Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Lady Cards end the skid 77-61 against Marquette
Freshman Asia Taylor gives her best performance of the year in Louisville's 16 point win tonite in Freedom Hall. And, baby...the best is yet to come.
Give the freshman from Columbus, Ohio 14 points, 8 rebounds and some dominating inside play tonight as the Lady Cards end a five game losing streak against a hard nosed and physical Marquette team tonight in Freedom Hall. Along with Monique Reid (26 points and 16 boards) and Becky Burke (19 points and yes...several rebounds!) the Cards weather a mid second half Marquette run and won going away.
The stat lines don't tell the whole story. Feel free to check them in entirety in the paper tomorrow or online...the real story of tonight's game was the long awaited breakout performance of Taylor. You'll notice Louisville shot 66% in the second half. What you won't find in those stats is Taylor getting 10 second half points and getting up close and personal with the Marquette front line. Potential...meet reality.
Louisville looked like they were going to surrender the 11 point lead they had worked so hard to create early in the second half as the game reached the 10 minute mark. 51-47 and junior Marquette guard Angel Robinson scoring at will and getting to the free throw line against the Cards. Two things happened at that point. Keisha Hines re-entered the game and Taylor came to life. Although Hines played very briefly this evening because of foul woes, her brief return seemed to spark the Cards to muster a rally that allowed Marquette to get no closer the rest of the way.
Taylor scored 10 big second half points for Louisville down the stretch and with Reid's silky smooth inside moves, the Cards rediscovered their offense and pulled away. Burke got 12 of her 19 in the final twenty minutes...and playing defense and going to the boards. Maybe it's the magic of Freedom Hall...but this looked nothing at all like the team who lost to Big East cellar dweller Pitt on Sunday.
It is a Louisville team that has few options as they go into the final three games...but the options are potetially good enough to maybe just work out. Gutsy Shelby Harper is playing 40 minutes a contest at the point. Contributing where she can and getting a little better with her point guard skills each time she steps out on the court. She's not Dez Byrd, Patrika Barlow or Sara Nord yet...please don't get me wrong here, but she's learning and improving. Reid is proving she is a definite scoring machine, Burke regaining her shooting touch and Gwen Rucker giving the Cards precious minutes on the front line when maladies happen like Keisha Hines getting saddled to the bench with foul trouble. Rucker will finish this season and head to a successful volleyball career at UofL. For now, though...she's Louisville first option off the bench when things go badly for the foul prone Hines. Brandie Radde, the progidal daughter back in uniform, helping where she can...experienced and determined. One could mull over the reasons and wherefores involved with Rachel Story remaining warmup bound...seven Cards hit the court tonight and Story wasn't one of them. Nevertheless, she cheers from the bench and encourages in the timeout huddles. Keisha...well, she's just always going to be Keisha. Hard working, foul prone and not willing to give an inch to the opposing center...something occasionally sends her to the bench with foul trouble early on. She can score inside but falls too often for the charges and switches other teams employ against her. Still, she's talented and dedicated. And, she's the biggest player on the team.
Taylor is the missing piece and the upside for the future. Few knew about her horrible leg injury during her senior season...ending her high school career and putting her months behind the rest of the squad in conditioning, training and learning the Walz style of ball. Now that it looks she's finally playing to her potential...sadly, the season's end is drawing near. She'll be one to watch during her sophomore year. The girl definitely knows how to play hoops and she's learning the way that Jeff Walz wants her to perform the task. A little more paitence with her shot and knowledge of what these wishy-washy Big East refs consider "travelling" and she'll be just fine.
The whole Big East is up in arms on the proliference of travelling calls being metered out by Big East officiating this year. Spin moves by a player with the ball almost automatically get the whistle. Combine a crossover and spin move and you don't stand a chance. A rules reinterpretation or referees awareness clinic is needed. No one is anteing up their money and going out to the games to see officials roll their hands around in a circle 15-20 times a game. And, it's not just Louisville fans that are fed up with it. Rutgers women's basketball fanatics have had it with the quick whistle. DePaul, Notre Dame...the list goes on. As far as the UConn fans go...hard to tell. They're up there on their own little clowd and we all know that Big East officials turn the other way when Maya Moore or Tina Charles commit an infraction.
This season will draw to a close after three more regular season games and an appearance in the Big East tournament. Unless the Lady Cards can finish strong and win the rest of the year and steal one in the Big East Tournament, they probably won't get an WNIT invite.
But...look out next season. And beware the Asia influence at Louisville.
Written by Sonja 2/16/10