71-56 final. 


Fred G. Sanford , the "G" stands for Gun, Balogun,
He would have enjoyed last night's win 
FREE THROWS --  24 fouls called in the final 20 minutes of this outing, compared to just 13 in the first half. The Cards went to the line and shot for an acceptable 75% on 15-20 marksmanship. Diop and Jones went 9 for 12, Dana only got two chances but made them both.  75% works for all parties concerned, much better than the Hoos 10-18, 55.6%, and we have no problem extending a CAPITAL "F" for knocking down the ones where no one is guarding you. 

REBOUNDS -- How about "E" !! She dominated the defensive end of the court with 10 grabs and ended up with 12 grabs overall to lead all players. Louisville won the battle-of-the-boards 40-33. Kylee added seven rebounds and the CAPITAL "R" goes out for a gutsy performance against a battling UVA squad that was employing a four guard offense most of the game. Credit to Jocelyn Willoughby, whose 11 rebounds complemented her 17 points. Get to know the name, readers, she'll be earning money in the WNBA next year. 

EFFICIENCY/EXECUTION -- For stretches in this one, the Cards looked like the #3 squad in the nation. Sixteen turnovers still a bit high, but they passed the ball well most of the game (13 assists on 25 made baskets) shot an acceptable 44% from the floor and proved the best in the paint 28-20. That third quarter lapse, though, will dictate that a small case "e" is the designation here. All nine Cards that played had at least one turnover. 

DEFENSE -- UVA came into the game last in ACC scoring with just 59 points and Louisville defense did what most expected them to do, allowing just 56. Kylee Shook the "wow" factor last night with six blocked shots and Dana and Jaz created three steals each. Only 36% shooting for the Cavaliers and a mere 21% in the second quarter. After deliberation,  I'll extend a CAPTIAL "D" for holding the foe under their already lacking season point production and creating a game where only two Cavs were effective from the floor. 



Post game comments below: 





Louisville came home and did what they were expected to do, beat a sub .500 ACC foe by double digits. UofL held Virginia to below their season average with mostly spectacular defense and double figure scoring performances from Dana, Jaz and Kylee. 

Jaz had a rough first half but responded with all of her 13 points in the second session. Kylee was "on" early and ended with 10 points in just 25 minutes. Dana...maybe I've gotten a bit spoiled or jaded by her consistent, every game magic....led all scorers with 21 points and logged a team-high 35 minutes. It's what she does, regular as rain in Louisville. 

I'll point out the very effective games Bionca Dunham and Yacine Diop had last night. "B" is the blue collar, punch the clock and go to the job --  working class hero on this squad. One rebound may raise a few eyebrows, but she did total eight points and was creating havoc for the Cavs when they had the ball. YA-YA came off the bench, helped spur the early, dominating run and, despite the four fouls, once again showed that she will always give you 100% plus when she's on the court. Her defense and overall hustle were key last night.

Let's hope the flu bug stays away from the rest of the roster and the Cards go into Sunday ready to rumble against Pitt. If not, Jeff Walz is bringing in over 1500 Girl Scouts in on the Sabbath to bolster the noise level and I would imagine there will be a few Thin Mints available for fan-base dining pleasure.

Maybe a couple GSA attendees will get playing time if the Cards can run up a sizable lead against the visiting Pitt Panthers. NC St. doubled the score on them last night 88-44. 

According to Coach Walz, if you freeze them, they become fat-free (FDA opinion on this pending). Bring cash, y'all. 

Also, it was good to see my good friend Bobbie and her son in attendance last night. Talk about huge Cardinal fans, they traveled down from way up north for this one.

Finally, former Cardinal staffer Jimmy Yu was at the game, performing his duties as UVA's assistant WBB operations director. I had a quick chat with him before the contest, he's a rising star in the profession and a great guy overall. We're going to need to do a feature on him during the slow months of Summer 2020.