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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Big East is coming, Cards ready?

WELCOME TO SUNDAY @ CARDINAL COUPLE !
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- Cards resume BIG EAST play with two at home.


- Looking back at the 2009-10 BIG EAST journey

Louisville resumes the hunt for excellence in the BIG EAST Conference on Tuesday, Jan 4th. when St. John's comes to the YUM for a 7 p.m. contest. The Red Storm has done very little wrong so far this season and will be a test equal to those Louisville has had with Tennessee, Xavier and Kentucky. Shenneika Smith and DaShena Stevens lead the Red Storm blizzard and the two had a combined 35 points against the Lady Cards in a 91-56 romp last year in Queens, NY. After that, Pitt rolls in for a visit on Sunday, Jan. 9th. The Panthers are having a good pre-BIG EAST season and will be a tough out for Walz's crew. Two road games loom after that...at Notre Dame on Weds., Jan 12th. and a Saturday, Jan., 15th. stop at Connecticut.
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We're 'glass half full' people here at CARDINAL COUPLE...but seeing Louisville break .500 in this four game swing stretches even our optimistic viewpoints. Louisville went a combined 1-5 against these four last year...the only win coming against Pitt in the first game of the BIG EAST Tournament. Road wins against Notre Dame and UConn come very infrequently for anybody in college women's basketball and a 1-3 tally against these looks probable. Prove us wrong, LADY CARDS...
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The BIG EAST was a tough conference for the 2009-10 version of Jeff Walz's Cards. They got an early win in conference play, like this season, against Cincinnati and started the rest of the schedule with a 9-5 record. Compare that to the 10-5 mark so far this year. Louisville went 5-11 in the BIG EAST last year...3-5 in Freedom Hall and 2-6 on the road.
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After the 63-49 Lady Card win over Cincinnati on the road, the Cards travelled to DePaul and lost a close 76-70 decision in overtime to the Blue Demons. Reid had 21 in the loss. The Cards rallied with a 67-48 win over Providence in Freedom Hall...Becky Burke leading the way with 16 points. Next was Georgetown...and after the pre-game fight...the Cards fell on the road 60-56. Hines and Reid had 15 each.
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Notre Dame came to Louisville for the next game. Louisville got 23 from Reid and 16 from Burke but couldn't beat the Irish in a 78-60 final. The Cards stayed home as Syracuse visited next but couldn't defend Denny Crum Court successfully against the Orange, falling 64-58. Burke led all with 24. Once again at home, the Cards squeaked by Villanova 53-30. Reid leading the way with 20. Louisville took to the road after that and fell to WVU 72-66. Reid put 29 points in the books with the loss. Halfway thru the regular conference slate, the Cards were 3-5 in league play
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The Cards hosted Cincinnati to begin February and UC surprised with a 74-68 win. Reid with 19 and Burke with 18 in the disappointing loss. Brandie Radde suited up for the first time in the season for this one. Connecticut entered next and Louisville was schooled 84-38 by the eventual national champs. Louisville shot a pitiful 21.4% for the game. It was the last game Ashley Rainey would play in a Cardinal uniform. The road to Queens produced at 91-56 loss to St. John's. Monique Reid had 20 against the Red Storm. The losing streak went to five games at Pittsburgh with the Panthers on top of a 72-69 contest. Reid led the eight Cardinals on the trip with 20 points. Louisville was now 3-9 in BIG EAST play with four regular season games to go.
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The Cards broke the losing streak with a 77-61 win over Marquette in Freedom Hall. Reid's 26 led the way. The win streak continued in Jersey, as the LADY CARDS handled Seton Hall 72-49. Reid shone again with 28 points. South Florida topped the Cards next in Freedom Hall 63-60. Reid's 32 the lone bright spot in this one. The regular season ended in Piscataway, NJ and Rutgers thumped 'Ville 72-52. Rachel Story came off the bench to lead Louisville with 16 points.
The regular season finished with Louisville at 5-11 and playing the first day in the BIG EAST Tournament.
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Louisville did win in their first round of BIG EAST Tournament play over Pittsburgh 79-71. Reid went wild with 32 for the Cards. The next day ended the Cards tournament hopes, though, with a 89-52 loss at the hands of Notre Dame. Reid bowed out with 23 in the loss. Louisville stood at 14-17 overall and 5-11 in the BIG EAST.
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Louisville hosted a post season game in the inaugural Women's Basketball Invitational Tournament against Bradley but fell behind early and fell 69-59 to the Braves. Reid's 27 weren't enough. The Cards never appeared interested in this one and ended 14-18 on the year and Walz's worst of his three seasons at Louisville.
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The experience learned by those players who made it to the end of the year last season will help as Louisville gets into conference play in 2011. Reid, Burke, Harper, Hines, Taylor, Story and Johnson. In looking at the games, Louisville lost eight of their eleven by six points or less. With stronger guard play and the addition of a top 5 recruiting class, the Cards should fare much better in the BIG EAST this year. Way too early to guess at a probable season outcome...but it wouldn't surprise us if the Cards managed a +.500 season in the BIG EAST. We'll give you a sweep of Cincy, home wins over Pitt, Rutgers and Seton Hall and road victories over Marquette, Villanova, USF and Providence. The Cards could contend with Georgetown in the YUM but could struggle against WVU, St. John's and DePaul in the palace by the Ohio. Syracuse on the road looks tough...as does UConn and Notre Dame. 9-7 against this lineup doesn't look too bad, realistically...
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