-Early first half run propels Cats to 20 point win.
|Cards stand for the National Anthem|
A Becky Burke three pointer with 13:14 in the first half had Louisville down just by one at 10-9. At the 7:29 mark, a Kastine Evans layup pushed the score to 25-10 UK. Louisville was plagued by five turnovers in the stretch and could not hit a basket in six attempts in the stretch. UK led by 14 at 30-16 with 5:28 left after a layup by Bra'Shey Ali and would go in up 40-23 at the half.
Actually, the Cards looked good for the first three minutes of the game...up 6-2 after a Cierra Warren tip-in at the 17:12 mark. After that...not so good.
Louisville was led by Burke's seven first half points...with Bria Smith adding six and Shoni Schimmel's five. Cierra Warren played just nine first half minutes because of foul trouble and other starter Sara Hammond saw just six minutes due to fouls. Louisville had 15 first half turnovers, compared to UK's 11 and trailed in the rebounding battle 17-15. A key stat was 2nd chance points...where UK held a 14-6 advantage.
The Cards needed to come out strong in the second half and go to the boards with authority...plus improve upon a first half 33.3% shooting number (8-24). UK blistered the nets for 15-29 first half shooting for 51.7% and went 6-9 from three point range....A'dia Mathies going 3-3 from deep for nine of her ten first half points.
It didn't happen for Louisville, though.
The Cards fell behind 44-23 in the second twenty minutes before a brief rally, capped off by a Shoni Schimmel layup off a steal at the 17:27 mark cut the UK lead to 46-32. The Cats responded with a Bria Goss three, though and pushed it back out to 50-34 with 15 minutes left. A Shoni three got Louisville back within 13 at the 14:42 mark...but the Cards would get no closer the rest of the way.
Kentucky stretched it out to 62-42 with 9:02 left on a three by Kastine Evans and still led 66-46 after a Shawnta Dyer foul put Brittany Henderson on the line to cash-in two free throws with 4:01 to go. UK largest lead came with 1:27 left at 74-50 on a Maegan Conwright layup....Louisville got two late layups by Schimmel to finish the game's scoring.
Disappointing and puzzling both...this Cardinal loss. Louisville did not do a great job on the boards...losing that battle 34-25 (15-11 on the offensive boards). Kentucky enjoyed a large advantage from the foul line...going 16-23 compared to Louisville's seven for ten chances.
Louisville never seemed to get fully motivated and fired up for today's game. For offense, the Cards relied on Shoni again...11 more shots than the closest Cardinal teammate and finishing with 17 points. Becky Burke added 11 for the Cards and Bria Smith finished with 10. Monique Reid was held to nine points in 28 minutes and left the game for good with 4:14 to go after taking a hard blow to the head on the Memorial floor and laying motionless for a minute. She went off the court under her own power. It was the only time Memorial was quite all afternoon.
|Cardinal bench watches dejectedly in second half.|
The Cats four guard lineup seemed a step faster and more eager to get into the transition game than the Lady Cards...Walz tried Shelby Harper for seven first half minutes and Jude Schimmel for 14 minutes in the second half to try and keep up with the Cats...but UK's main four guards (Mathies, Goss, Amber Smith and Evans) accounted for 45 of UK's points and 12 assists...two more assists than Louisville had for the game.
WHAT WE LIKED TODAY:
Not much to glow about here...
- Cards had 10 steals for the game, three more than UK. Shoni led the way with four.
-Jude Schimmel logged an impressive 14 second half minutes for the Cards today. No fouls, no turnovers... a rebound, basket and assist during her time on the court.
-Mo had nine rebounds (five on the defensive end) for Louisville. More than Cierra Warren, Sara Hammond, Asia Taylor, Shawnta Dyer and Sherrone Vails COMBINED.
Things to improve on:
-Turnovers. Even though both teams had 26...Louisville's seemed to come at the most inopportune times...18-22 is what Walz seemed resigned to, they surpassed that today against the ball-hawking UK guards.
-Playing with intensity. At times, the Cards looked confused, scared and other times almost dis-interested and un-affected by the court activities.
-Threes. A dismal 5-19. Jude 0-1, Burke 2-6 and Shoni 3-12. Need more of those to fall.
So...what started as high hopes for a Louisville Sunday win against the in-state rival will now be looked at as a drubbing by a talented non-conference opponent.
A loss that saw a girl from Louisville Iroquois (Mathies) start a fire and burn the Cards at the stake - plus a passed over center from Bardstown (Drake)exact revenge on a taller Cardinal front line. Sometimes, it just happens. Louisville got outplayed...and has the "L" in their column to prove it.
THEY SAID IT:
UK head coach Matthew Mitchell on the game:
"That was a great victory for our team today. A tough, tough opponent. We had a lot of respect for them coming in and they were very tough to prepare for. Very good coach and I'm so proud of our players for putting in the work to
prepare and put themselves in a position to get a great victory. I'm real happy for our players.
We were hoping that our depth could be quality today and it would be an advantage. I was extremely cautious - worried is maybe a better word - about their top players. Shoni's just an unbelievable player. We had to use our depth today and use it in a way to see if we had quality depth or not. Today, I think it paid off for us and we were able to use it to our advantage."
Mitchell on rebounding and second chance points:
"We've really been working on becoming a great offensive rebounding team and I think we have the talent to do that. We just have to focus on that and work really hard....Louisville is just a great defensive team and they make it so hard on you to run anything that looks really fluid, that looks good. They do a great job of knowing your personnel and making it difficult on you. I didn't think we played a very pretty offensive game today but offensive boards and second chance putbacks were big for us today because Louisville was making us struggle for things."
Mitchell on the rivalry:
"I think it's grown into a tremendous thing. That thing over in Louisville last year was unreal...the people that showed up for that game and obviously Louisville put it on us real good. I think the game today was closer than the margin ... a tough, tough game with really good players on both sides and it's an exciting time for women's basketball here in the Commonwealth."
Louisville head coach Jeff Walz on the game:
"Second chance points. The difference in the game. We had stressed that, coming into tonight's game...that we hadn't taken care of the basketball. In order to limit the number of second chance points, we had to rebound the basketball. I thought we did an O.K. job of taking care of the ball but we gave up way too many second chance points."
Bria Smith on her first time in Memorial and in the series:
"The crowd was definitely crazy. I wish the game would have gone a little better."
Walz on the rivalry and basketball in the Commonwealth:
"They had a great crowd here, close to 8,000? and we're fortunate every night to come out and play in front of 12,000. We have a city that supports women's basketball, their community here supports it and it's fun. It's what these young ladies deserve to play in front of. They work just as hard as the men do and I think people are starting to realize it's good quality basketball."
Shoni on the first half:
"It was frustrating because we weren't mentally prepared. and, we got out-rebounded so we were just trying to bounce back in the second half."
(We'll run Jenny's take on it in the Monday edition of Cardinal Couple.) We'll also go into the numbers a little more. (Grudingly...gee, do we have to? They ain't pretty.)