SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Aggressive defense the key in 71-42 Lady Cards win
-BIG EAST WBB Saturday results.
The University of Louisville's womens' basketball team started their two game west coast swing with an easy victory over the University of Portland Pilots yesterday in front of 3211 fans...mostly clad in red and cheering for the Lady Cards. For Louisville (10-2) the usual suspects showed up...Becky Burke going five for nine from the deep and leading all scorers with 17 points. Shoni stepping up strong in the second half with three threes and 14 points for the game.
The Cards did not start out like the #14 team in the nation, however. They battled back and forth with the pesky Pilots for the first five minutes of the contest ...trailing 10-8. Portland's zone was giving Louisville trouble and only Bria Smith was looking like she was ready to play...with five of Louisville's points.
Then, the Cards got untracked. Whatever jet lag might have been in play quickly disappeared when Shawnta Dyer scored in the paint to tie it at 10. That was followed by four straight points from Asia Taylor and a second Burke three of the first half had Louisville up 17-10 with 13 minutes left. After a Portland hoop, Burke drilled another trifecta, Jude Schimmel connected on a jumper and cashed in a free throw and Shoni's first score of the afternoon (a three - what else?) had Louisville up 26-12 near the halfway mark of the first half. Portland was in trouble...could not score against the Cardinal defense pressure...and the Lady Cards were effectively shutting down the Pilots leading scorer Natalie Day. The 18-2 run over five minutes had propelled Louisville into a 14 point advantage.
Things didn't get any better for UofP. After managing a couple of free throws...the Lady Cards took off on a 14-2 run over the final seven minutes...five different Cardinals contributing to the scoring action. Louisville held a 40-16 halftime lead.
Portland had four free throws but no baskets in the final 12:41 of the half.
Louisville was shooting a red-hot 52%. Bria Smith paced the Lady Cards with nine first half points.
The Cards continued their mastery in the final twenty. Threes by Shoni, Burke and Shoni again had the Cards up 49-20. Another Shoni three gave Louisville their largest lead of the game...57-24 with 14:55 left. The two teams played on a pretty even keel after that...Portland actually outscoring the Lady Cards 18-14 the rest of the way...
Natalie Day recovered from her scoreless first half to end up with 14 second half points. ReZina Teclemariam (trying saying her name fast five times...) also hit double figures for the Pilots with 11.
Walz played multiple combination over the final twelve minutes...Sara Hammond, Dyer, Cierra Warren, Vails and Burke all scoring over the final 12:05.
All 11 available for Louisville played and all of them scored. Burke was high scorer with 17, Shoni added 14 and Smith had nine points...all in the first half. Shawnta Dyer followed with eight, Antonita Slaughter and Jude with five each, Asia Taylor ended up with four points, Hammond three and Sherrone Vails, Shelby Harper and Cierra Warren contributed two each.
Slaughter led the Cards with eight grabs and Bria Smith followed with seven. Burke distributed a team high five assists...no Cardinals fouled out and Smith pilfered three steals.
The Cards outshot the Pilots 45.6% to 28%. Louisville was an unusually high 10-30 from three point range for 33.3%...Shoni trying an arm weary 13 and hitting four. The Cards won the rebounding battle 43-29. Louisville did commit 23 turnovers...one less than the Pilots.
Walz distributed the minutes fairly evenly...no Lady Card getting more than 30 (Shoni) or less than seven (Harper). Monique Reid was in attendance in street clothes and on crutches. No immediate timetable has been set for Mo's return and UofL is expected to release more information on the extent of her injury and the MRI results of the knee on Monday.
A good afternoon for seeing family and friends for the Schimmel's. A winning, workman-like effort for the team. Second half play got sloppy and disjointed at times and the Cards did go for five minutes plus with only one score...but when you're up 30...does it really matter?
THINGS WE LIKED ABOUT THE GAME
-THE FIRST HALF from Bria Smith. She's settling in well to her starter role at guard and was the only Louisville offense for the first four + minutes of the game. We hope those skills continue to grow.
-Louisville fans (Rez Version). Just an incredible turnout to travel in by bus and car across the state to put 3211 in a gym against a team that averages around 500-600 a game. Watching it on "Pilot-Vision" ...it was obvious that there were a lot of youth in attendance, they were smiling and happy and Shoni, Jude and the team were "mobbed" (as PDX Phil described in yesterday's comments) by their adoring fans.
-Jude Awakening. She produced 21 minutes of stable basketball yesterday, sharing the court at times with Shoni. Her numbers...five points on 2-6 shooting, three rebounds, no fouls, three assists, two steals and (a team high) five turnovers. Still plenty of things to work on...but she's getting better each game and you can see her confidence level rising.
THINGS TO WORK ON:
-Serving up turnovers. It's was an afternoon game, so no pastries were needed...but the Cards coughed it up 23 times against a 5-7 team and gave up 17 steals...five each by Day and ball-hawking guard Alexis Byrd. I know, I get it...what does it matter in a 29 point blowout? We'll see if these numbers get better against Washington St. on Monday.
-Sloppy ending. Coach Walz will tell you he has no "mop up" squad and that he evaluates just the same whether the team is up by twenty or down by two. His evaluations of the final seven minutes of this one probably didn't warrant any medals of bravery or honor, standing ovations or shouts of "Bravo!". At least Sara Hammond and Cierra Warren got to work together for a good while. The frustration of both in the paint is still very obvious though...Sara still foul prone and Cierra still needing to just learn and go back up with the ball instead of flashing, dashing, dancing in the paint and trying fall away hook shots.
Louisville travels to Pullman, WA. next for a late one against Washington State.
9 p.m. tip E.S.T. A Native American Appreciation Night promotion and tons of Cardinal fans / Schimmel fans are expected to attend this one, too.
BIG EAST WBB went 4-2 in Saturday action.
-- St. John's handling Prairie View A&M 66-50
--Cincinnati falling to Miami (OH) 74-69
--West Virginia dropping a close one to Duquense 61-55
--USF romping Maryland Eastern-Shores 71-50
--Seton Hall getting the win over Stonybrook in convinving fashion 65-30
--...and the Cards with the 71-42 win at Portland.
Four games on tap for Sunday...and two great matchups. Notre Dame hosting UK at noon and Connecticut travels to Baylor to meet the Bears. Rutgers plays Iona and a interesting matchup with Georgetown and Xavier doing battle.
UK and Notre Dame on ESPNU...UCONN and Baylor on ESPN at 7:30 p.m.