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Monday, March 21, 2011

Cards win over Vandy...await Xavier


MONDAY @ C.C.
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-Louisville 81 - Vandy 62 by the numbers
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-Watson reviews the game
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-Softball romps Buckeyes
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-Sonja spanks the competition
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-A Womens NCAA quiz for you.
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Tia Gibbs (pictured here) practicing to defend the amazon front line of Xavier?
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The Cards ready themselves for a rematch against the #2 seed in the Spokane Region. Louisville will face a team in Xavier that will be playing on their home court, is decidedly taller and already owns a win over the Cards this season. Does it matter? Heck, no. It's tournament time and the upsets do happen. Ask VCU over in the men's tournament if they were intimidated. Game on!
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Louisville used 60% shooting to down the Vanderbilt Commodore yesterday in the Cintas Center and a 35-19 rebounding edge. The shooting performance we fully expected and understand...when the Cards guards are hot and Monique Reid can penetrate and score on defenses, they're capable of high shooting % numbers. The rebounding a pleasant surprise, though. Normally the numbers are in favor of the Lady Cards opponents in the battle of the boards. Louisville had a 26-12 advantage on the defensive boards and limited Vandy to nine second chance points. Keisha Hines had nine grabs for the Cards and Tia Gibbs added eight.
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The shooting numbers were boosted by the Cards' red hot 15-21 in the final twenty minutes (71.4%). Take out Becky Burke's puzzling 0-5 performance and you've got only fifteen missed shots for the entire game. Reid and Schimmel went a combined 18-28 for the Cards and Schimmel and Gibbs 8-14 from beyond the 3 point arc. Vandy went a respectable 43.9% from the field for the game and did sink 7 of their 18 three-point attempts. It just wasn't good enough to top the marksmanship from the Lady Cards...
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Louisville was also excellent from the charity stripe, sinking 13-14 free throws. Keisha Hines sank all six of her attempts and Sherrone Vails was the only Cardinal to miss (1-2) from the line. Vandy did make 5 of 6 from the stripe. Louisville stayed out of foul trouble for once...committing only 11 fouls in 40 minutes. Hines picked up three but had 32 minutes on the court...high numbers for the senior. Vandy was whistled for 15 infractions...backup bruising freshman center Stephanie Holzer collecting four.
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The Cards gained 12 points in fast break opportunities. Several were wide open, unguarded attempts in the second half. Vandy with just 4 fast break points. The Vandy bench did contribute 27 points to the Vandy scoring, including a 19 point second half performance from freshmen guards Christine Foggie and Jasmine Lister. Louisville had only three bench points in the contest..at the foul stripe from Becky Burke's two tosses and Sherrone Vails hitting 1.
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The Cards freshmen tallied 20 of the 81 points...19 for Schimmel and 1 for Vails. All five played and Schimmel saw 37 minutes, Charmaine Tay 19, Vails 7, Antonita Slaughter 4 and Polly Harrington 1. The freshmen grabbed six rebounds and handed out 8 of Louisville 20 assists.
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Louisville blocked 2 shots and Vandy swatted three attemps away. The Cards had 10 steals (Hines and Gibbs three each) and the Commodores pilfered the orb 12 times, Elan Brown getting 5 of them. Vandy committed only 14 turnovers and Louisville was guilty of 20 miscues (Schimmel 5 and Reid 4).
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Vandy never led in the contest. The Cards led by 20 with 6:55 to go in the second half after a Gibbs score at 68-48. Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb was effusive in her praise for Louisville's effort...stating that the Commodores 'actually lost the game in the first half...something I don't say very often'. She also remarked that Reid had 'improved a lot in physicality'. She had no comment on the performance of former Vandy player Tia Gibbs.
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All in all, a very good, workmanship type effort by the Cards to dispatch the Commodores. Louisville met the challenge of a 12-0 second half Vandy run with a 13-0 run of their own and were never seriously challenged in the final nine minutes of the second half.
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DAVID WATSON watched the fray from Section 104 and has this report on the Louisville win:
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I'll give you five reasons why Louisville defeated the Vanderbilt squad Sunday, and I'll provide them in alphabetical order.
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Tia Gibbs. Revenge is a dish best served at tournament time and the silky, smooth sophomore showed Melanie Balcomb, head Vanderbilt coach, that she might of made a mistake in letting her get away. Gibbs first half shooting clinic left me convinced that not only is she a dead on distance shooter but she can do the things needed to get in position to attempt the deadly three. I didn't check on the way out of the Cintas Center, but it wouldn't surprise me if Gibbs was still raining down threes out on the blacktop outdoor court near where we parked. Her back-to-back threes (nearly three in a row) late in the first half keyed a 8-0 closing run that effectively sank the Commodore boat. All hands on deck, attention! We have an long range artillery specialist on board. Her three with 33 seconds left in the game was the final nail in the Commodore coffin...a three that Vandy fans cried about being in poor sportsmanship. You play to the final buzzer, Commodore crybabies. Better luck next year.
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Keisha Hines. This senior must have watched a Sylvester Stalloine or Arnold Schwartzenegger movie before the game, because she came out and became the ultimate warrior. Scoring easily inside, containing the Vandy inside game and grabbing board and board. What used to be a 'close your eyes and pray' Hines at the foul stripe has turned into an automatic point producer. Last chance to dance for the senior and she has her ballet slippers on and has cued up the mirrored ball and Bee Gees. Not Saturday Night Fever, but Sunday Afternoon Smackdown.
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Monique Reid. No disapperance for the flashly junior Sunday. Two solid halves of basketball and the classic Reid inside punishment by use of the backboard and soft jumper. Her war whoop when she nailed an inside jumper at the 8:11 mark of the second half was probably heard back in Fern Creek without the aid of the television volume. Reid layup, Reid inside, Reid layup, Reid plus 1. It may be boring script, but it is effective, successful and useful as any self-help paperback. Paul tells me that when she saw her walking out for the second half, he gave her the 'thumbs up'. She just gave him a self-assured smile that mission would be accomplished and opponent stifled. When she's golden, she shines like the sun.

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Shoni Schimmel. No first time, freshman nerves here. Beginning with a three that gave the Cards a 5-2 lead and ending with a three with five minutes remaining that made it 71-51, the Portland progeny controlled the game with a maestro's touch and was the only other Cardinal besides Gibbs to hit from beyond the arc. I'll give Charmaine Tay a prop here also, off the bench and very steady in the nearly twenty minutes she contributed. As for Schimmel, another 'Sho-Time' performance that gets her one step closer to playing in front of her fanatical followers on the West Coast. They should call her Judge Schimmel because of her court awareness.
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Jeff Walz. Coach coached the perfect game. Substitutions when needed, a persistant and wise dialouge with the officials which kept the Cards from getting too infractioned and letting the team solve their own couple of slumps during the contest. Walz knows quite well that you don't mess with good performances and gave four of the starters plenty of minutes to shine. He also saw that a three guard attack was the best way to calm the Commodores and Asia Taylor will have other days to compile points and boards. If he can figure out the mystery of the Becky Burke recent slump, we'll nominate him for Mayor of Louisville (no offense Greg Fischer). His next test is also how to contain the Xavier amazons Phillips and Harris. Don't bet against him.
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As we drove home after the contest, my daughter made a very valid and wise observation. She commented that Louisville never seemed to be flustered or panicked during the game. Even when Vandy cut the Cardinal advantage to five, the girls re-grouped and pushed the lead back to 18. Consider the situation. The Cards have been battling all season in the best conference in women's college basketball. All nine BIG EAST teams won their first round games. Think that a 10-6 SEC Vandy is going to strike fear and apprehension into the hearts and minds of Walz's bunch? Not bloody likely, sir. Past performances matter. This wasn't Louisville's first rodeo, time at bat or situation under pressure. No problems here. Onto the rematch, now. Tear down the tall timber, Cards.
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DAVID WATSON is a special contributor to CARDINAL COUPLE. He probably wouldn't make a great lumberjack or action figure hero...but we like his references and allegories. Here's hoping his 2 1/2 hour drive back from Cincy Tuesday night is one following a Cardinal win.
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Louisville softball closed out their participation in the San Diego Classic II with a 9-1 win over Ohio State on Sunday. The Cards finished the three day event with a 4-1 record and went to 18-9 overall. They took the tournament title and got the trophy thanks to the strong pitching of tori Collins against the Buckeyes. Collins allowed only two hits and fanned four in the five inning contest. She is 11-5 on the season.
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Louisville struck early against OSU, getting two runs in the bottom of the first. A Jennifer Esteban triple scored Katie Keller and Esteban touched home on a Colby Wherry sacrifice fly.
The Cards added another run in the second when Keller singled home Kristin Austin.

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Louisville took it to 5-0 in the third inning when they got fence clearers from Wherry and Alicja Wolny. After Ohio State scored a run in the top of the fourth, the Cards countered with four in the fourth. Wherry and Taner Fowler smacked back to back singles with two out. Wolny singled to get Wherry home. Austin drew a walk to fill the bags. Maggie Ruckenbrod's single scored Fowler and Wolny touched the plate on a wild pitch to make it 8-1. Walks by Hannah Kiyohara and Keller brought Austin to the plate for the final 9-1 tally.

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Louisville returns to Ulmer for their next game, a matchup against the UK Wildcats on Wednesday. Game time is 6 p.m. and admission is $5.
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Sonja is spanking the competition in the women's NCAA Tournament bracket pick 'em. Her 27-5 first and second round performance leads by 4. Losses in a #8 vs #9 matchup (won by Purdue), and incorrect picks of Iowa State, Iowa, Arizona State and Middle Tennessee were the only blemishes on a brilliant bracket breakdown. Surprisingly, Bill the Goat is in second. As for Paul, once again...he sits in the cellar of the bracket basement. 19-13. Typical. BIG EAST teams went 9-0 in their opening games. The ACC fared 6-0. Give the SEC a 3-1 beginning. The Big 12 stumbled out 2-5 and the PAC 10 went 2-1. The Big 10 advanced 4 out of 5 in the "power conferences" results.
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A short NCAA Womens Tournament quiz for you:
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1) How many states are represented in this year's tournament? Include the District of Columbia.
a) 37
b) 29
c) 33
d) 40
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2) Which state has the most participants (6)?
a) Tennessee
b) Texas
c) Florida
d) Arizona
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3) Which state has NO participants?
a) Kansas
b) South Dakota
c) Mississippi
d) Montana
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4) Name the three North Carolina participants:
a) Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina
b) North Carolina, East Carolina, Duke
c) Marist, Duke, North Carolina
d) Gardner-Webb. Duke, North Carolina
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5) Joanne P. McCauley coaches:
a) Marist
b) BYU
c) Duke
d) McNeese State.
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(answers below)
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Here in Kentucky, two teams are in the BIG DANCE (Louisville and Kentucky) and both advanced to the second round. Ohio has four universities involved and Ohio State and Xavier
were the only two to move on. The biggest upset in the first two days of action? Give it to #11 seed Gonzaga...who downed #6 seed Iowa. No #12 thru #16 seeds survived their first round games. Missing names from this year's Big Dance? Syracuse had a credible BIG EAST season but wasn't included despite going 22-9. LSU and South Carolina failed to get the call despite having .500 seasons in the SEC and winning records.
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Boo to Xavier for trying to rip off the Western Kentucky University mascot with their "Blue Blob". They're the Musketeers, but we saw no dashing swordsman mascot on the sidelines Sunday. Just a second rate imitation of WKU's Hilltopper. We cry foul!
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The Vanderbilt Commodore mascot looks like the late, great famed actor Leslie Nielsen after a few tough nights....we expected to see him stumble into the court action or create a typical Nielsen blunder or gaffe. I can hear Paul Sanderford's commentary now..."OMG! The Vandy mascot just took out Monique Reid on a fast break layup! And...no whistle? Amazing..."
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ANSWERS:
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1) c. 33 states have entries, including Georgetown, from D.C.
2) b. Texas has six schools in. Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Texas, Houston and Prairie View
3) c. Mississippi has no one. No Ole Miss, Miss St. Southern Miss or even a near miss.
4) d. Gardner Webb joins Duke and North Carolina from the TarHeel state.
5) c. Duke. Joanne has held the helm at Duke for four seasons.
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5 for 5...You know your womens hoops! Give yourself a Naismeth Award and apply at ESPN.
4 for 5...Not Bad. You've seen a few games this year.
3 for 5...Average. Questions one and four were tricky. You'll do better next time.
2 for 5...40% shooting. You need to watch a few more games than your hometown school's.
1 for 5...Gotta send you to the bench, with a NCAA facts book and water bottle.
0 for 5...We don't encourage UK fans to visit...but they still show up and embarrass themselves.
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