-Antonita Slaughter sparks LADY CARDS win.
With 5:49 to go in the UofL vs. Pittsburgh game and the Cards down 59-52...the Cards were in desperate need of a spark, a surge...something to snap them out of the 3-point shooting slump Jeff Walz's crew was mired in.
Enter Antonita Slaughter. See Louisville go on a 13-5 run to take a 65-64 lead 90 seconds later. Two 3-point bombs from the freshman..plus key shots from Shoni Schimmel and Monique Reid..saw the Cards tie it at 59-59 and go up to stay 65-64 after Slaughter's second bomb with 4:10 remaining. Louisville held the visiting Panthers to nine points over the final 5:49 and got clutch free throw shooting from Reid down the stretch to go 3-0 in the BIG EAST.
The Cards began the Sunday afternoon contest in a hurry...grabbing a 7-2 lead in the first two minutes after a Reid 'plus 1'. They would see Pitt fight back to take a 8-7 lead behind the 3-point shooting of Shayla Scott...but a 13-2 LADY CARD run over a 4 1/2 minute span had the Cards sitting pretty at 20-10 with 12 minutes to go. Pitt would battle back, tie the contest at 20-20 following a Marquel Davis jumper with 8:23 in the first half. Louisville returned the favor with a 8-0 run...keyed by two Tia Gibbs layups off steals...and take a 32-26 lead into the locker room at the half. Reid was the Cardinal first half workhorse...with 12 points...and the Cards enjoyed a 9-3 steal advantage over the Panthers.
Louisville started the second half slowly, though and Pitt tied the contest with a 10-4 early run...with Jania Sims scoring twice and adding a couple of steals for Agnes Berenato's crew. At 36-36, Louisville forged ahead to lead 42-38 after a Keisha Hines layup with 14:30 remaining...but the Cards would see Pitt regain the advantage 46-45 after another Shayla Scott three at the 11:47 mark.
The teams battled back and forth with the lead until Pitt used a Shoni Schimmel foul and subsequent technical to go up 56-50 with 6:57 to go. The call was questionable on the Louisville freshman and emotions got the best of her after the whistle. From there, Louisville outscored the Panthers 29-12 the rest of the way.
3-point shooting took a day off for the Cards...the 5-19 effort equally bad in each half. Burke went 1-5, Schimmel 2-9 and Gibbs 0-3. Pitt, on the other hand, got key threes from Scott in both halves and three clutch trifectas from Taneisha Harrison in the final twenty minutes. Pitt out rebounded Louisville 38-33 on the afternoon...marking the first time this season that Pitt has lost a game despite winning the rebounding battle. Chelsea Cole and Scott, in particular...schooled Louisville on the boards...with 10 and 11 respectively.
A nice Sunday crowd of 9577 was instrumental in the late second half rally by creating a loud and frenetic atmosphere in the KFC YUM Center when Pitt was on offense. The attendees went nuts when Reid knocked home an off balance jumper to put the Cards up 72-66 with 1:39 left in the game. The Cards scored their final seven points of the game from the foul line...Reid going 4-4, Burke adding two and Schimmel 1.
Louisville was led by Reid's 29 points in 38 minutes of play. Schimmel added 15 points despite 6-16 shooting and Keisha Hines battled the tall Panther front line for 10 points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes. Slaughter and Gibbs finished with eight points each and Burke added seven for Louisville...who shot 50% for the game. (28-56).
The Panthers got big efforts from Scott (17 points and 11 boards), Harrison's 18 points...sixteen in the final twenty minutes and Jania Sims 13 points (but a woeful 4-16 from the floor). Cole reached double figures on the boards with 10 and 9 points...seven in the second half.
A good and inspired come from behind win for Walz's crew today...but an up and down, uneven effort like this will translate into losses at Notre Dame and UConn next week. The 3-point shooting probably won't be that horrendous in the next two and Louisville can ill afford being schooled in 2nd chance points by 13 at either venue...but give credit to the Cards for showing that they can mount late game rallies against a top caliber foe...and hit the free throws down the stretch.