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
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.