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Monday, February 19, 2018

Louisville Women's Basketball -- Strong finish leads Louisville past North Carolina -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



CARDS GO TO 27-2 WITH 67-57 WIN OVER TAR HEELS

The University of Louisville women's basketball team put together a 22-12 fourth quarter to pull away from a determined North Carolina squad Sunday afternoon in Chapel Hill 67-57. 

Tied at 45-45 after three periods, the Cards scored the first six points to retake the lead and got huge efforts from Myisha Hines-Allen, Arica Carter and Asia Durr to gradually pull away from UNC. Durr suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and did not return to the contest, but Coach Jeff Walz expected that she would be ready to return for the Cards next contest on Thursday after treatment from Louisville's trainer staff.

Two three-pointer each from Durr and Carter were key in the Cards regaining the lead and extending the margin...as well Hines-Allen dominating on both ends of the court...after just 10 first half minutes on the floor. 

The fourth quarter was the highlight of the contest for a Louisville team that did not look especially sharp or in sync  earlyagainst an inspired UNC team competing on Play-4-Kay Day in front of their home crowd. Durr later returned to the courtside but did not play as the Cards capitalized on a fatigued and short-benched Carolina squad in the final session. 

UNC got big efforts from janelle Bailey (20 points) and Paris Kea (14 points) to grab an early lead at 6-4 and maintain it against a Cardinal squad that shot just 33% in the first half and was plagued by early turnovers and foul trouble. At the half, UNC hung onto a 31-29 lead but the Tar Heels led by as many as eight in the first quarter. 

Myisha Hines-Allen had all 10 of her points in the second half before fouling out late in the contest.

Durr led the Cards in scoring with 19 points before crashing to the floor after  after landing awkwardly on UNC's Taylor Koenen's foot after attempting a three-pointer early in the fourth. She was helped off the court but returned later and was seen smiling and laughing in the huddle as the Cards pulled away without her. 

"To play the number four team in the country, we did a lot of good things." UNC head coach Sylvia Hatchell commented after the game. "I'm excited about how hard we played and the progress we've made." 

Slow starts for Louisville continue to be an issue and are of concern to Coach Walz. He described the victory as "an ugly game" but had praise for the efforts of Carter and reserve Sydney Zambrotta, who hit two big threes in the first half to keep Louisville close.

Louisville went 11-26 from the three-point range while UNC connected on just five of their 16 long range attempts. 

On the Cards, Hatchell also remarked that Louisville "is very seasoned, very athletic and they have good depth, That was probably the difference in the final 4-5 minutes." 

Sometimes the wins aren't pretty or blowouts. Sometimes the calls on the floor seem to go against the Cards (Louisville was whistled for 20 fouls while UNC ended up with 14 fouls) but...somehow the Cards find a way to win. 

The slow starts are disturbing...leading one to ponder if the Cards may not be mentally prepared to take on their foes at tip-time...with the unforced errors, shooting woes and errant passes. Walz and his staff continue to work on the issue and, with just two games remaining before ACC Tournament Play...one would like to see Louisville refining and perfecting their game for the playoff and NCAA Tournament ahead. 

27-2 is an admirable record, though, even if a few of the games kept Cards fans in suspense and doubt for long stretches. 

The Cards return home after the three-game road trip to face Virginia in their Play-4-Kay game Thursday, Feb 2nd. 


THE FRED REPORT

The late Fred Wiche
Louisville's gardening guru
Free Throws -- 10 for 12 is a nice number to report for Louisville. Sam Fuehring was spectacular with 5-5 shooting from the charity stripe. 83.3% will get you a capital "F" every time. 

Rebounding -- A squeaker here with the Cards winning 37-36. Kylee Shook continues to go to the boards strong as of late and her nine grabs led the way for Louisville. We'll offer a small case "r".

Effort/Execution -- The fourth quarter superiority was great to see but 19 turnovers is atrocious against a team that has now lost seven straight. Arica Carter may have had one of the best games of her season but, overall, we cannot award anything but a small case "e"...primarily due to the ponderous first half. 

Defense -- The Cards finally figured out how to stop Bailey late, had eight steals and forced 15 turnovers. They held UNC to 33% shooting and, as mentioned earlier, shut the home team down in the final quarter. Trailing for most of three quarters, though, means that the defense wasn't perfect or excellent (or maybe the offense was just that bad) but the small case "d" is the decisioning here. 

FINAL FRED TALLY:  F-r-e-d

Maybe, just maybe...Louisville will roll through their final two games and be primed for a ACC Tournament run. Although Walz is fairly sure that Durr will be back Thursday, it was impressive that the Cards did not fold in the final eight plus minutes she was out of the game. 

That shows maturity and teamwork in big proportions and that will be something Louisville must have if they are to make the trip successfully through Greensboro, the early rounds of the NCAA and onto Columbus and the Final Four. 

At the end of the day, though, the Cards showed enough grit and determination to pull away for the win, with their leader on the bench. For that, they draw admiration. Sometimes, they aren't pretty wins...but they still go in the "W" column.  


SOFTBALL FALLS TO OHIO STATE 4-0 

Louisville Softball ran into a rare slump at the plate against Ohio State in the ACC/BIG 10 Challenge final game, falling to the #21 Buckeyes 4-0.

Just three hits in seven innings for Louisville and five runners left on base in the shutout. OSU plated two runs in the top of the seventh to secure the victory. 

A close affair at 0-0 through two innings before a solo home run in the third gave the Buckeyes the lead. Louisville got out of a Buckeye threat in the the sixth by just allowing one run after OSU had loaded the bases. 

Danielle Watson takes the loss for the Cards to go to 4-2 with four strong innings of allowing just one run and three hits. Megan Hensley surrendered three runs in three innings. 

Louisville (6-3) heads back out on the road for five games in the D-9 Citrus Classic down in Kisimmee, FL beginning Friday, Feb 23rd. 

paulie
xxxxx















Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Cardinal Couple - Basketball, Softball, and more

Basketball Bonanza


The big event for the Cardinal Couple Crowd is today's Women's Basketball matchup vs North Carolina at 2:30.  The men couldn't get the job done last night at the KFC Yum! Center, falling to the Tarheels 93-76.  Early in the season, we had a little pattern develop where the men would lose to a school, then the women would play that same school the next day and get the W.  Let's hope that pattern continues today in Chapel Hill.

On the women's side of things, UNC is a bottom third team in the ACC.  With a 4-9 conference record and 14-12 overall, this hasn't been a great year for Sylvia Hatchell and the UNC squad.  Some hint of the struggles developed early, with early season losses for the Tarheels to Hampton and South Alabama, and later in the non-conference slate against Mercer.  Some signs of life for the squad came with a win over Minnesota.

The 'Heels started off conference play getting drubbed by Florida State, which isn't that much of a shocker, but then they went up to Chestnut Hill and took a double-digit loss to Boston College.  A win over Duke again shows some hints of positivity for the squad, but otherwise there's not a lot to write home about for this UNC squad.

The WBB team did get a chance to cheer on the Softball team, who is playing this weekend in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge being hosted by NC State just down the road, alas their hype wasn't enough for the Pearsall squad as they fell in 9 innings to a pretty darn good Ohio State team.  More on that in a minute.

In Other BBall News


Donovan Mitchell threw down a few fun and stylin' dunks in the NBA All-Star Weekend Dunk Contest and took the trophy home.  An homage to Darrell Griffith's iconic dunk while wearing the Griff's #35 Jazz jersey, particularly with the common link back to UofL, is enough to get all of CardNation on its feet, reportedly during a timeout at the UNC game that didn't get CardNation hyped otherwise.  Congratulations to Donovan Mitchell for taking home that trophy as one of the youngest winners ever of the dunk competition.

If I may digress for a moment, I think, as a Cards fan, one of the things that I like most about the likes of Mitchell, and similarly for Teddy Bridgewater, and I think soon to be for Lamar Jackson (and plenty more, could probably be named), is not just that they perform well on the next level of play and the reflected glory that brings to UofL.  Nearly universally, these players get to the next level and while performing well, end up being well liked by other players, coaches and fan bases.

Teddy Bridgewater goes up to Minnesota, acquits himself well on the field, and then suffers a massive knee blowout.  And then something happened with the Viking fanbase that you just almost never see at the professional level like that...they continued to cheer for him through his injury and recovery.  Teddy B made an impression on that fanbase, and it wasn't his on-the-field actions that did it, it was Teddy being Teddy...off the field, being just a genuinely nice guy, making friends, being a giving and caring person to his community, and the community and fan base responded.

I see Mitchell doing some of the same in Utah.  It's clear that, besides being a very likely contender for Rookie of the Year based on his playing, that the Jazz fanbase, his teammates, the coaches, and opponents, just genuinely like the guy.  I'll be a happy Cards fan if that's the association that gets made with UofL athletics, regardless of what happens on the field, or maybe even in the courtroom.

Lacrosse


Lacrosse suffered their first loss at the hands of a very good Denver squad in a sloppy mess at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium, 12-5.

Not exactly ideal Lacrosse playing conditions.
A mid-day snowfall resulted in a slushy snowy mess on the field, necessitated an extended halftime to give the grounds crew time to try to clear off part of the field.  UofL suffered from the conditions, but of course, both teams are playing on the same field and Denver was able to execute.  The Pioneers shut down what looks to be the two main scorers for the Cards this year, Tessa Chad, and Caroline Blalock, getting out of the game with neither scoring a goal.

Shayla Scanlan got her scoring career as a Cardinal started as the only Card to score more than one in the game.  Her two, combined with single goals by Julia Wood, Lexi Cheetham and Ally Hall would account for Louisville's 5.  Lexie Ball did well between the pipes, with 10 saves, equaled by Denver's GK.

The takeaway here is that this one was a cold, sloppy mess.  They need to support each other, and go out and play their game, regardless of the conditions they face.  Denver is a good squad, a loss to them isn't a killer, and this UofL team is still figuring out who they are and developing the team culture...that takes time.  There were some good looks yesterday, and more and better will come for this team and future teams.

Lacrosse will be back in action Thursday against Butler in Indianapolis.

Our post game interview with Coach:

LINK: HEAD LACROSSE COACH SCOTT TEETER DISCUSSES DENVER GAME

Softball


In Raleigh, NC for the ACC/Big 10 Challenge in Softball, the Cards took their first loss of the season against an Ohio State squad that's ranked 22nd in one of the polls.  No real shame, there, particularly when the Cards made the Buckeyes go to 9 innings to get the win, 6-5.

Credit Megan Hensley with a touch-em-all that brought Jamie Soles home.  The New Pride of New Egypt New Jersey had gotten on base as a result of a 2 out walk.  That evened the score at 2 apiece after just one inning.  Caitlin Ferguson would make the trip around the bags in the 7th.  Alison "Mike" Szydlowski gets the RBI after Ferguson got on base with a walk.  The Cards would then leave the bases full, a result in the 7th inning virtually guaranteed to draw the unwanted attention of Coach Pearsall.

In extra innings, both teams would get 2 around in the 8th.  Celene Funke reached on an error, and then scored on a Ferguson double.  Ferguson would then finish the trip on a Sid Melton single.  Ohio State answered in the bottom half and then went on to hold the Cards scoreless in the 9th, and the Buckeyes finished it all with an RBI single.

UofL will get a rematch with OSU today, getting underway as of the time of this writing.


THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR

We don't have a link to provide for our weekly radio show because it never took place. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we never got a chance to get in front of the microphones and chatter. We hope that the production issues can be resolved next week and we can return to the airwaves and Facebook Live at 11 a.m .Saturday.

What a day. Softball loses, lacrosse loses, men's basketball loses, no radio for us. Let's hope Sunday is better.

-- JMcA

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Still Not Quite Spring... -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Despite the warm weather on Thursday and the wave of spring sports which are now underway, there are always things to remind us that we aren't quite through with winter. One of those things was the consistently falling temperature yesterday, leading to quite the brisk evening. The other is that the winter sports are coming to some of the most important parts of their seasons. Paired with the beginning of spring sports, it makes this time of year very exciting.

Softball Sweeps Double Header over Northwestern


In Raleigh for the ACC/B1G Challenge (and to stay away from the cold as best as possible), the Louisville softball team continues their front loaded schedule. Coming off of a great opening weekend where they finished 4-1, the Cards have another big weekend as they faced Northwestern twice yesterday and will take on Ohio State today and tomorrow.

I gave you a lengthy recap about each game last week, and I'm sure that's not what you're looking for with your typical Saturday morning. The box scores are extremely telling for baseball/softball, and all I can effectively do without having watched is regurgitate the play by play. What I can (and will) do is take a look at some of the key stats from the two games and analyze them as they pertain to the overall season.

The first game was a rowdy one, in which Louisville scored four runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game and one more in the first extra inning to take the lead. Megan Hensley ultimately finished with the win after earning the start and pitching the final innings, but did not pitch all 8 innings. Softball is interesting that way. In a tight spot in the third inning, Danielle Watson was brought on to clean up the damage. It didn't work, and she didn't look much better in the fourth, when Hensley was brought back into the pitcher's circle. Both pitchers ended up with three runs allowed, with a total of 4 being earned. I pointed out last week that free passes by pitchers were an issue, and they continued to be so in the first game, as Hensley allowed 4 walks and hit 3 batters while Watson walked three and struck out zero in just one inning pitched. To her credit, Hensley did strike out 7. 

On the offensive side, Louisville scored 7 runs, and pretty big number, and just enough to win. Interestingly, of the six runs they scored in regulation, zero were earned. How often do you see a game that is tied by a three run homer in which no runs are earned and won by a sac fly, the only earned run of the game for the winning team. I would argue that's pretty uncommon. Fortunately, you don't get different points for unearned runs, so they count just the same. Louisville did a great job of exploiting errors and general mistakes by Northwestern, and sometimes that's what it takes to win. It can't always be about a perfect offensive game. Whatever works.

Freshman standout pitcher, Danielle Watson
The second game was more of a pitcher's duel, with Louisville winning only 3-2. Like the late game heroics in the first game, Louisville once more tied the game late (in the sixth) and won later (with a walkoff in the seventh). Danielle Watson got the start in this one, and she did a bit better than her stint in the previous game. Watson gave up only two runs, one earned, and only 2 hits. She finished with seven strikeouts in seven innings, BUT she also finished with six walks. Nine walks in 8 innings in the same day isn't ideal, but a pair of wins is what it is. Hopefully the bullpen sessions continue to work on control.

The Cards offense once again benefited from an unearned run, as most teams do in a game, but this time it was only one unearned, and their other two came legitimately. So far, the Louisville offense has shown a propensity to lead the team, which is important in a season where pitching is such a big question mark. In games in which the Cards have scored, yesterday's 3 run game is the lowest offensive output. Their lone loss came in the only game which was a shutout, showing how important the offense is. The old adage, you can't win if you don't score, is as true as you can get, but with this team it may be that they'll need to score a lot, as they've yet to shut any team out defensively. 

The Cards will get another opportunity against a major conference opponent when they take on Ohio State today starting at 10AM.

Yesterday's Wins and Upcoming Events


Yesterday saw the women's tennis team return to action in Bass Rudd as Marshall came to town. The Cards dispatched of the Herd fairly easily, winning 5-0. The win is Louisville's fifth sweep of the season, and they're currently sitting at 9-1, with a lone loss coming 3-4 against Tulsa in Murfreesboro. The Cards will get Furman at home tomorrow and then more than another week before returning to conference play on March 4th. Louisville is 2-0 in conference so far, but there is a long season ahead as they work toward the conference championship at the end of April.

Speaking of ACC Championships, Louisville Swimming and Diving is currently competing in one. The Cards garnered three more gold medals and a bronze yesterday, while also sending 13 more competitors to final events today in the last day of competition. As has been the norm this season, Mallory Comerford and Grace Oglesby led the Cards yesterday, both winning individual gold medals. Going into the final day of competition, the women's team is in second place, over 100 points back of first place Virginia, but also nearly 100 points clear of third place NCST. A second place finish at the ACC tournament would be nothing to hang your head about going into the national events.

After nearly the whole week off, the lacrosse team will be back in action this afternoon. A big win over Marquette in the home opener looks to be a springboard for the team in their first season under a new head coach. They'll take on a familiar foe today, one to whom they saw defeat last season, when they take on Denver at 1PM. The game is at home, but is also available on ACC Network Extra for those that cannot make it out.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour


After missing last week's radio show (I spent the entire day with my face buried in my fundamentals of engineering prep book), I am headed back to Mellwood Ave to rejoin the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. This week will feature myself, Paulie, Jeff, and regular guest, Daryl Foust. Daryl is always a thrill to have on as her knowledge of, and insight into, UofL athletics is tough to beat. We're excited to be able to bring you this weekly show thanks to the people that make it happen at WCHQ FM. WCHQ is a local nonprofit station bringing you local music and local programming. You can listen to the channel at 100.9 FM, on their website at wchqfm.com, or using the WCHQ app. All of those are perfectly viable ways to listen to the channel every day, but also on Saturday mornings from 11-12 when you join us for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour.

Facebook Live is another option. It's new to us, so expect chaos...

Until next time, Go Cards!
-CH-

Friday, February 16, 2018

Louisville WBB Wins Again... Softball Visits Raleigh... FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


CARDS FLY PAST EAGLES

Win number 26 is in the books.  Louisville soared to an 87-52 win over Boston College in front of a crowd of 929.

Six different Cardinals posted double-digits in points, and every player found their way to the basket, other than Dana Evans’ goose egg.  She did record eight assists and one steal to go along with one turnover, so she earned her fair share on the stat sheet.

Nite-Nite (Asia Durr) posted a team best 16 points, but had Sam, Doo-Blay (not one last night, though), AC, Jaz, and Kylee hot on her tail.  That offense did not get going until the second quarter though.


Boston College raced out to a 19-7 lead, their biggest lead of the game.  At the end of the first quarter the women in red and black had about half as much as their opponents.  Coach Walz gave the team an earful and it paid off.  Louisville used a 20-4 second quarter to go into halftime with a five-point lead.  They would not look back as the lead grew in the two remaining quarters.

The Cards outscored BC 46-15 in the final 16 minutes. 

Sam and Kylee both gave a good run for game ball.  Sam finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, and three assists while committing no fouls or turnovers.  She did, however, struggle from the free through line, going 4-for-8.  Kylee finished with 11 points, three rebounds, two assists, and a team-leading four steals while committing one foul and had no turnovers.  She struggled at the free throw line too but nailed a trio of three-pointers.

J-A-R-E-D Report

Rams QB Jared Goff (not our Jared) 
J – jump shots: Louisville shot 55.2% from the field and 52.6% from downtown.  Four Cards made a three, with three of them pulling off a hat trick and Jess nailing hers with one-minute remaining in the game.  If you take away Dana’s off night, then that shooting percentage rises to 62%.  Still, either way it was a solid shooting night overall, so they earned a capital “J”.

A – assists: 20 assists is going to be a nice night for the offense.  It was also double Boston College’s number.  Dana had nearly one-third of the team’s assists but was also one of seven players to dish an assist out.  Without a doubt they get a capital “A”.

R – rebounds: The Cards out-rebounded the Eagles by one.  Granted, their high-percentage shooting resulted in less chances to rebound.  They stayed true to their season average with about two-thirds of the rebounds being defensive.  The 11 offensive rebounds helped the Cards gain 11 second chance points.  I was hoping to see a larger rebound margin against a lesser opponent.  They still won the rebound contest which is enough for a lowercase “r”.

E – effort: The effort was not there to start the game off.  I had a few flashbacks of the UConn game from the other night.  Whatever vocabulary Walz elected to use motivate his team worked well.  They hustled and communicated like the Cards we have seen most of the season.  They won the final three quarters and cut down on the turnovers while cranking up the tempo.  They earned a capital “E”.

D – defense: It took a few minutes to get the defense going but they pulled through.  Boston College was held to 52 points with only 29 of them coming in the final three quarters.  The Cards were stingy in the second quarter, allowing a season low four points.  There was another single-digit quarter later in the game too.  You can’t win if you can’t score, right?  They also forced 20 turnovers.  The only downside on defense would be the zero blocks on the night.  There’s not much of a contest in awarding them with a capital “D”.

J-A-r-E-D” is a good report card.


ACC/BIG 10 CHALLENGE


Softball begins their second weekend of play today.  They have been in Raleigh for a few days already preparing for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.  Ohio State and Northwestern are the opponents for the weekend, and the Cards will face both twice.

The Buckeyes sit undefeated on the year at 5-0. 

Ranked 22nd in the country and having won by mercy rule three times this season makes Ohio State a favorite going into the weekend.  Northwestern’s record is the same as Louisville’s.  The only loss for the Wildcats came against a Top Ten Arizona team.  Two of their wins were by mercy rule.  They are in the receiving votes category currently.

Louisville is going into nothing but dogfights on the weekend.  Their Big Ten opponents have big bats and are guaranteed to put plenty of runs on the board.  The bright side is that both teams also allow plenty of runs too.

The Cards sit at 4-1 on the year with a few late game heroics in the wins.  Six players are batting .333 or better so far.  Jenna Jordan and Nicole Pufahl each have a home run and are tied with Kyra Snyder for most RBI’s on the team with four.

The downside to the season so far is that some of the weaknesses carried over from last year.  Infield defense still has not resolved itself, especially on the left side.  Fielding errors continue to hurt the Cards by giving the opponent a free baserunner.  Leaving runners stranded on offense has been a common theme too.

I hope to see the success from opening weekend continue this weekend too.  Going 2-2 on the weekend also wouldn’t be a terrible few games either.  They face their toughest opponents on the schedule yet.  A 4-0 outcome would be great, but even 3-1 or 2-2 would still be decent too.


SWIMMING AND DIVING


Women’s swim and dive is halfway through the ACC Championships.  They prepare for some of the final rounds today and tomorrow as they hope to claim the conference crown and prepare for the NCAA Championships in March.

After two days, the Splash Cards are in second place in the ACC Tournament with 414.5 points. Virginia leads with 442.5. 


ON THE RADIO


Daryl knows stuff. 
Taking my place on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour tomorrow will be Daryl Foust.  I will be at work continuing my journey of moving up the ranks to become CEO.  If you cannot contain your excitement of another exciting session you can always turn on WCHQ fm radio at any point.  Unlike Sirius XM, fm radio is still free and the 100.9 fm frequency has some great local music!

We will be on Facebook Live for the broadcast tomorrow as well. If you haven't tried this unique way of watching and listening to...well, just about anything...it's free and maybe it's why we're bringing in the lovely and knowledgeable Daryl, so you won't have to stare at our ugly mugs. 

Enjoy your Friday and have a good weekend! Go Cards!

Jared

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Louisville women's basketball -- Back On The Bike for Cards -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


LOUISVILLE WBB AT BOSTON COLLEGE TONIGHT



I recently had a chat with a younger friend of mine. Married now, with a young daughter, he was relaying to me the story of teaching his daughter to ride a bicycle. They started with training wheels and, once that prelim was successfully negotiated, the next step was going sans the stabilizing attachments.

The first attempt did not go so well. Right after he let go of her and the bike, she went down. No injuries, just a bruised ego and a bit of trepidation to try again. He let it rest for a few days. Calmly listened to her pleas to put the training wheels back on. Finally, it was Round II. This time he stayed with her longer and didn't tell her when he actually was going to let go. He just gradually released her and continued to run along side her. Success, success! 

Now, he can't get her off the bike. It's a story we all can relate to and it mirrors what the Louisville women's basketball team has to do tonight. Get back on the bike. 

The sidewalk or parking lot is Boston College. The Eagles are the challenge...the bike with no training wheels. Their season has seen its share of crashes into the sidewalk that is the ACC, with a record of 2-10 in conference and 7-18 overall. They recently ended a nine-game losing streak with a 72-61 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday and they own another double-digit win earlier in conference over UNC. 

That 2-10 record keeps them out of the ACC cellar...Clemson still occupies that view with just one win...but the 7-18 mark is the worst overall record in the ACC. 

Jeff Walz will tell you that all conference games are important and that you can not overlook or by-pass scouting or preparing for any opponent. He's also probably had his share of taking his kids off training wheels and guiding them out into the sidewalks and parking lots. The UConn game is past, gone...history. It is time to get back on the bike and ride. 

I vaguely remember my first attempts to ride. I think my Dad pushed me into a pond and my brother threw rocks at me. Mean streets, tough neighborhood...

EAGLES TO WATCH: 


-- B.C. has three student-athletes scoring in double figures... Milan Bolden-Morris (13.0), Georgia Pineau (11.6) and Taylor Ortlepp (11.2). The Eagles average 58.9 points per game (14th in the ACC) and allow 67.2 (13th in the ACC). That -8.3 margin is 14th. in the ACC. 

-- Bolden-Morris has been awarded the ACC Freshman of the Week award three times this season. She's sunk 70 trifectas for the Chestnut Hill squad, which is third in the ACC. 

-- Pineau is the glass cleaner, averaging 7.3 grabs a night....good for 11th in conference. She's a sophomore from Australia. 

-- Ortlepp is another Aussie that  plays point guard. She put in 19 against Virginia Tech and UNC. 

(Maybe Coach Walz should have called Sydney Flames great Asia Taylor to handle the scouting report on these two...) 


Baldwin is the name of the Eagles mascot.
No relation to Alec or a Baldwin I used to
date, I'm presuming...
-- Andie Anastas is a graduate student that played hockey for B.C. from 2013-17.  If there is any muscle needed underneath the boards or an "enforcer" my guess is she'd be the one that head coach Erik Johnson would summon from the bench. Keep an eye open on press row and first row seats in Conte Forum tonight for cross-checks and glass slams...

B.C. enters the "murderer's row" part of their schedule with Louisville, Notre Dame and FSU back-to-back-to-back. They'll probably be 2-13 come Feb. 23rd. and be playing on the first day of the ACC Tournament.  

It is our hope that the Cards bounce back and put on a performance like they did against Notre Dame-like tonight instead of a Clemson-type effort. The first game after a loss can be tricky territory. We're hoping the Cardinals ignore the title to the tune and Eagles fans are repeating the refrain to today's SONG OF CHOICE..."Take it Easy" by no other than The Eagles...

Go play Louisville basketball. And soar high in this "Battle of the Birds"

"TAKE IT EASY" -- The Eagles


SWIM, SWAM, SWUM


Good Golly, Miss Molly!!
Louisville's women's swimming and diving sits in 4th place in the standings after Day One of preliminaries in the ACC Championships. UNC leads all school with 151 points, Virginia is second with 149, Duke gathered 139 points and Arthur Albiero's Cards have 138.  

The Splash and Dive Cards got a third from Molly Fears in the 1 meter diving. There's plenty of action on tap today for the events in the Greensboro Aquatic Center. 

The Cards also participated in the two other qualifying events (200 medley and 800 free relay) yesterday and got a fifth in the 200.

I have no earthly idea on how scoring works for swimming and couldn't find Kelsi Worrell's phone number to ask her.

138 points for three events seems excessive but, why not? Golf racks up a lot of points when they play. Or maybe I just couldn't comprehend what the Louisville asst. SID in charge of the write-up was trying to say.  Our intrepid columnist and photographer Jared Anderson spends a significant amount of time breathing chlorine, maybe he'll fill us in tomorrow, in addition to his recap of the Louisville WBB game. 


Paulie
xxxxx





Wednesday, February 14, 2018

WBB Reflection... Swim to ACC Championships... Happy Valentines Day... WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


NEXT TO NOTHING


More than 24 hours have passed, and we have had time to reflect on Monday night’s match-up.  Louisville lost by 11 at UConn.  But things were not all bad. The sun came up Tuesday morning and we've still got big things ahead.  

The Huskies cruised to a huge lead in the first quarter based off a 24-1 run.  The Cards panicked.  Shots weren’t falling and as the deficit grew the shots came faster and messier.  The panic grew, and turnovers became a major problem as the first quarter progressed.  There were 11 turnovers in the first half.

The last three quarters were different.  Louisville outscored the Huskies 52-45 in those three quarters and 36-27 in the second half.  What stands out to me is that the Cards never quit.  Many teams would have given up after being blown out early on.  They obliterated Wichita State 124-43, Cincinnati 106-65, and ECU 96-35 just to name a few.  Instead of letting the Huskies continue to roll all over them Louisville battled back.  They continued to edge closer but ran out of time leading to their second loss of the season.

What does the loss mean?

Next to nothing. 

It’s not ACC play.  It came against #1 UConn on the road.  Only Notre Dame (9) and Texas (4) had closer margins in their final score.  Louisville and Notre Dame remain tied for first in the ACC at 11-1.  If the Cards win out, they win the conference and the #1 seed, based off the tiebreaker.  If the Cards were to drop in the rankings I doubt they go below fifth.  Who would move above them, anyways? Notre Dame?  100-67 stands in the way.  The loss is a good lesson for Jeff Walz’s hoopsters.  A few weaknesses were exposed and now there is a chance to strengthen those.  If Louisville faces UConn in the NCAA Tournament they now have an advanced scouting report.

There is a lot going on today.  As Regina George from Mean Girls said, “On Wednesdays we were pink.”  In this case it’s for Valentine’s Day.  Today is also the day some give up sweets, or fast food, or bad words for Lent.  Yes, it is also Ash Wednesday.  The Red and Black calendar is a bit quieter, though.  Women’s swim and dive kicks off the ACC Championships today in Greensboro.


The rest of the week and weekend picks up with women’s basketball tomorrow.  The Cards travel north just half an hour away from the Super Bowl losers to take on the Eagles of Boston College.

Softball steps up to the plate against two Big Ten foes in Northwestern and Ohio State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge starting Friday. 

Scott Teeter continues to pioneer the rebuilding year of the lacrosse program as they host Denver on Saturday right after the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour.

Speaking of the ACC, Louisville Swimming  is one of six conference teams ranked in the Top 25.  Virginia is seventh, NC State is 10th, and Louisville is next in line at 14th.  North Carolina, Notre Dame, and Duke round out the teams in the Top 25. They'll make waves in the Greensboro Aquatic Center for conference supremacy.  

The Swim Cards are led by national champion and Olympian Mallory Comerford.  Grace Oglesby, Molly Fears, Rachel Grooms, Lauren James, Hannah Magnuson, Casey Fanz, Alina Kendzior, Mariia Astashkina, and Nastja Govejsek are all names to keep an eye out during the ACC Championships.  The Cards aren’t the favorite but can easily come out on top as they test the water before the NCAA Championships.

Enjoy your Ash Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, ACC Swim and Dive Prelims Day, or just your ordinary Wednesday.  Go Cards!

Jared

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Louisville women's basketball -- UConn capitalizes on Cards slow start, wins 69-58 -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


19-0 HUSKY RUNS EARLY SINKS CARDS


If, by some chance, you missed the first ten minutes of the Louisville women's basketball game against Connecticut in Storrs last night, consider yourself fortunate. It was a disaster. It started well, enough, with Arica Carter hitting a three to give Louisville the only lead they would have in the contest, but the walls caved in after that. The Huskies went on a 19-0 run that virtually eliminated Louisville's chances. It was ugly, painful and disappointing to view if you are a Cardinal fan. It was just another day in the office for Husky backers. 

Shots wouldn't fall and were hurried and forced. The offensive patterns never materialized. The first quarter turnovers were atrocious (nine of them) and the Huskies couldn't miss from the floor. Led by Katie Lou Samuelson, UConn just went off on the bewildered and out-of-sync Cards, roaring to a 19-3 advantage and a 24-6 first quarter lead. It was what UofL did to Notre Dame earlier in the season, but the Cards were on the receiving end. We know who is #1 in the nation with no doubt whatsoever now and it isn't the ACC school on the banks of the Ohio.

Walz called timeouts. They didn't help. Kia Nurse, UConn guard, was applying intensive-care defensive on Asia Durr and the junior couldn't gather enough space to tie her shoes...much less get a good shot off. Louisville looked clueless, the Huskies scored at will and the capacity crowd in the Gampel Pavilion nodded and cheered in approval every time the Huskies did something right and Louisville miscued and floundered. 
The sense of dread and disillusionment clear and present as I watched from my easy chair. This wasn't so easy. 

"We defended them about as well as we wanted to and that was the plan going in" 

Those words, from UConn head coach Geno Auriemma, were a understatement. Mission accomplished. The Cards looked like one of the non-conference patsies that were sacrificial lambs to Walz's crew early in the season. 

After those bloody and deflating first ten minutes, the Cards started to gather a bit and get back in sync...but it was too late. The Red and Black played on fairly even terms in the second session with Connecticut but still found themselves on the short end of a 42-22 halftime score. It was "Lou" (Samuelson) taking on Louisville single-handedly and doing quite well, almost outscoring the Cards by herself after twenty minutes. Threes, drives to the basket, layups, jumpers...she was the Energizer Bunny and Louisville was dead batteries when it came to containing her. 

Play Louisville basketball? Certainly not this version. 


You can credit the Cards for not letting this one get any worse. In fact, Asia Durr and company won the second half 36-27. She finished with 20 points, Myisha Hines-Allen recorded a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds -- her 13th double-double of the year -- and Arica Carter hit a career high four trifectas in the affair to finish with 12 points. Sam Fuehring had a strong effort inside, mostly in the final half, with strong rebounding and eight points. 

But it was all after the contest had been decided. The 11-point margin of loss was the closest Louisville got to the lead since the horrific first period. Jeff Walz discussed the first quarter: 

"We had good shots there in the first quarter and just missed them. I thought that some of them were too quick and those led to transition for them. That's something you can't do." 

A non-conference lesson learned. 

Losing to #1 in the nation is no disgrace. Louisville shouldn't plummet from their #4 status in the nation, especially when you consider Notre Dame is #5. The ACC Championship is still a very attainable goal and the Cards continue on, with the road trip taking them to Boston College next for a Thursday night contest.


How will the loss to UConn affect them against the Eagles? One would hope they come out madder than hell and punish B.C. But, that first quarter gave every other coach in the ACC key insights on how to stop the Cards. Whether there is anyone in the ACC that can duplicate what UConn did is highly doubtful. Will the Cards come out still hurting and stung in Chestnut Hill? We hope not. 

I'm going to do my best to forget the first half-hour of what I saw last night. Walz will probably use it as a teaching tool, and rightfully so, because there are a lot of things to learn from there. I'd just as soon forget that beginning last night. UConn came out and did what they do. They took control of the car and never gave the keys or driving privileges to the passengers. They showed all women's college basketball fans that the road to Columbus and Final Four dreams goes though Storrs and Geno's roadblock and gauntlet. 

"I thought we competed, which is want we wanted to do, but I just wish we could have made it a better game off the bat".

So do we, the fans, Coach. So do we. 

The question is...how will the Cards react when they get behind the wheel Thursday?
Cardinal fans had hopes, expectations and dreams of knocking off #1. I did too. What we got was a painful and embarrassing lesson on how the elite team in women's college basketball handles big match-ups. 

The casual basketball fan who may have missed the game will look at the final score and maybe think that UConn got a bit of a test last night by only winning by 11. They would be mistaken. This one was over early and UConn maintained. Case closed. 

Let's hope UofL learned something and can put it to use. 28% shooting in the first half would be a great place to start the teaching. Remaining calm and collected in a frenzied environment a good teaching point.  

Does Louisville want them again? Further down the road...NCAA Tournament time? I'd just as soon pass. I hope we end up on the other side of the bracket. We will learn from the loss, yes, but can the Cards do anything to prevent the Huskies from doing it again? Geno's squad learned too. 



I'll dwell on it no more. As UofL football coach John L. Smith said many years ago...sometimes you just have to tear off the rear view mirror and just keep driving. 
Let's hope the Cardinal Caravan doesn't have any slow, sluggish starts in what's left of winter.

I know this column isn't in the usual vein of our "joy and excitement" of Cardinal women's athletics. I'll try to end on that note. The Cards didn't completely fold up the tent. They won the second half. They played UConn as close as just about anyone has this year. They are still a great team and will have many more successes this season. 

Onward. 


THE FRED REPORT


Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster) must
have watched the first quarter...
FREE THROWS -- UConn rarely fouls, in the eyes of most referees. When they did last night the Cards failed to capitalize. 55.6% on 5-9 shooting doesn't get a letter.

REBOUNDING -- Here's one battle the Cards did win last night...36-34. Myisha with 12,  Sam with seven and Arica grabbed six. We'll provide a small case "r" for that

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- Throw out the first quarter and it wasn't all that bad in effort and execution. But, that first quarter...ugh. I'll take the high road here and award a small case "e" for the overall performance. 

DEFENSE -- Holding the Huskies to 69 points is pretty impressive.  Samuelson and Williams pretty much scored when they chose to, though, and the Cards got pounded in the points in paint category 44-24. The closer you get, the easier the bucket gets. Based on that, I'll with-hold the letter. 

FINAL FRED REPORT:  _-r-e-_


paulie
xxxxx