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Monday, December 5, 2011

Jenny's take on UofL vs. UK game...David's view on contest...We look at the numbers

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MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE:

-Jenny O'Bryan: "I still believe in my Lady Cards."

-David Watson: "Send out a search party, Lady Cards' heart is missing"

-UK out rebounds Cards by nine

-Some of your reactions and responses...

WE start a soggy Monday's column with CARDINAL COUPLE writer Jenny O' Bryan's review of yesterday's 20-point Louisville loss:

Let me just start by saying that the most beautiful thing that happened Sunday was the violinist playing the National Anthem. In my section of the Coliseum there was hushed, almost whispered reverent singing. It was beautiful.

Things went terribly down hill from there. I won't belabor the point Louisville flat got out-played. They did. Sure, there was poor officiating. I did not like any of the walk calls, except for one. There was some rough, physical play early on that there were no calls on. I wish I could blame it all on the refs, but that is not reasonable.

I am not sure our Lady Cards ever really showed up in Lexington today, except Becky Burke and Bria Smith. Shoot, I am not even sure Coach Walz showed up. The coach I know and that I sit behind at the KFC YUM!Center surely would have gotten a technical called on him for the poor officiating going on. Where was he at, where was the pleading for the kids' case? I did not see him. 

We were out rebounded, out scored by the UK starters and out scored by UK's bench. The only stat we controlled was steals. Turnovers were even. But even then, we were beat in points scored off of turnovers. 

Bria Smith had a lot of turnovers today. More than I can remember in games past. That being said, I remain convinced she is going to be a star for years to come for this program. I imagine a more settled player as conference play begins. 

Bria Smith (left) had the best outing of
the three freshmen Sunday
Becky Burke seems determined to make the most of her senior year. She is giving Walz a lot of consistency, points and leadership on the court. I could not be happier for her. 

I continue to say that our girls are better than they are playing. At some point - one has to stop and ask this:

Are they really better than they are playing? Perhaps, I have a higher opinion of them than is warranted?

At the end of the day, I still believe in my Lady Cards. I am still a crazy fan of this program and these girls. Today, I still believe they are better as a whole than they are displaying on the court.

I'm not booking that flight to Denver quite yet, though.

(Jenny O' Bryan is a contributing writer for CARDINAL COUPLE. She makes some very good points about the effort from Louisville on Sunday. Didn't seem like the Lady Cards wanted it enough at times. Success is gained by following through on your dreams with preparation,  hard work and effort. Not a successful day for UofL.)

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Next, we hear from CARDINAL COUPLE Special Correspondent David Watson.)

Around 3:15 yesterday afternoon, MR. REALITY got out of his recliner chair, shuffled over to his cell phone, punched in a few digits and got connected with the visitor's locker room in Memorial Coliseum. His words to a bunch of dejected Lady Cards went as follows:

"Dear Lady Cards. Thanks for two hours of less-than-motivational basketball. You are not a top ten team. You are questionable as a top 25 team. Your effort today reminded me of my youngest son sullenly plodding out to cut the yard on a steamy 95 degree afternoon in mid-summer. No motivation, and a surly attitude toward taking care of the task at hand. You speak of not being prepared for your assignment. Yeah, you nailed that one right on the head. It's time to either use your fresh loss to a very good team as motivation to come out and play 40 minutes of basketball..or go back into the house, drink lemonade and cue up Call of Duty II on your gaming device. I'd tell you that a lot of fans are frustrated and disappointed with your effort today...but it seems you're having hearing problems and I've got other calls to make. Someone's got to make calls...the referees in Memorial certainly weren't....unless you were in the white uniform. Have a safe trip home." 

Next, MR. REALITY placed a call to the desk sergeant at the Louisville Metro Police UofL station: 

"Sir, I'd like to report something missing. It's the University of Louisville's women's basketball team's heart. Should I organize and send out a search party? Is Detective Colombo still taking cases? It was last seen November 29th. near the KFC YUM Center. No, I don't think it's a case of potential homicide or kidnapping. I think they just lost it and I'm not sure where one would begin the search. What's that? Identifying features? Well, it's red and black, walks proudly around in front of 12,000 or so people and answers to the name of Passion. Thank you, sergeant. Yes, I'll wait by the phone for results."

Finally, MR. REALITY called 411 to get the number for Jeff Walz. The call went to voice mail...so MR. REALITY left a message.

"Hi, Coach. MR REALITY here. So, what just happened here? I'm afraid I must have dozed off. I had this horrible dream that a certain basketball team with loads of potential took a short road trip and had a horrible time. They couldn't defend anyone, took questionable shots, got out-hustled and played like they didn't care what the final outcome would be. Sorry, I dozed off, Coach. Give me a call back and tell me what I missed this afternoon. Go Cards!"  

Satisfied that he has done what was needed, MR. REALITY returned to his recliner after popping in a DVD of the 2011 UofL vs. UK WBB game.

Walz's Cards have five days before they return to action. A beleaguered Gardner Webb team (0-7) comes to visit the Downtown Arena. They've faced some good competition. It's murdered them. Duke 97-31. North Carolina 109-44. Southern Cal 82-41. Even Wofford beat them by eight. The Lady Cards go from a Sunday afternoon meal that caused indigestion to a plate full of cupcakes. How will they respond?

Only Walz and his young group of charges can answer that. And, it's not so much about the poor effort in this last particular game...it's about finding a leader, a go-to, gotta have it, I'll get it done person. It's about a team that supposedly found unity and harmony on a summer excursion taking a good, hard look at themselves and asking the question:

Are we satisfied with where we are right now?

No one expected this Lady Cards team to go undefeated. No one has already penciled them in for a spot at the NCAA Women's Final Four in the Pepsi Center in Denver. Right now, the Lady Cards...though..might want to take a big swig of Club Soda or Pepto-Bismol and get rid of the indigestion that has a lot of people questioning whether they can stomach big games against big opponents. They obviously serve Pepsi in the Pepsi Center in Denver. It would help wash down the humble pie you ate yesterday.

 MR. REALITY will be watching and waiting. Pass the corn chips and dip. 

(David Watson is a Special Corespondent for CARDINAL COUPLE. He also doubles as a gastroentonologist.)

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A review of the stat sheet shows us that, although the score board shows a 20 point UK win, the Cards weren't totally dominated, and won...in several areas.

-Louisville won the steals column 10-7

-Both teams had 26 turnovers. Way too high, in each case, but equal.

-Louisville shot 70% from the free throw line (7-10). UK was 16-23 for 69.6%

-The Cards had 30 points in the paint...UK 24.

-Louisville narrowly lost the points off turnovers battle 26-25. Both teams had six points off fast breaks.

The areas which ultimately did the Cards in:

-2nd chance points...UK 24, Louisville 10

-Rebounds...UK, by  a 34-25 margin.

-Shooting %...the Cats went 24-51 for 47.1%. UofL went 21-54 for 38.9%

-Bench play. UK with 19 points (no player with more than six - Brittany Henderson led the Cats with that number). UofL 12 (nine of those from Monique Reid).

This stat is telling. The other six Cardinals off the bench besides Reid produced only three points in a combined 54 out of 200 total minutes...Jude Schimmel with two late and a Sherrone Vails free throw. 

For the Cards, all twelve that made the trip played. Scoring saw Shoni with 17, Burke 11, Smith 10, Reid 9, Jude, Sara and Cierra with 2 and Vails 1. No points from Asia, Shelby, Shawnta, or Antonita.

Minutes played...Shoni 37,Burke 30, Reid 28 (a season high for her), Smith 26, Warren 16 (with 4 fouls), Jude 14, Vails 11, Harper 10, Hammond 9 (with four fouls), Taylor 8, Dyer 6 and Slaughter 5.  

Reid led Louisville in rebounding with eight. Shoni and Hammond had four each.

On paper, this one doesn't appear to be as bad as it was. Even Matthew Mitchell. UK head coach, commented after the game that the 20 point win was misleading, the contest was closer than that.

UK had the most important stat, though...and that was 74 points. They held Louisville to 54...the Lady Cards lowest point total of the year.

No need to cry over spilled milk or throw the baby out with the bath water. Tear off the rear view mirror and move on, Lady Cards. Still plenty of basketball to be played this year and chances for redemption. Sometimes, there is opportunity out of defeat...so learn and grow from this setback...

And grab more rebounds.

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We appreciate the e-mails you've been sending us about the game yesterday.
Let's review a few. Right this way, no photos please and follow the yellow stripe on the sidewalk below you...

Several of you are upset with the lack of Louisville women's rebounding. So is Coach Walz. He has been most of the season. WE expected better, here at Cardinal Couple. WE sincerely hope it's a work in progress that gets completed soon. No I-64 bridge scenario needed here...

A couple of you are taking Coach Walz to task for not throwing a fit and getting technical fouls or tossed from yesterday's game over officiating. Ask yourself a question...would that have honestly done any good at all ? These were referees that the Lady Cards probably won't see much of, if at all...the rest of the year. They certainly weren't going to walk over to Jeff and say..."Yes, you're right. I'll change the call immediately! Coach, here's the whistle...you call the rest of the game. I'm going for bagels, a walk around campus and coffee." There is no perfect officiating. Anymore, seems like there is very little good officiating. You don't lose games over it. You don't win games over it.
And...I assure you Walz has lost none of his fire and passion for the game. WE were sitting by the Louisville bench. HE blistered the team several times during timeouts. We heard the halftime speech peeled a little paint off the walls...as well. The kids just weren't responding yesterday. It happens. These aren't the Celtics or Packers.

A few e-mails on Jenny's column. One encouraging her not to give up hope in the Cards. Another asking what kinds of drugs she's on. (Probably a UK fan.) Both were anonymous. Probably from the V Foundation and Victoria Dunlap. 

And, one asking what else Walz said in his post-game comments to the press. One line I loved, concerning the rivalry...was that he didn't hate UK. His dad played football there. (Might check "pops" for any remaining eligibility, Joker Phillips..you need all the help you can get.)

Also, when questioned what he had to do to "fix" lack of motivation in players...he stopped, paused and chuckled...commenting that if any coach could figure out how to do that, they'd be world famous. Maybe Shoni Schimmel was on the right track when she suggested that it might begin in practice. We know Shoni doesn't have any lack of motivation or energy. She'd probably have stayed on the floor at Memorial Coliseum until 3 a.m. trying to shoot the Lady Cards back into it. Wouldn't hurt a few current players to watch "Off The Rez" again and see what real adversity and hardship is about.

The Cards have five days of practice ahead before Gardner Webb. Let's see what develops. Step back from the ledge, take a deep breath and remember...it's only December 5th. (and Santa is still watching to see if you're naughty or nice.)
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5 comments:

  1. No intensity. Very lackadasaical play. Not what I expected at all. Seemed like some bad calls early took them out of it and they never recovered. Can't be a top ten team if you let the refs take you out of a game. You gotta suck it up and keep playing hard. Hopefully, they suck it up and come out hard for each and every remaining game. Agree with both Jenny and David, very disappointed in the heart displayed and that this game was something of a fluke, this team is better than what they showed against UK. Still a fan, though, will support them always! GO CARDS!!!
    Stark61

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  2. I put a lot of the blame on Coach Walz. The lady Cards should have dominated in the post and they made very little effort to capitalize on that. That would have openend up the outsied for the two sharpshooters on the team. Too much dribbling and no passing. One player dribbles around and the other four stand and watch. This game was extremely disappointing. Coach Walz, I never though I'd say this but you got outcoached. Coach and the team owe all the Card fans who showed up for the game an apology for the lackluster performance.

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  3. Not to disagree with what you're saying...but the Cards leading three scorers and shooters for the game were Burke, Smith and Shoni...the three outside threats for Louisville. Their shots were there, they were taking them...they just weren't falling and the Cards weren't grabbing a lot of offensive boards for second chance points...

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  4. Did someone find out if the Girls were up late at night playing video games??? It seems to familiar that we can not get our teams prepared for a big game when it really counts. How can we have a top ten team and play scared, tired, and then give up. I have never seen a more pitiful display of defense and flat footed offense. For Gosh sakes set a pick to free up your all american, push for loose balls, scream yell....something. Any Jeff was calm, while the rest of us were screaming at the tv. I dont mind losing to any team that beats us, but we must commit to playing the whole game! I love me so CARDS and will always but COME ON Girls Dont ever give up! PS....how did Mo get hurt by just flopping??

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  5. In my opinion, this type of start to the season is typical of Louisville under Coach Walz. It seems like they always struggle in the beginning. I believe this is because he has a tough system. Let's not forget that this is still a very young team. Most of the time, there are at least 2 to 3 players on the court that did not play college basketball last year (Jude, Hammond, Dyer, Warren, Smith). I trust that by mid to late season, Coach Walz will have this team performing as well or better than any other team in the nation. The UofL/UK matchup is always going to be a non-typical game due to the rivalry and emotion. Yes, it was frustrating to watch but it is not the end of the season. Stay behind your team!

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