Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Lady Cards fall to Irish 78-60
It was a short lived triumph against these pesky Irish tonight. Louisville playing the inspired, heads up basketball from the McCoughtry/Bingham days. Monique Reid doing her best Angel imitation with 17 points in 15 minutes. The Cards up by 12 and showing no sign of letting the foot off the accelerator. Fifteen minutes of inspired, intelligent basketball. Then the light turned red. A harsh return to the ghost of Cardinal women's basketball present. A 12-0 Irish run, filled with Cardinal turnovers and defensive lapses. The Cards staggering to the locker room at the half knotted in a 37-37 tie. A loss of confidence for one team and a resurgance of it for the opponent.
As the protagonist in the movie No COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN says:
"This is not going to go well for you."
A brief return of Cardinal skills and the first five points of the second half. But, good guards equal excellent play and the Irish have four stellar ones. Skylar Diggins with 20 points...15 in the second stanza. Lindsay Schrader posting up and pounding the paint with penetration. Ashley Barlow bombing from the perimeter. Melissa Lechlinter leading the way with 11 first half points. Notre Dame controlling the ball, applying the defense and slowly choking off the threat and expanding the lead.
Comparisons to the Cardinal front court are unfair. A walk on freshman, Shelby Harper trying her best to lead the team from the point. Becky Burke with a strained calf...going at less than full speed but still managing 16 points. Freshmen Rachel Story and Nikki Burton trying to learn the position but neither sufficently skilled or suited for it at this stage of their careers. The expected starting point guard and her back up when the season began arriving on the court with the aid of crutches. Tise Wright in street clothes...waiting for the NCAA to ponderously decide on her elgibility for the final semester. Gotta wonder if Jeff Walz wakes up at night and wonders why cruel fate and fortune have teamed up on him this year and literally stolen the ball from him.
This is a good Cardinal team but prone to severe swings in intensity and effort. Keisha Hines can be a beast inside but you gotta have someone who can get the ball to her effectively. Monique Reid a driving daredevil in the paint but still prone to too many turnovers...seven tonight. These are good girls who are learning the skill sets the hard way. Five freshmen, three sophomores and Keisha Hines...a junior. The Irish countered with three seniors, two juniors and a sophomore and freshman each.
The scene tonight, unfortunately...will be played out for the rest of the season if the status quo continues. Still, a brave and at times spirited effort against the so called #4 in the nation. I'm not convinced the Irish deserve such a lofty ranking and continued Big East play will bear this out, in my opinion.
For Louisville, though...failure to "get the point" will make the rest of this season a struggle. This will be an excellent and deep Cardinal squad next season. All one can do is cheer, support and hope for the best this year. If it doesn't kill ya, it'll make ya stronger...but it's hurting pretty bad right now. The lumps received today will make for a wiser, better time in the future. And, we've still got the memories of the past to tide us over.
Written by Paul 1/19/10