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Monday, June 6, 2011

NY Liberty beat "Angel-less" Dream...WE look back at...

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MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE:

The Atlanta Dream leading scorer from last season
did not play because of a knee sprain. She is day-to-day.
-Liberty down Dream 94-88 in overtime

-We look back at...Lady Cards 57-47 over WVU

The Atlanta Dream opened their season yesterday before a sold out crowd but one of the people in attendance watching probably would have preferred to been in uniform. Angel McCoughtry watched the game in street clothes, victim of a sprained knee suffered in practice a couple of weeks ago.

The Angel-less Dream made a fight of it, getting 19 points from shooting guard Iziane Castro Marquez and 18 from front line force Sancho Lyttle. They could not stop New York's Plenette Pierson, though...who tallied 25 points against the Dream.

It was Liberty reserve Sidney Spencer who had a major impact on the game, though...with her only shot of the game finding the bottom of the nylon with less than a second to go to send the contest to overtime.

Lindsey Harding showed that the off-season trade for her could reap big rewards for Atlanta...the point guard had nine assists for the Dream. Missed free throws late in the contest by Atlanta could have prevented the Liberty from tying the contest. The Dream compensated for Angel's unavailability by going with a three guard attack led by Harding, Marquez and Coco Miller for much of the game.

WE hope the head coach Marynell Meadows will be prudent in the return of Angel...better to lose a few early ones with her on the bench than risk bringing her back too early and set up a possible re-injury.

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During these next few months...CARDINAL COUPLE will be looking back at some of this past season's UofL women's basketball games. We know, there's nothing like "the real thing"...but WE hope this helps fill the gap until the 2011-12  hoopsters get started. Today, we remember the Feb.,13th. 57-47 win over WVU.

Defense was the headline for this one...as Louisville shut down WVU point prolific guard Liz Repella for the afternoon and held the Mountaineers to just 26% shooting. It was the lowest percentage for WVU since 1993 and the 47 points were the fewest scored by Mike Carey's team for the season.

Shoni's eight point burst to start
the second half was key to
Louisville's win over WVU
Early on, this one was a grinder. The Cards and Mountaineers battled back and forth for the first ten minutes with neither team able to take a clear advantage. It was 15-11 Cards when the WVU squad bullied their way to a 9-0 run that gave them a 20-15 lead with four minutes until halftime.

Louisville dug in, though and got to the charity stripe....sinking 6 straight free throws to regain control of the game and lead. It was 23-22 Cards at halftime and it looked like this one could go down to a final possession thriller in the second half. The Cards needed someone to step up and take over in the final twenty minutes...especially since Cardinal leading scorer Monique Reid was on the bench with a twisted ankle.That someone turned out to be freshman guard Shoni Schimmel.

Louisville roared out of the locker room with an exciting 12-2 run to begin second half action...led by Schimmel knocking down two baskets from three point range and a contested jumper from the baseline. Suddenly, the Cards were up 35-24 and the KFC YUM! Center was alive and cheering on the efforts of the Portland, OR. playmaker.

WVU would not go away quietly, though and managed to claw back to within three points several times in the second half. A 9-0 run made it 39-36...but the Cards overcame the flagrant foul attempts by WVU with clutch free throw shooting at the end of the game...getting nine points from the stripe in the final four minutes to secure the ten point victory. Schimmel led Louisville with 17 points and Tia Gibbs added 11 for win.

Coach Jeff Walz credited defense and team play for the win over the #17 Mountaineers..especially the stifling of Repella from the field. The senior finished with only three points and fouled out late in the contest. He was pleased that the Cardinals played 40 minutes of solid basketball and team play...compared to the second half collapse during the game 12 days earlier against Georgetown in the YUM center. The Cards also were buoyed by clutch free-throw shooting during crunch time...an area that had been a hit-or-miss proposition previously during the season.

The win was huge in terms of Louisville's season. Despite a next game loss on the road to Syracuse, the Cards went on to win the follwing three games after that before narrowly losing the season ending game at Providence.
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