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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Not just another win...



WELCOME TO WEDNESDAY @ 'DA COUPLE'
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-Commentary on win over St.John.
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-Inside the numbers.
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-Post game comments.
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(This just in....downgrade the Red 'Storm' to a probable depression. No unbrellas or rain bonnets needed. )

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Debbie Antonelli (in black, second right) tries to keep her eyes off Paul while calling the St. John vs. Louisville game on CBS College Sports. Actually, her tech (in the blue jeans) was much more friendly to the "common folk" (like Paul) and pretty cool to talk to. I guess if you have your choice of hugging Paul or Julie Herrmann...most people are going to go with 'Jules' every time. And, it beat the world out of having to sit next to Domine for 2 hours.
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Tuesday night's win over #18 over St. John in the KFC YUM Center was much more than a typical BIG EAST win for Louisville. It served notice to the rest of the league that the Lady Cards are dangerous, filled to the rim with playmakers and shooters and won't be an easy out for anybody. Pre-season pundits failed to take the gadzillion percent improvement in Louisville's guard play from last year. When Louisville throws Becky Burke, Shoni Schimmel and Tia Gibbs at you... you best be a little feared and scared. Charmaine Tay off the bench doesn't slow the hyper guard attack down one bit and when the 'blonde Yorkie' (Shelby Harper) gets her several minutes...you can expect the pace to reach an even more frenetic level.
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Jeff Walz stresses that this team needs to 'get to know each other' better as BIG EAST play continues. Without calling the coach wrong, the recognition level already looks pretty good. Shoni Schimmel could find Monique Reid with a 'spot on' pass in blinding, white out blizzard conditions.
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They both know where gunslinger Becky Burke is going to be...ready to pull the trigger and notch another trifecta up on her wrist band. Everybody looks for Keisha Hines low and the battling senior quickly finds the guards for outlet passes on the defensive boards. Tia Gibbs is the "wow" factor. You don't expect the sophomore to be eighteen places at once but every loose ball, transition break or defensive trap seems to include Gibbs in the mix.
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Gotta love the hard-nosed, quality minutes Asia Taylor gave the Cards last night when Walz went with the 'no center' look. Asia grabbed three big boards, did a shutdown job St. John's Amanda Burakioski and Centhya Hart and played with the best hustle and intensity we've seen out of her this year. Taylor may not be the scoring machine here at the 'Ville like she was in high school...but I sure wouldn't want her guarding me or blocking me out in the paint. Same for Keisha Hines. The vet knows the ropes when it comes to BIG EAST post play and she filled her role last night.
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This game is a joyous triumph for a team that has had its share of bumps and false starts in the 2010-11 season. The road doesn't get any easier for the next three...but I really like the chances of the Lady Cards in these upcoming fights. Pitt should be a solid win for the Cards in the YUM. Louisville may not grab the wins in South Bend or Hartford...but both teams will know and remember the 'take no prisoners' bunch from the 'Ville. Don't count them out.
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Louisville used a nine point advantage in the first half to secure an eight point win over St. John last night. The Cards actually outshot the Red Storm by 20 in the first half...going 15-38 and 39.5%. The Cards had an impressive three point night...10-24...even more impressive when you consider Schimmel was 1-6 from behind the arc. Gibbs and Burke went a combined 9-15 from three point land and Louisville was 50% in the second half from out deep.
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Despite the closeness in fouls (Louisville 20 - St.John 19) the Cards did a much better job at converting the free shots...going 80% for the game (12-15) compared to 16-23 shooting for the Red Storm and 69%. What you don't see here is that Louisville went 1-1 in the first twenty minutes and St. John 8-10. Read what you will into that...but the refs called 14 fouls in the first half and 25 in the final twenty minutes. Must have been new whistles...
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The Red Storm outscored Louisville in the paint 36-34 and captured points off of turnovers 17-13...despite having four more turnovers (23-19) than Louisville. The St. John bench produced 12 points (10 for Nadirah McKenith) and the Cards got 4 points off the bench (Vails and Tay 2 each). Walz used nine Cardinals in the contest...seven scoring...and Reid and Gibbs led in minutes played with 37 each. Walz was asked in the post game presser about not playing freshman Antonita Slaughter and actually looked bewildered for a brief few seconds. He went on to say that it was nothing personal or discipline related...he simply forgot to get her in the game and she'd probably come back and have a big game against Pitt. She's one of five that have the three point range down on the Cardinal roster.
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The freshman class accounted for 15 points and 14 assists last night. Those who played in the game against St. John's last year had 51 points and 17 rebounds. Transfer Tia Gibbs was the difference...with 18 points, 10 boards and 2 blocks. Bet she isn't missing Vandy one bit...
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Becky Burke doesn't like to be called 'soft' and although it is an admirable quality for most young women...it doesn't translate well out on the hardwood. After Walz got through preaching the point to her at halftime about her 'softness'... she drew two brutal charges in the final twenty minutes and will probably need that day after game massage from the training staff.
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A rare start for Monique Reid last night. It paid off for the Cards...Reid had seven points, three rebounds and three steals in 17 first half minutes. Walz made reference to the fact that Sherrone Vails wanted a chance to come off the bench last night and watch the flow of the game before going in.
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Good to see Candyce Bingham back on the sidelines in the YUM. Back from playing EuroBall in Luxembourg, the powerful forward is assisting with marketing duties for the Lady Cards the rest of the season. Bingham thinks she'll go back over to play again in Europe but ruled out any chance of returning to Luxembourg. "C.B." could teach this current group of Cardinals a thing or two about "toughness"...kind and gentle off the court but a fierce warrior once the whistle blew.
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Keep Kim Pemberton and her mom in your thoughts and prayers. Mom was recently diagnosed with congestive heart disease and hospital trips and treatment are a part of the future. Kim does a great job with the Lady Cards as assistant sports information director at UofL and any kind words or encouragement you can send her way during this tough stretch would be well offered and appreciated. Drop her a note if you can via the Sports Information Office at UofL...
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POST GAME WALZ:
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On Tia Gibbs:
"She played really, really well. Tia shoots the ball well, she always has but what I was most impressed with was how she took the ball off the dribble. She made a couple of pull up jump shots...we work on it everyday in practice. Three jump shots and a layup. We're finally starting to carryover what we work on everyday in practice into games. I was really pleased with offensively how well she played and she did a great job rebounding the basketball.
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On the win over St. John:
"I thought we played extremely well in the first half. We defended well. I thought we boxed out. We took care of the basketball. The only thing we didn't do very well is that we didn't convert turnovers. We turned them over 17 times in the first half and got only eight points. That's not a very good number. You really want a 1-1 ratio, so you want to get 17 points. We have to work on that and try to improve. They're (St. John's) a very talented team. We got them in foul trouble...but we had our own foul trouble, too. ....We've got to figure out how to make a stop in the last four minutes of a game. All we needed was one or two stops and the game is over...and with two minutes left we could be up 16 or 18. (The Cards led 71-61 with 2:04 left in the game.)
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On toughness:
"We did 'bull in the ring' ...what I call it... a couple of weeks ago. I put one player in the middle, I put four scout guys around and I call one of the scout guys name out and they run the kid over. It gives them toughness. And if our scout guys don't really hit them hard, I tell them that I'll run them over. We have to learn to take charges. I think (St. John's DaShena) Stevens picked up two fouls off of charges and that was really impressive.
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On the schedule ahead:
"Pitt's a good basketball team. There aren't really any bad basketball teams in our league. You've just got to be prepared to play and it's one game at a time. I told our kids to enjoy the win tonight. You gotta enjoy every win you get. Especially after coming off last year when we didn't enjoy too many."
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On whether Louisville should be ranked:
"We stubbed our toe a few times. We go to a very good Old Dominion to play and we lose. We miss some free throws. We don't box out. Then we go to Vegas and did not play very well our first two games. Marist is a fantastic team, though and Houston is very good, too. You can't expect to get ranked, though. when you don't take care of games you should have taken care of. I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about our next game."

2 comments:

  1. Great coverage as usual. The three ladies calling the game were a little off . That phantom foul on Shimmel was horrible. keep up the good work. Love the site.

    Uncle D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Uncle D! The BIG EAST is bound and determined to keep the fighting and 'thug' factor at a minimum this year...so it could be a season of quick and controversial whistles.

    Paul

    ReplyDelete

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