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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cards take two in Softball...McDonald's girls game notes



Louisville swept a double header in women's softball Wednesday at DePaul, with 2-1 and 13-2 victories over the Blue Demons. Caralisa Connell (pictured right) pitched all twelve innings for the Cards in the wins...which improved Louisville's record to 23-10 and 4-1 in the BIG EAST. ** Quaneisha McCurty changes mind and is I.U. bound... 
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THE THURSDAY EDITION of CARDINAL COUPLE:
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-Cards sweep DePaul in Softball
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-Williams, Massengale shine in McDonald's game.
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-McCurty switches commitment to Indiana

The University of Louisville softball team took two from the DePaul Blue Demons in Chicago yesterday in BIG EAST softball action.
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Louisville and the Blue Demons battled through two scoreless innings in the opener before DePaul grabbed a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the third. Louisville rallied back to take the lead in the top of the sixth when two fielding errors put Hannah Kiyohara and Colby Wherry on base. A Maggie Ruckenbrod single scored Kiyohara and Wherry scored on a third DePaul error of the inning. 
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Connell shut down the Blue Demons in the final two innings, getting the win while allowing one run, four hits and striking out two.
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The Cards jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second game when Chelsea Bemis smashed a home run to left center, her fifth of the season, in the second inning. The Cards increased the lead to 3-0 in the third when DePaul committed three fielding errors in the top of the third, allowing Katie Keller and Jennifer Esteban to score. The Blue Demons got a run back in the bottom of the third but Louisville retaliated with eight runs in the top of the fourth.
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Bemis and Kristin .Austin singled and Taner Fowler's double scored Chelsea Jordan ,who was pinch running for Bemis. Keller walked to load the bases and a Jennifer Estaban ground out brought home Austin to make it 5-1. Alicja Wolny drew a walk and Colby Wherry drove home Fowler and Keller to increase the Cardinal lead to 7-1. Maggie Ruckenbrod's single brought home Wolny and Wherry to increase the lead to 9-1. Bemis batted for the second time in the inning and reached third on a three base fielding error, scoring Ruckenbroad. Bemis got to the plate on a wild pitch to make it 11-1 Cards.

DePaul put a run on the board in the bottom of the fourth but Louisville countered with two in the top of the fifth for a 13-2 final.
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The Cards return to action on Saturday with a three game home stand against Seton Hall. They'll play two on Saturday and finish with a game on Sunday.
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Duke University commit Elizabeth Williams had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the East squad in a 78-66 win over the West in the McDonald's High School All-American game at the United Center in Chicago, Ill Wednesday night. Williams 23 point set a new high scoring record for the girls contest. Also on the East squad, Louisville signer Sara Hammond had 5 blocks, 4 fouls and went 0-2 from the field. Bria Smith had 10 points for the victorious East and had this to say about her re-opened recruiting.
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"It's a huge list right now (of schools) but I'm to narrow it down after this game and come up with a short list." Duke and Kentucky have joined the list of schools Smith is reportedly considering...along with Louisville and Georgia. Smith still has four recruiting trips she can take.
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Williams dominated the game for the East, who led 46-27 at the half and by as many as 24 in the second half. She re-entered the game late in the contest to get the record setting basket with less than a minute remaining in the contest. UK's Bria Goss, a Kentucky signer had 3 points in the game. Duke looks to be in great shape next year with Williams and All-Star game participant Amber Henson joining a squad that made it to the Great Eight in the NCAA this year before bowing out to Duke.
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It also looks like Pat Summitt has help on the way at point guard for Tennessee next year if Ariel Massengale can play with the intensity she showed tonight...scoring 13 points with three 3 balls tonight. She did a good job directing the offense for the East.

Pictured right...the East took control early and never relinquished the lead to the West in the Girls' McDonald's All Star game. You'll be hearing the names Williams, Massengale, Banks, Canty, Smith and Hammond quite a bit in the next four years.
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Dalton, GA. center Quaneisha McCurty has changed her mind about the University of Louisville and will sign with Indiana University next month. McCurty had committed to Louisville last year but decided to pass on the Lady Cards once Louisville questioned her elgibility status and suggested she might attend a junior college instead of enrolling at UofL as a freshman.
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"I loved the coaching staff and the facilities," McCurty commented. "But now I don't like the program like I once did. I think Indiana will put me in a position to improve and be the best player I can be. I hope to go in and play right away. It's a program I think highly of."
Indiana head coach Felisha Legette-Jack had recruited the 6'5" center and led the Hoosiers to a 9-20 record this year.  
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Head Dalton coach Jeff McKinney believes that McCurty will fit in well at Indiana:

"They are a rebuilding program, so she can definitely help them."McKinney remarked. "McCurty's eligibility shouldn't be a problem. They love her touch from 16 feet and the fact that she can play with her back to the basket or facing it."
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McCurty averaged 14 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks a game for the 32-1 Dalton Catamounts, who were defeated in the Georgia Class AAA Championship game. McCurty transfered to Dalton for her senior year after playing at rival Northwest Whitfield High School. She was the Best of Preps North Georgia player of the year and was selected to the All-State team from the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association.
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This frees up a scholarship for Louisville. Walz is interested in All-American Bria Smith and several other players, including Jude Schimmel, Shoni's younger sister.
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WE see the move as probably one that was wise by McCurty. The Cards return Sherrone Vails, Shawnta Dyer, Asia Taylor, Antonita Slaughter and Polly Harrington as paint players from last year's squad and have 6'4" Cierra Warren joining the squad after sitting out a transfer year. 6'2" All-American forward Sara Hammond comes in as a freshman as well. Playing time for McCurty would have been marginal at best and there were questions surrounding her transfer to Dalton, including a Facebook tirade allegedly by McCurty, directed at her Northwest teammates and coaches shortly before she switched schools. We think Walz has an ace on two up his sleeve that will be played soon and freeing up the scholarship allows him to play it...the Cards are in on several more highly rated players than McCurty. Jude Schimmel, Shoni's younger sister, might be one of them...No commitment yet from Jude, but she has said in the past that she would like to play her college ball with her sister. WE wish Quaneisha all the best at IU and look forward to watching her career at I.U.
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This is your advance warning. Tomorrow is April 1st., and we'll run the annual CARDINAL COUPLE parody issue. Nothing serious or factual in tomorrow's column. Just lampooning and parody. Should be fun, don't miss it!
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Caldwell an interesting sidebar to the Bria Smith story . Foley, Cards in lacrosse.

WEDNESDAY @ C.C.

-Caldwell to Virginia?
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-Foley, Cards vs. Vanderbilt
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-Getting to Know: Bergan Foley
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-NCAA Women's Final Four set.
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-Lockhart gathers BIG EAST honors. 
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-Hammond, Smith and Goss in McDonald's Girls All-American game tonight
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Interesting sidebar in the decommitment of Bria Smith from Virginia with the announcement that UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell is talking with the Cavaliers about the job opening. Caldwell took the Bruins to the second round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament this year before losing to Gonzaga. It's been said that her Bruins practice harder than any team out there in College WBB.
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First, why the move from the West Coast to Virginia? Remember that Caldwell was born in Oak Ridge, TN. and played for Pat Summitt at Tennessee. Virginia is a lot closer to home than Los Angeles is and the ACC is probably the second or third toughest conference in WBB. Can't be much fun having to bump heads with PAC-10 giant Stanford twice a year...and although the Bruins have improved each of the five years Caldwell has been there...having to recruit against Vanderveer each year for California and West Coast talent can't be much fun.

That leads us to Bria Smith, who recently decommitted from Virginia after head coach Debbie Ryan stepped down. Louisville and Georgia were in Smith's final list of potential colleges...and the Cardinal camp is confident that they can woo her to the Ville. If the dynamic Caldwell decides to head to Virginia, though...you can be assured one of her first priorities will be trying to gather Smith back into the Cavalier fold.

It'll be interesting to see how this one unfolds. Will Caldwell unceremoniously dump a program she resurrected from the depths of the PAC 10? Will Smith reconsider her interest in the Ryan-less Cavs? Will the magic of Jeff Walz and the large Louisville fan base be enough to draw Smith to the 'Ville? And, does ancient Andy Landers down at Georgia have any shot at all in putting a collar on Smith and making her a Bulldog?
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#18 Louisville lacrosse faces Vanderbilt today in lacrosse action. The Cards are 7-1 on the season, losing only to Stanford. The Commodores will be a tough test for Bergan Foley and her teammates, though. The #15 ranked 'Dores recently defeated Stanford 15-10. The teams square off at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium at 3 p.m.
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Senior Bergan Foley spearheads the Louisville attack offense and has been an essential and integral part of the Cards since arriving here as a freshman. She led the nation in 2008 in goals per game (4.07) scoring 61 in 15 games. As a sophomore, she was selected to second team BIG EAST honors and duplicated her feat from her first year...with 61 goals in 16 games. She set a career and school record with eight goals against UC Davis and was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll three times. As a junior, she was picked for the first team BIG EAST squad and second team all-West honors. She led the nation with 78 goals in 17 games. She scored seven goals on four different occasions and led the nation for the second time in three years in goals per game (4.59).
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This year, she leads the Cards again with 34 goals in eight games. She is the focus of opposing teams' defenses and leads a potent Cardinal offense along with Liz Lovejoy, Katie Oliverio and Lianne Bobal.
She hails from Huntingdon Valley, PA. and played her high school lacrosse at Gwynedd Mercy Academy. She is majoring  in business management at UofL. Athletics runs in the Foley family...her father played semi-pro football, her grandfather ran track at St.Joseph's and her uncle played hoops at Notre Dame.
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Foley and her teammates will be in action today at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium against #15 Vanderbilt. Game time is 3 p.m.
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We know now the Final Four contestants headed to Indy and there are a couple of minor surprises in the group. Connecticut we expected to advance and after a close first half last night, the Huskies dispatched of Duke quite handily. Talk all you want about Courtney Vandersloot...Maya Moore is the best player in the nation, hands down. With the rapid in-season improvement of freshman center Stefanie Dolson, the Huskies look very invincible as they head to Indy. Texas A&M pulled the upset off against Baylor last night...going to war against Brittany Griner and holding her and her teammates at bay after jumping out to a early 22-11 lead. The Aggies had lost the previous three games to the Bears this season. Greeting last night's winners are Notre Dame and Stanford. We figured the Trees would get past the Fighting Vandersloot's of Gonzaga but the Irish sending Pat back to Tennessee was a bit of a surprise...not because they won...but by the margin and seemingly easy nature of the victory.
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Sonya sees the Huskies taking the title again this year. Paul is taking the senior laden Irish to pull off the upset. We asked regular CARDINAL COUPLE reader Tom Cahill his pick and he recommended the 7 horse in the 5th at Gulfstream. That's our boy... Should be fun and two BIG EAST schools in the Final Four. Not bad...
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Congratulations to Louisville long jumper Charachesicia Lockhart for her recent BIG EAST Women's Field Athlete of the Week award. Lockhart recently won the long jump in the Alabama Relays and her jump of 6.29m is best in the BIG EAST this year, a personal record for her and 2nd. in the nation. she also finished fifth in the triple jump there.

She'll compete in the Mile Poehlein Invitational at Purdue this weekend. Louisville's throwing squad is headed to Gainesville to take part in the Pepsi Florida Relays. WE doubt they attempt any relays...but they should score well in the weight, shot put, hammer and discus events.
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Rockcastle County's Sara Hammond will be participating in the McDonald's Girls All-American game tonight...televised on ESPN U at 6:30 p.m. For Hammond, it's all about representing Rockcastle County, the commonwealth of Kentucky and her future team...the University of Louisville. Hammonnd, the Miss Kentucky Basketball award winner, will be on the court with Bria Smith, who recently de-commited from Virginia and is being re-recruited by Louisville. The flashy New York guard and Hammond will also be joined by Indiana All-Star Bria Goss, who recently committed to UK.
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Hammond, a CARDINAL COUPLE reader, led Rockcastle County to the Kentucky Girls Basketball State Championship in March and will enroll at Louisville this summer to take classes and meet her future teammates. Her ability to play several different positions and all-court versitality will fit in well with the Jeff Walz style of hoops and WE expect she'll be a valuable contributor to the 2011-12 Lady Cards...
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Field Hockey releases schedule, Notre Dame and Stanford advance in WBB



TUESDAY @ CARDINAL COUPLE:

-Field Hockey 2011 schedule

- Big East gets one in Final Four

-Mail Bag

-Don't mind us...we won't be a minute

-Should I stay or should I go?

The University of Louisville Field Hockey team, under the direction of first year head coach Justine Sowry, has announced their slate of game for the 2011 season. The list looks to be impressive and nine of the eighteen contests will be held at the TRAGER Stadium on the UofL campus. After an exhibition game at Iowa, the Cards open the regular season hosting California and Michigan State. The non-conference schedule also features home games with Missouri State, Appalachain State, New Hampshire and Indiana. The Cards will visit non-BIG EAST opponents Davisdon, Wake Forest, American, Ohio State, Drexel and Northwestern. In conference, Louisville brings in Syracuse, Rutgers and Providence. Louisville will travel to BIG EAST foes Georgetown, Connecticut and Villanova. The BIG EAST Tournament this year will be held at Syracuse November 4-6.
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The Cards have 17 players, four of them starters, returning for 2011 action. Louisville went 13-7 last year...5-1 in the BIG EAST...and finished #14 in the final rankings. The NCAA Division 1 Field Hockey Championships will be held at TRAGER stadium Novenber 18-20...the fourth time Louisville has hosted the championships. 
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Sowry replaced former Louisville head coach Pam Bustin, who took the head coaching job at Duke following the Cards 2010 season. She takes over a young team that has only three seniors in Hayley Turner, Caitlin Collins and Heather Stevens. Erin Conrad returns at goalkeeper and the Jurich twins Haley and Lacey along with Amber Thomas will be looked to for leadership.
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Congratulations to BIG EAST member Notre Dame on advancing to the NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four with a convincing 73-59 win over #1 seed Tennessee last night. The Irish did it with team play, as they have all season long...Becca the Bruiser and Skylar Diggins having huge outings against Pat's bunch. Can't help but think that if N.D. forward Dev Peters would drop the dramatics and concentrate on basketball more, she'd be even better than she is. Also, poor sportsmanship at the end by the beaten Vols with the shoves and thumps at the end of the game when the contest had been decided. Seems to us that Pat rarely coaches anymore, delegating those duties to her assistants...while she stands there on the court scowling and yelling at players after miscues. We have no doubt she's still one of the finest to ever have the title of head coach...but she just stood there, almost as if she was in "time out" or sulking or something as her assistants barked out the switches and plays as the Vols went down to defeat.
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Stanford ended the home reign of the Fighting Vandersloots of Gonzaga last night with a 83-60 drubbing of the WCC champs. The Cardinal took control of this one early and despite another fantastic performance from Vandersloot, the Bulldogs were never in it. That didn't slow the Gonzaga fans down much...but Stanford was unfazed by the hysterics and acted like they'd been there before (which they have numerous times). Head Cardinal coach Tara Vanderveer is one of the best in college basketball at getting a team ready to face the competition...and it showed last night.
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UConn looks to dispose of Duke tonight...they beat them by three time zones in an earlier meeting this year and we get a replay of the BIG 12 finals as Baylor laces up to beat Texas A&M for the fourth time this season. Mulkey the monkey vs. Geno ?? It could happen...
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Had to share one from the e-mail bag with you. It was anonymous and arrived at 3:35 a.m. a couple of days ago...
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Cardinal Couple,
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So the mighty UofSmell has been taken down by who? Gonzaga? That is way too funny and maybe they never should have gone in the first place. They were so lucky to beat Xavier and had the refs in their back pocket with all those fouls at the end of the game. The Cardinals are nothing more than a middle of the pack Big Least wannabe and them and their psycho coach Walz were lucky to get as far as they did. Good luck with little Indian squaw Bony Schimmel next year and maybe she will learn how to shoot better than 1-13 in the biggest game of her life. Maybe Walz will kick her next.
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It happens. We occasionally get idiot dribble that spills onto our screen. We share this with you because it only goes to show how highly Louisville has climbed on the national awareness level in women's college basketball since Jeff Walz arrived on campus. Use this blog for example. Our "hit" level for the site went through the roof during the Lady Cards march through the BIG EAST, BIG EAST Tournament and NCAA Tournament. Naturally, with such recognition and attention, some of it is going to be negative. We'd print all the POSTITIVE e-mails comments we've received about Walz, Schimmel and the Lady Cards...but you'd be reading this column for several hours if we did.
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WE pledge to you, our readers...that we'll continue to be the fan voice for ALL UofL women's athletics. WE know that basketball is a favorite of our readership and we try to bring you as much as we can about the team, the program and the venue. WE hope you'll stay along for the ride as we bring you softball, soccer, rowing, golf and the other sports that make up women's athletics at the University of Louisville.
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Hey, it doesn't cost you anything and we're here daily. Thanks for making us a part of your day. Pass the creamer and pop a bagel in the toaster for us. A PANERA bagel, of course....
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WE'RE experimenting with some different colors and backgrounds here at CARDINAL COUPLE so don't mind us if the font color or title header color suddenly changes on you. Just testing...no one is trying to take control of your laptop of P.C.. Just us and the chimps, playing around....
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5:45 p.m.
Well....the saga of DaMarcus Smith, former Louisville Seneca High School quarterback has gotten interesting again. Someone cue up The Clash and let's have a little Should I stay or should I go. Just to
review the previous innings of this donnybrook...Smith was all UofL until shortly before National Signing Day. Then, Louisville added another quarterback recruit to the mix, heraled Miami, FL. thrower Teddy Bridgewater. Smith said that didn't bother him...but eventually visited and signed a letter of intent with Central Florida. He claimed it wasn't because of Bridgewater becoming a Card. Then, rumors started floating that maybe DaMarcus didn't want to head to Orlando. Didn't want to play for George O'Leary (the head coach at UCF)  or UCF. Or go to Disney World or take in any Orlando Magic games...

It came out yesterday (some of us knew earlier) that DaMarcus had asked to be released from his Letter of Intent (LOI) Actually, it was his Mom who made the phone call to George O'Leary. O'Leary declined to release him. Says he never has and never will release a college student from a LOI.

We saw Smith play a lot of football at Seneca. Championed him here and at CARDINAL DOMINANCE as a "can't miss" prospect wherever he ended up. It looks, though, as if Mom is calling the snaps here lately. Funny, we never saw her behind center or tossing bombs down the field while DaMarcus played at SHS.

If O'Leary continues the embargo, Smith has to sit a year before he can play at UofL and would have four years to complete three seasons on the field. Or he could go to UCF, play a year...then transfer and sit out a year and go to Louisville. Or juco it. Maybe he could learn to fly a plane and go to work for UPS. Whatever. Looks like O'Leary isn't budging and DaMarcus isn't goin' south. For now. Stay tuned, This race has had a lot of lead changes and  jockeying...
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Softball wins vs. Villanova, Lacrosse beats Cincy

MONDAY at CARDINAL COUPLE .
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 -12-5 Lady Cards Softball wins over Villanova.
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 -Lacrosse downs Bearcats 18-15
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 -NCAA: A need for change?
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 -The Watson Awards for Lady Cards basketball.
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 The University of Louisville softball squad won the rubber match in the three game series against BIG EAST foe Villanova convincingly yesterday at Ulmer Stadium...downing the Villanova Wildcats 12-5. Once again, freshman pitcher Caralisa Connell took the mound for Louisville and went the distance for the Cards. She pitched all 21 innings this week for Louisville.
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The news on Tori Collins, ace of the Louisville pitching staff, is that she is out three weeks with a stress fracture. With pitcher Chelesa Leonard out also with injury...looks like Connell is going to get all the work she wants.
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Louisville jumped on 'Nova early in this one. A Maggie Ruckenbrod single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first brought home two runs to give Louisville a 2-0 nod. Nova would counter in the top of the third. Molly Manning slammed a based loaded grand slam to put Nova up 4-2.
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Louisville had not put the bats away yet, though. In the bottom of the third, the Cards erupted for six runs...aided by bases loaded singles by Taner Fowler, Hannah Kiyohara and Jennifer Esteban. A fielding error by Nova added to the Cardinal total and they led 8-4 after three. Villanova got one back in the top of the fourth but Louisville added four more in the bottom of the inning when Katie Keller tripled home Kiyohara and Esteban and then scored on a Alicja Wolny double. Colby Wherry singled home Wolny to make it 12-5 Cards.
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Connell kept the Wildcats scoreless the rest of the way, going to 8-4 on the season. She allowed five runs, seven hits and struck out three. Louisville travels to DePaul next for a Wednesday doubleheader.
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Louisville Lacrosse took a hard fought match over Cincinnati Sunday at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium 18-15, getting three goals and three assists from Liz Lovejoy. The Cards (7-1, 1-0) used all three goalkeepers in the contest. Ashley Herbst, the normal starter for Louisville, was spelled by last year's starter Danielle Pawliw. Pawliw spent 17 minutes on the field before relinquishing save duty to backup Katie Zoeller, who finished with seven minutes. Herbst was credited with the win.
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Louisville led 13-6 at the half but had to withstand a furious Bearcat rally that saw them come from a 16-9 deficit and shut out the Cards offense over the final seven minutes of the game.
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Nine different players scored for Louisville. Lianne Bobal had four goals, Katie Oliverio added three and leading Cardinal scorer Bergan Foley was held to just two. Louisville hosts Vanderbilt on Wednesday at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium. Game time is 3 p.m.
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Congratulations to Connecticut, Duke, Baylor, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Stanford, Notre Dame and Gonzaga on advancing to the "Great Eight". We do have to tale to task, though...some of the placement favoritism's of the NCAA Selection Committee, though. You know where we're going with this...
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Does Gonzaga, an #11 seed coming into the NCAA Tournament, rate a possible four home game or home city stand? I realize that the Spokane Regional was set before the selections were announced, and the NCAA is most concerned about attendance (which equals dollars) at Regional sites, but explain the keeping of a #11 seed there? No doubt, the crowd would have diminished dramatically without the Zags present in Spokane for the first three games in the city...but are finances more important than equality? We have no problem keeping the top four seeds in each region at home or as close as possible to home for the first and second rounds...but extending it to the #11 seed is pushing it.
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Would Gonzaga have fared as well against Iowa, UCLA and Louisville at a neutral site like Dayton or Philadelphia? Did Baylor and Texas A&M benefit by playing in Dallas? A closer look at first and second round match ups is in order and attendance questions and issues need to take a back seat to fair competitiveness and match ups.
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We don't claim to have all the answers and realize that some "home cooking" when it comes to site placement for teams is inevitable. We do think, however, that closer scrutiny is needed when the field is being set and determinations on where teams are going is made. Cardinal fans were tickled that the Louisville team was only less than two hours away for their first two games and they responded to it by travelling well for the Sunday and Tuesday match ups.
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It is obvious, though, that the site and selection was set to ensure that #2 Xavier would have a fairly easy trip to reach the Regionals. That strategy backfired when the Cards upended the Musketeers on their home court. Top four seeds deserve the right and respect of favorable site assignment because of the work put in during the regular season but only in the First and Second rounds. After that, maybe it's time to do a re-seeding and re-ranking of the sixteen that have survived.
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As far as the games went over Saturday and Sunday, Sonja showed her superiority over Paul and David by selecting seven out of the eight that advance to the Great Eight. Louisville her only blemish. Paul had five correct and David four. Guess we know who the Queen of Women's College Basketball is around Cardinal Couple is...and it isn't Co-Co.
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Looks like we not done with David Watson yet. He sent this article, announcing the self-titled Watson Awards for UofL Women's baskeball.
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I'm initiating the inaugural year of the WATSON AWARDS for the UofL women's college basketball team. No trophies, scholarships or monetary payouts are available or being awarded. The honor and prestige should suffice:
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 THE DAVID WATSON MVP AWARD.
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 Has to go to junior Monique Reid. The Cards leading scorer on the team, a first team BIG EAST selection and the logical choice. We saw just how must Louisville did miss her when she got injured before the Gonzaga game.
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THE DAVID WATSON FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD.
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 Shoni Schimmel. Took a starting role right off the bat, ran the point and the "2" guard spots interchangably and effectively and was the leading three point threat. The shiniest apple on the teacher's desk of the six freshmen.
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THE DAVID WATSON MOST IMPROVED PLAYER AWARD.
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 Asia Taylor. Became a regular starter this season and a fierce competitior around the boards. Also improved light years from the free throw line. Nex tyear could be a breakout year for the soon to be junior.
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THE DAVID WATSON 100% EFFORT AWARD.
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 Tough call but I go with Tia Gibbs. She waited a year to get back out on the court and made up for the wait from Day 1. Wherever she fits into the picture next year, remember one thing: She'll give it all she has.
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THE DAVID WATSON BEST OFF THE BENCH AWARD.
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 Another tough one to designate because the starting lineup changed around for Louisville, but I have to go with spark plug Shelby Harper. She has a way of shaking things up when she comes off the bench and does what she does and is asked to do well, in a reserve role. . Have a great off-season, everybody. . I'll check in from time to time. David.
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lady Cards end season with 7 point loss 76-69

. SUNDAY (and snow!) . . @ Cardinal Couple . . . -Vandersloot's play too much for Louisville to overcome. . . -Quotes and comments . . -Cards loss by the numbers . . -Watson reflects on the game, season . . -Softball splits on Saturday . . The numbers for Courtney Vandersloot pretty much explain why the Louisville women's basketball team fell short Saturday night in Spokane. Vandersloot did to Louisville pretty much what she's been doing to competition all season. 29 points in 39 minutes. 8 for 10 shooting from the field and 12-14 from the foul line. She took and made more free throws than the entire Louisville team. She also had five rebounds, seven assists and seven steals . . "She's a really nice player." Louisville head coach Jeff Walz commented after the game. "Where she really hurt us was with the steals." What also hurt Louisville was Monique Reid hobbling off the court with 18:26 left in the first half and the game tied 2-2. Reid actually suffered the groin injury before the game during warmups while stretching, tried to go, but couldn't. The injury occurred 30 minutes before tip-off . . "I heard a pop in my hamstring. It was my groin. I tried to go, but I just couldn't." the sophomore from Fern Creek commented. . Walz reaction to the injury was different, to say the least. "I tell everyone that warmups are great but for any of you that have dogs, I have yet to see a dog stretch before chasing a **** car. I don't know why we have to stretch so much. I mean, that dog just takes off sprinting and he seems to be OK." . . (WE actually had a Yorkie once that pulled a leg muscle chasing a cat. He lept off the porch in pursuit and gave a yelp...hobbling to a stop. He wasn't a prolific scorer, though and couldn't post up. No warm up, either.) . . . Walz reflected on the Cards final game... "We didn't make it a very good TV game. I hope the viewers didn't turn it off.... For 10 minutes, we played really good basketball. But when we cut it to three, we never got it to one. We never got it to where the next shot really mattered to them..and we had our chances." . Finally, we'll agree with the summations of sophomore Tia Gibbs. "We dug ourselves a hole, but we tried to fight back . One thing we don't do is quit." Gibbs remarked. "We kept fighting till the end." The Zags get Stanford Monday night in the Spokane Regional final, who outlasted North Carolina 72-66. . . ************************************************************************************ . . . Louisville shot 44.8% in the game (30-67) and 54.3% in the second half. The Zags countered with 43.9% (23-57) and just 37% in the second half. 3 point range was a blur for Louisville...going 25% (4-16). Schimmel was (2 for 10) and Gibbs (2 for 4). Gonzaga 2 for 7 past the arc. Free throws were the key here...Louisville getting only nine attempts and hitting five and Gonzaga going 24-28. . For Louisville, Schimmel led the way scoring with 18 points in 37 minutes. She had two at halftime. Keisha Hines had an impressive final game in a Cardinal uniform with 17 points, and six rebounds. Tia Gibbs had 16 points on 7 for 13 shooting and Asia Taylor recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards. Charmaine Tay tallied four points, Reid had two before she left and Sherrone Vails two in five minutes. Becky Burke, Shelby Harper and Antonita Slaughter all played but failed to score for the Cards. . The Cards won the battle of the boards 40-33, thanks to the strong effort of Taylor. Louisville did have 19 turnovers (10 in the first half) compared to just 13 for the Bulldogs. Louisville had 13 assists, Gonzaga 12 and the Zags pilfered the ball 13 times (Vandersloot 7) compared to 8 Louisville steals. but Louisville's freshmen accounted for 24 of the 69 points. They grabbed 8 of the 40 boards and went 11-30 from the field. Besides Schimmel's 37 minutes...Tay logged 30, Vails five and Slaughter four. . . ************************************************************************************ . . . David Watson reflects on the loss...and the season. I won't be disparaging or critical as Louisville exits from the Big Dance. Basically, this one was over when Monique Reid, Teena Murray and Amy Meadows went to the locker room after a minute plus of action. Exit the leading scorer and calming influence and exit the Cards chances of winning. Great rally, granted and Keisha Hines gave it her all in her Cardinal swan song, but take those 16 points a game out of the equation and you get a Cardinal team flying without one of their wings. Ironic that the very thing that made Cardinal basketball less that prolific last year (injuries) rose up last night and sealed the Cards fate again. . . You can talk about how you have to go with the players out there, how one player doesn't make a team and toss in any other cliches you want. It DID matter last night. Without the inside force of Mo..the Lady Cards were a no go. Sure Taylor, Hines and company tried to pick up the slack. They did a credible job. Gotta wonder how many of those wild, forced shots that "Showtime" Schimmel shot in the first half might have been passes to Reid? "Showtime" was one of the 'not ready for prime time' players for the first twenty Saturday night (Apologies to Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and the rest of the SNL crew). . . But, it was a season to remember and one that provided a lot of fun and excitement for Lady Cards fans. These girls improved dramatically as the season progressed and with all but Keisha returning, they'll be a great team in 2012. Huge wins over Kentucky, Xavier, Vandy and DePaul will be remembered by me for quite some time. The future is so bright for this bunch that I recommend everyone go out and buy window blinds and shades. (My nephew is in the window treatment business. A shameless plug here). Walz has the keys to a powerful vehicle here. Low mileage, high dynamics and rave reviews from the season ticket holders who've taken test drives. Let's hope he can continue to put the pedal to the metal and live life in the fast (break) lane. . . We appreciate all the commentary and reports that David Watson has provided this season. His insights and views are always entertaining and informative and we look forward to his take on Cardinal hoops when the gals hit the floor in November. Until then... Gracias, amigo and buenas suerte! . . .************************************************************************************ . . Louisville softball split a double header at Ulmer Stadium Saturday afternoon with Villanova, losing the opener 3-1 and taking the second 5-3. . The Cards ran into a strong pitching performance in Game 1 from Nova's Molly Manning, who fanned five and allowed only four Louisville hits. . Louisville opened the game with a triple from Jennifer Esteban but Manning fanned the next three Cardinals to grab a bat. Nova got on the board in the third 1-0, pounding Cardinal starter Caralisa Connell for three hits, but Louisville rallied to tie it in the third when Hannah Kiyohara reached on an error and scored on a Katie Keller sacrifice fly. Freshmen stepping up big for the Cards... . . Nova took the lead for good in the fourth inning with a walk and single. They added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Louisville could not rally in the bottom of the seventh. . . The Cards watched Nova take an early lead in the second game 1-0 in the first inning but Louisville tied it up in the third behind the freshmen again. Kiyohara singled and scored on a Keller double. The Wildcats regained the lead 3-1 in the top of the fourth, thanks to a two run homer off of Connell by Kristi Burlin. . Louisville roared back in the bottom of the fourth with four runs, though. With two outs, Kristin Austin singled, advanced on Maggie Ruckenbrod's single and Esteban singled to fill the bases. A walk to Keller sent Austin to the plate and all three remaining base runners scored when Alicja Wolny pounded a deep double to right field. Connell held the Wildcats scoreless the rest of the way. . . Connell pitched all 14 innings for Louisville yesterday, no word on why Tori Collins never toed the mound. The teams play the rubber match today at 1 p.m. . We're not sure what got into the formatting for today's articles and we're sorry that it's tough to read with everything piled up on top of each other. WE suspect those darn chimps...WE always do... .. ..

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lady Cards rally falls short. Gonzaga wins 76-69


-Hines 17 points not enough for Cards.
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-Reid's injury key blow to Louisville
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Louisville rallied from a 20 point deficit at 51-31 to cut the Gonzaga lead to 65-62 late in the game but key free throws down the stretch led Gonzaga to the win. Louisville 31-14 run had the Zags nervous...but they held on and advance to the Great Eight. Free throws were decidedly in the Bulldogs
favor...hitting 24-28. Louisville had only 5 for 9 shooting attempts from the charity stripe.
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It was a first half to forget for Jeff Walz troops, especially after leading Cardinal scorer Monique Reid limped off the court two minutes into the game with a strained groin. The Cards got a strong first half effort from Asia Taylor, but trailed by 11 at the half 35-24. Too many times the Cards rushed into bad shots and then failed to set up defensively effectively.
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Shoni Schimmel had 18 for Louisville...after a first half of just two points. Tia Gibbs finished with 16 and Asia Taylor recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
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Louisville simply could not get any first half production from Shoni, though, in the first half. The freshman went 1-13 from the field in the first twenty minutes. The Cards played in a constant defensive transition mode, often getting beat by Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot, who had 16 of her 21 points in the fist half.
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As bad as the Cards played in the first twenty minutes, they started out worse in the second half. Shots still weren't falling for Louisville or Schimmel and Walz tried several different combinations, including Shelby Harper at point guard for a stretch, to inject some life into the listless Cardinals. The run finally did come for Louisville...and it was a brilliant exhibition of defense and Schimmel finally finding the mark from the field. If her one on three fast break score, including a behind the back dribble in traffic down the lane doesn't make the top 10 Sportscenter highlights...then the producers at ESPN need to step down.
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At times, though, the Cards were unable to slow down the efforts of Vandersloot...who showed why she was the WCC Player of the Year and a definite candidate for the Naismeth Award. Tough defense and closing the passing lanes finally slowed her down in the final stanza..but others took over for her to keep the Zags from folding completely.
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Keisha Hines went to war against the smaller Gonzaga players in the second half and Asia Taylor had success in the paint as well..but, in the end...the hole Louisville dug for themselves was too deep to get out of...despite a strong and impressive run to get within striking distance.
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Losing Monique Reid, the Cards leading scorer, two minutes into the game obviously didn't help the Cardinals chances against Gonzaga. Although she did return to the floor in the second half and played three minutes, she couldn't go on the groin strain and had to return to the Cardinal bench. Her injury was quite evident as Louisville played on without her...needing assistance from teammates to get out of her chair and join team huddles during timeout. Reid might have made a big difference for Louisville, especially in the first half when nothing seemed to drop for the Cards...but we'll never know...Keisha Hines took the inside battle as far as she could but the patented plays of Schimmel lobs to Reid for inside scores tonight never got a chance to materialize.
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All in all, a great and thrilling season for Louisville. A team that matured and made great strides as the season progressed. The play of daring Schimmel all season long and the development of fellow freshmen Charmaine Tay and Sherrone Vails down the stretch assures Louisville will have continued great seasons for the next several years. If Antonita Slaughter can show sophomore improvement, the sky is the limit for this team. With only Hines graduating among the players who played a key role for the Cards...and the return of Reid, Becky Burke, Asia Taylor..Louisville will have a solid nucleus of proven and veteran players. Add Sara Hammond, Quaneisha McCurty, Cierra Warren coming off her red shirt year and Shawnta Dyer returning from injury and the inside factor for the Lady Cards will be a major force to be reckoned with. We also expect there still may be a surprise or two left in store for the Cardinal roster of 2011-12.
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Tonight, though...it was a case of too little, too late for a Lady Cards team that missed the presence of their leading scorer. We have to question the fairness of letting a #11 seed play all their tournament games in their home gym and home city...but give Gonzaga credit for knocking off better seeded opponents on their improbable and highly unimaginable march to try and get to Indy. They scored the most points tonight...and as Jeff Walz will tell you...that's what wins games. The pain and sadness of losing this one tonight will soon pass for the Cardinal players and fans. The bright future and good days ahead for the future of Cardinal basketball are worth waiting for...
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Louisville looks to enter Elite Eight tonight



GOOD SATURDAY MORNING (yawn...) FROM YOUR FRIENDS at CARDINAL COUPLE. It goes down tonight...Louisville one of sixteen teams still alive. ESPN will show the four games tonight and you can also follow Louisville's game against Gonzaga on 790 WKRD.









-LADY CARDS face Gonzaga tonight at 9 p.m.


-Louisville softball vs. Villanova this weekend


-McCarty leads throwers in Alabama.


-The Sideline Announcers final four...


-Staff picks for the Sweet Sixteen


-Sara Hammond named Miss Basketball.

The University of Louisville women's basketball team will attempt to reach the Elite Eight in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament tonight in Spokane, Washington when they tip it up against the Gonzaga Bulldogs at 9 p.m. Louisville, a i#7 seed and #11 seeded Gonzaga are the two highest seeds left in the Sweet Sixteen participants. Shoni Schimmel, pictured above, is back in the Northwest and has probably had a few moments like above with her sister Jude and family.
She is pictured here with her cousin Sam McCloud above.


Courtney Vandersloot (right) and her Bulldog teammates look to be the "Cinderella" in the Elite Eight. Gonzaga looks to be the first #11 seed to advance to the Great Eight in tournament history.

The sixteen teams still dancing are as follows:

#1 seed in the Philly Regional...Connecticut...will play #5 seed Georgetown Sunday night

#2 seed in Philly is the Duke Blue Devils. They get #3 seed DePaul.

#1 seed in the Dayton Regional is the Tennessee Volunteers. They go against #4 seed Ohio State.
#2 seed in Dayton belongs to Notre Dame. They'll try to advance against #6 seed Oklahoma.

#1 seed in Spokane is the Stanford Cardinal. They'll battle #5 seed North Carolina tonight

#7 seed Louisville in the Spokane regional gets the #11 seed Gonzaga after UNC v. Trees ends.

#1 seed in Dallas is the Baylor Bears. They'll try to dispatch of #5 seed Green Bay on Sunday.

#2 seed Texas A&M is the #2 seed in Dallas. They'll battle #6 seed Georgia Sunday.

When you break it down...the BIG EAST has 5 of the 16 remaining. (Louisville, Connecticut, Georgetown, Notre Dame and DePaul). The Big 12 with three teams left. (Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas A&M). The SEC has two still dancing (Tennessee and Georgia). So does the ACC (Duke and North Carolina). Green Bay is in the Horizon League. Ohio State plays in the Big 10. Gonzaga is a WCC member and Stanford is from the PAC 10.

Louisville will play in front of a sold out arena in Spokane against the Zags. WE'LL have full coverage of the results after the game here at CARDINAL COUPLE. Here's how the staff here at CARDINAL COUPLE sees it going down:

-Sonya Says:

The matchup here will be Vandersloot against Schimmel. Both are tireless workers who can create with or without the ball and can shoot the net off the rim when hot. Both have an accompanying cast to go with them as well. I think Louisville's is a little deeper in Monique Reid, who just might be more dangerous than Schimmel and Vandersloot on the court. Tia Gibbs has been playing with a purpose all season and Keisha Hines has picked up her game dramatically since mid-season. Add the hard driving freshman Charmaine Tay and the long range abilities of Becky Burke to the above and you've got a recipe for success. I'm going with Louisville here...let's say 81-72.

-Paul Predicts:


There's an old horse players axiom that states "class tells, competition sells." and you can apply it to tonight's game. Louisville has banged heads with members of the best conference in the nation for half the season. They've got three key players who went to the FINAL FOUR and championship game two years ago. Their road to Spokane went thru a under ranked Vandy team and Xavier at Xavier. Gonzaga played in their gym, dispatching Iowa and UCLA.


Excuse me if I'm not impressed with Gonzaga's path to the Sweet Sixteen or their league and competitiveness, but I am not... and I go with Louisville as the winner. By 17...85-68.



-David Watson writes:


If Louisville can stay out of serious foul trouble, rebound with the ferociousness of the past two games and stay hot from beyond the arc, they'll conquer and advance tonight. It may not be easy, won't be pretty at times, but these Main Street maulers, YUM Center sprinters, LADY CARDS who play hard will win this shootout on the banks of the Spokane River. Make it Louisville 89 - Gonzaga 86.

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Sonja, Paul and David's other seven picks in the Sweet Sixteen are at the end of today's column.


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Louisville softball faces Villanova today in BIG EAST action at Ulmer Stadium with a doubleheader against the Wildcats...beginning at noon. Nova comes to town with a 8-14 record and a win last time out against St. Joseph's 1-0. The Cards come off a 6-0 whitewash of UK. The admission is free, the concession stand is outside the stadium and has coffee and hot chocolate. GO LADY CARDS softball. We'll recap the action in Sunday's CARDINAL COUPLE. We might even drop in to watch bat meet ball...


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D'Ana McCarty took first place honors in the hammer throw in the Alabama Relays Friday evening in Tuscaloosa, AL. Her toss of 57.59m was a full meter better than the competitions. Three other Cardinals competed in the event...Patrice Gates finished fifth, Hannah Baker eighth and Amasji Kendall 11th. The Cards will also take part in the discus throw today down in "Sweet Home Alabama".


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Congratulations to the Final Four sideline announcers contestants! Andrea Kramer won easily against Eamon McAnanly yesterday to join Erin Andrews, Allison Williams and Pam Oliver in the semifinals. The survivors will get a few days off before competition resumes next Friday.


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Congratulations to Rockcastle County senior and UofL future Lady Card Sara Hammond for her selection as Miss Basketball in Kentucky. Hammond led the Rockets to the state title and will be a talented addition to the 2011-12 Lady Cards. The Rockets lost but one game all season and Hammond's ability to play multiple positions will serve the Cards well over the next four years.

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Here are the staff picks for the other seven Sweet Sixteen matchups:

1) UConn v. Georgetown. Paul, Sonja and David all pick UConn. (Duh...)

2) DePaul v. Duke. Sonja goes with the Dookies. Paul and David chose DePaul

3) Tenn. v. Ohio State. Sonja and David are selecting Tennessee. Paul likes Ohio State.

4) Notre Dame v. Oklahoma. All three picks go to Notre Dame.

5) Stanford v. North Carolina. Sonja and Paul have Stanford. David chose North Carolina

6) Baylor v. Green Bay. Baylor gets all three staff members' check marks.

7) Texas A&M v. Georgia. Sonja and Paul side with Texas A&M. David has Georgia on his mind.

PLAY BALL!!
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Lacrosse loses to Stanford, Zags prepare for Cards




FRIDAY at C.C.


-Louisville lacrosse loses for the first time.
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-Watson looks at the Saturday night game..
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-Courtney comments..we evaluate...
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-IS the Bria Smith Derby open again?
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-Sideline Announcers Contest rolls on
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Liz Lovejoy (pictured here) and the University of Louisville lacrosse team lost their first match of the season to Stanford University 16-12 at Louisville Lacrosse Stadium Thursday. On a cold, cloudy and raw day for the 400 or so fans and players...the Cards (6-1) took an early lead when Bergan Foley scored and held a 3-2 advantage after another Foley goal before Stanford's Leslie Foard and Sarah Flynn scored back to back to give the Trees a 4-3 lead...a lead they wouldn't lose.
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The Cards got balanced scoring against the Stanford squad but could not put one in the net in the final five minutes of the game after rallying to cut the Stanford lead to four. Besides Foley's four goals, Emily Dashiell had two, as did Lianne Bobal. Four other Cards had one each.
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Louisville begins BIG EAST play Sunday when The UC Bearcats motor down I-71 for a afternoon match. It's about time. I've driven back and forth to Cincinnati way too much over the last few days. Let them wait out the highway construction in Northern Kentucky....both ways.
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(Jeff Walz rocks the black sweater vest in Cincy.)

DAVID WATSON has already got his Christmas list ready for Santa. He's sending it to the NCAA Committee first, though. Our special contributor pleads:
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Dear Santa and the NCAA Women's Basketball Selection Committee:
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Even though I know that you two are at the opposite ends of the scale in granting favors and requests, I'm going out on a limb here and shooting a desperation three. Could you please be nicer to the University of Louisville women's basketball team? We call them the Lady Cards down here and they've been treated as bad as Shirley Temple in some of those 1930 classic flicks. I'm sure Jeff Walz or Tom Jurich, maybe Kenny Klein or whoever you want, would be willing to meet that handsomely dressed man down at the crossroads and sell their soul for a freaking break in tournament seeding and assignment. We know that you've already got the contract of Gonzaga in your pocket. How else do you explain an #11 seed getting four home games as a expressway to the Final Four?
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I'm sure you remember a few years ago when Coach Walz came to Louisville. You rewarded his fine first year coaching job with a post season trip to Bridgeport, CT. When he fooled you and won both games there, you sent him to New Orleans..where the Cajun food and Tar Heels finally caught up with him and sent him home. Two years ago, the folks down in Bowling Green, KY had a nice gym all ready for Louisville to open the NCAA Tournament in. You sent Louisville to Baton Rouge instead, hoping Walz would get indigestion again. Instead, he won both games there, including one in LSU's backyard and then took off to Tobacco Road, even though he doesn't smoke, and flattened the Terrapins and scared the Bears. Last year, the Cards watched the NCAA Selection Show from the campus infirmary since everyone on the Cardinal squad except Louie the Cardinal Bird mascot was either injured or ill.
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So this is how your reward the resurgence of Lady Cards hoops in 2010-11? By making them play the underranked #10 Vandy and then #2 seed Xavier on their home court? No matter, they were disposed of. And next, Gonzaga in Spokane? How about sending Louisville to play Lunar University on the Moon next year? Or Moscow College in Russia?
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Please, please be kinder to my favorite women's basketball team next year. Tia Gibbs promises to not raise her elbows above her waist. Monique Reid promises not to set anymore picks ever again. Shoni Schimmel will even call her shots 15 seconds in advance and attempt them with one hand tied behind her back (or your back if you want).
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Just give the Cards a break next year after they defeat Gonzaga and Stanford in the West Coast classic....ooopppss...Spokane Regional this year. By the way, I've been a very good boy so far this year and that silly little incident with the neighbor and the alleged assault with the snow blower...fagettaboutit. Please.
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Sincerely,
Your little friend David Watson

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DAVID WATSON has also set traps to catch the Easter Bunny and goes around smashing pumpkins on Halloween. From his Volvo. While listening to Peter, Paul and Mary. We worry and wonder about the lad sometimes.
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We're pretty sure the Zags expected to play Xavier for the third straight year in the NCAA Tournament. Got the feeling that UCLA expected to be facing the twin towers from the Cintas Center as well...but it is what it is. The Cardinals from Louisville are making that trip westbound on I-90 and bringing lots of "red from the rez" in Oregon to watch. This hasn't gone un-noticed by Gonzaga superstar Courtney Vandersloot. She commented recently to Dave Trimmer of The Spokesman-Review:
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"We had the mentality we were going to play Xavier because that's who was expected to win. Louisville beat a very good team and they deserved to win that game. They have some gamers on their team."
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Eloquently stated, Ms. Vandersloot. Besides gamers, they also have a precocious, freshman guard that played in your vicinity for four years and was the talk of the Northwest. They also bring 3 players from a team that played in the FINAL FOUR two years ago. If I were you, I'd be camping out in front of the DVR , VCR, YouTube or wherever and doing a little research. Otherwise, you just might "get Schimmeled." Easier time against the Cardinals than against the Musketeers? I hope the Zags are thinking that. This isn't an automatic berth in the "Great Eight" for Gonzaga. Beware a team that survived the nightly wars against the likes of Maya Moore, Sugar Rodgers, Liz Repella, Angel Robinson, Keisha Hampton and Skylar Diggins with a 10-6 conference record. Lace 'em up and game on...
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WE got an e-mail about the Bria Smith situation yesterday. Both the e-mailer and WE thought it might make a nice filler while we wait for Saturday....so....here we go. When Virginia WBB head coach Debbie Ryan stepped down at the end of the season, it paved the way for Bria Smith to ask for and receive her release from her commitment to play for the Cavaliers. The Smith Derby is open again and Louisville has a horse entered. According to most in the know, it came down to Georgia, Louisville and Virginal as Smith's final three. No doubt that Jeff Walz would welcome the talented New York senior guard to his stable of fillies. The question is, is there room in the barn? Only two Cardinals turn in their silks at the end of this season...hard knocking Keisha Hines and seldom used, often injured reserve guard LaToya Johnson. Walz has 6'5" center Quaneisha McCurty and 6'2" powerhouse Sara Hammond already headed to the paddock and a very probable third gamer (who we are sworn to secrecy on). So, where do the extra one or two schollys come from?
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Keep in mind that Walz had had multiple transfers out of the program each year since he became head coach at Louisville. WE speculated several weeks ago that if that situation happens again at the end of this year...possible candidates for departure would be Rachel Story, Polly Harrington and Charmaine Tay. With Tay being "reborn" lately and out of the Walz doghouse..we're scratching her from that list. Obviously, nothing is set in stone and there is absolutely no facts or data to support our conspiracy theories. Smith would give Louisville incredible depth at the guard or wing positions and is a bonafide top ten senior. Stay tuned...
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Pam Oliver made a last minute charge to advance in the Sideline Reporters Bracket challenge and advances to the FINAL FOUR. We didn't see this one coming, Oliver was trailing Alex Flanagan when we signed off last night to watch men's NCAA hoops, but late voting got Oliver the win. We suspect that David Watson has something to do with it, but we can't prove it. Today's match up, the final one of the "Great Eight" has Eamon McAnaney taking on Andrea Kramer. We're seeing a blow out here and Kramer advancing with ease. Quite frankly, we're not sure how Eamon made it to the Great Eight...a voting shocker. Paul, Sonja and David are all casting lots with Andrea. So are Tony Soprano, Syl, Paulie, Big Pussy and Chris from our New Jersey affiliates office. We have no idea who Bill the Goat likes here...we got a text message from him late last night that he had met two dancers from The Rockettes while in the Smoky Mountains and had convinced them to drive him to Spokane for the basketball games Saturday. Hmmmm. You can choose
your reporter here in the comments section or e-mail it to cardinalcouple@insightbb.com .
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Choose wisely.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

University of Louisville women's basketball team leaves for Spokane




CARDS HEAD TO REGIONALS

-Lady Cards leave for Spokane Regional


-An introductory look at who'll they'll face there...the Gonzaga Bulldogs


Monique Reid waves goodbye to Lady Card basketball supporters as the Cards get on the bus to go to the airport and fly to Spokane (Photo by Pam Spaulding/Courier-Journal)

A small but enthused crowd gathered at the University of Louisville Student Activities Center Thursday morning to send off the Lady Cards women's basketball team...as they travel to Spokane, Washington for a 9 p.m. match-up against Gonzaga University in the 1st round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Regionals at Spokane, or the "Sweet Sixteen" as it's referred to.
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Let's hope Coach Walz packed the black, "Jim Tressel" sweater vest. Brought wins in Cincy. Can't buck the trend now...
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The other participants in Spokane will be #1 seeded Stanford and #5 seed North Carolina..who will face each other in the other Saturday night game at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Contrary to popular belief, the facility is not located on the Gonzaga campus...although Gonzaga did host and play their first two games at their facility on campus...the McCarthy Athletic Center. WE see it as a similar situation to that at the University of Connecticut...where the Huskies play games in their on campus, Gampel Pavillion in Storrs, and also in the XL Center in Hartford. .

The Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena holds 12,500 and is located on the north bank of the Spokane River near downtown Spokane. Both Washington State and Gonzaga University men's and women's basketball team have played there at times over the years and the arena is a short ten minute walk from downtown Spokane. .

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Tickets for these upcoming regional match ups are probably harder to find that the "weapons of mass destruction" that George W. Bush kept looking for during his presidency. With hometown team Gonzaga in the games and the fanatical fan base of the Stanford women's basketball team only a two hour flight (or 750) miles away...the seats went quickly. Nevertheless, fans of Shoni Schimmel and the University of Louisville women's basketball team...especially those from the Umatilla Reservation and other surrounding Confederation tribes... are bound and determined to go and see "the Show" and her teammates in action. Don't be shocked or surprised if a lot of them get in the arena. Louisville will welcome the "rez dressed in red" for their fan support and if they can be half as crazy and loud as the Lady Cards fans who invaded Xavier and the Cintas Center...any Gonzaga "almost home court" advantage will be neutralized.
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Unfortunately, CARDINAL COUPLE finally came to the determination today that we won't be going to watch the Lady Cards participate in the regional. What looked like a great chance of at least one of us going to the game ultimately fell apart. WE WILL provide full coverage of the events and activities there...and comprehensive coverage of the game for you, the CARDINAL COUPLE reader. We encourage those of you who are able to make the trek to e-mail us at cardinalcouple@insightbb.com with reports, observations and comments.

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WE'LL start our coverage out with a look at Louisville's first opponent... the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Gonzaga plays in the West Coast Conference and is coached by Kelly Graves...who is in his 11th. year there. The "Zags" went 28-4 this season before NCAA Tournament play...losing only at U.S.C., at home to Stanford, and on neutral courts to Mississippi and Notre Dame. They were perfect in conference and entered the NCAA Tournament as a #11 seed....facing the Iowa Hawkeyes in the first round on the Gonzaga campus. They dispatched of the Hawkeyes 92-86 and went against UCLA in the second round.
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The Bruins fell to the Bulldogs also...89-75...as Gonzaga senior guard Courtney Vandersloot (pictured left) became the first player in Division I (men or women's) basketball to reach the 2,000 point and 1,000 assist plateau. She put up 29 points and dished out 17 assists against UCLA. The Bruins led by as many as seven in the first half but a Vandersloot 9-0 run against the Westwood girls early in the second half gave the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way.
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Where UCLA made their mistake was trying to run with the Bulldogs for forty minutes. It is a style of hoops the the Zags are quite comfortable with...having scored over 100 points seven times during the season and between 90-100 in eight games. In the Zags losses this season...Notre Dame limited them to 61, Mississippi held them to 52, Southern Cal to 73 and Stanford to 78...so pressure defense and a patient, ball control offense might be the ticket to success against them. WE'RE not coaching the Cards...but putting a Tia Gibbs or Asia Taylor, two of the best Cardinals defensively, on the 5'8" Vandersloot might just slow the train from getting down the tracks...full court presses after made UofL baskets might just be effective, too. The Cards can be deadly in their zone presses and traps and it wouldn't surprise US to see Walz employ the tactic.
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Gonzaga played in the W.C.C. and the level of competition there isn't at the level of what the Cards faced in the BIG EAST. The Portland's, Pepperdines, Santa Clara's and San Francisco's all have tough and challenging women's basketball programs...we have no doubt...but when you go up against the likes of UConn, DePaul, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Georgetown night in and night out...you're definitely prepared for what the rest of the women's college basketball nation can throw at you.
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Besides Vandersloot, who averages 18.6 p.p.g. and 10.2 assists...the Bulldogs look to Katelan Redmon, a 6'1" junior wing from Spokane who gave the Bulldogs 17.3 p.p.g. and 6.2 rebounds per contest. Jazmine Redmon (no relation to Katelan), a 5'9" freshman guard also is an essential Zags player. Kayla Standish, a 6'2" post from Ellensburg, WA. leads the Bulldogs on boards with 8.7 a game and averages 16.6 ppg. The Zags have eight players from the state of Washington on their roster...forward Kelly Bowen hails from Victoria, Austrailia and guard Tatriana Lorenzo played high school ball in Wahiawa, Hawaii.
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WE'LL look further at the match-up in the Friday edition of CARDINAL COUPLE. Our CARDINAL COUPLE Special Correspondent DAVID WATSON will also comment on the Zags...or the "white, Washington Catholic girls "..as he calls them. Should be interesting.
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Catching up with...

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THIRSTY THURSDAY @ CARDINAL COUPLE



-Lacrosse Cardinals face Stanford Cardinal.


-Volleyball will play in Great Lakes College Challenge.


-Women's Tennis to face Austin Peay and Marquette.


-Rowing wins BIG EAST Boat of the Week
-Sideline announcers challenge continues
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Time to play a little catch up here at CARDINAL COUPLE..
as we update something else besides Lady Cards hoops and softball.

Louisville Lacrosse faces undefeated #7 Stanford this afternoon at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium. This battle of the undefeated comes after Stanford slammed Cincinnati Tuesday 20-8 on the Bearcats turf. Louisville gulped down Manhattan 20-2 at the L.L.S. last time out. For the Cards to defeat the Trees, they'll need a big effort out of top scorer Bergan Foley and her goal producing teammate Liz Lovejoy. Louisville is second in the nation in scoring offense and Stanford seventh. The Cards, under freshmen goalie and BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week Emily Dashiell, are fifth nationally in scoring defense and Stanford is 24th. It'll be the toughest test of the season for the Louisville squad and Louisville will need to pay close attention to the Stanford attack of Sarah Flynn, Lauren Schmidt and Leslie Foard.


Game time is 5 p.m. It's also Kidszone Day at the L.L.S. and Astro Events will have events, including a giant slide set up. Admission is free to UofL Lacrosse events. Lacrosse is a fast paced, high scoring and exciting sport. WE like to call it field hockey on steroids, If you haven't caught a match yet, you owe it to yourself to get out there. Who knows, you might even see Paul out there with the staff chimps wailing on the giant, inflatable Steve Kragthorpe punching bag...


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Louisville women's tennis is 9-6 on the season and faces two foes this weekend in the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center. Austin Peay comes in Friday and BIG EAST Conference foes invades Saturday. Louisville defeated Loyola Marymount 5-2 last time out in Los Angeles.


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Louisville Volleyball will be playing in the Great Lakes College Challenge beginning March 26th in Chicago. The Cards will be in a field with Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Marquette, Western Michigan, Toledo and Valparaiso. New Volleyball head coach Anne Kordes will face Wisconsin in the first match. This will be Kordes' first match as Cardinal head coach.


The Cards return most of last year's BIG EAST Tournament Championship team...losing only Amanda Simmons and Lindsey Mango to graduation.
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Louisville Rowing's Varsity Eight was selected BIG EAST Boat of the Week as the Cards defeated Kansas State and #10 Wisconsin last week in the Longhorn Invitational. Louisville went 2-2 in the events, losing to Texas and Oklahoma. The Cards travel to Knoxville next to compete against Dartmouth and Tennessee on March 26th. Varsity Eight consists of Ali Wood, Anastasia Prokopenko, Morgan Dunham, Kayla Monchenko, Kristin Falovo, Lauren Mensch, Cara Littleton, Samantha Kayser and Erin Bennett. Congratulations to the girls who make it happen down by the Ohio River!


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Allison Williams snuck by Tony Siragusa in the sideline reporters challenge brackets. She advances to take on Erin Andrews in the Final Four. Today's match-up pits Alex Flanagan (left)vs. Pam Oliver. Paul and David Watson are going with the popular Oliver...a sideline fixture for NFL Contests, Sonja sides with the willowy Flanagan. Bill the Goat was unavailable for voting...he's on a UPS truck or plane currently en route to Spokane for the Lady Cards basketball team regional matchup against Gonzaga. Hopefully, some of the reservation folks in the area will pick him up at the McDonalds we've sent him to and adopt him as a mascot. Would hate to think that the burgermeisters would put him to work in the drive-thru, or worse...stick him on the back line and have him flip burgers. WE saw Lady Cards impresario and fan in the stands reporter J-Bone at the softball game yesterday (by the way, he does an excellent job on the P.A. mic announcing Lady Cards softball) and gave him 'up front' money to keep an eye open for Bill in Spokane. Just don't feed him, J...it'll cost you plenty. And don't let him get near the court...Bill likes to lead the fast break... with disasterous results.
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You can vote for either Pammie or Alex in the comments section here (although no one ever does) or e-mail your pick to cardinalcouple@insightbb.com (which a lot of you do...while making comments ).
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cards and Cats Softball





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Follow us live!
as Louisville and Kentucky play in the Battle of the Bluegrass softball tilt!
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CARDS BLANK CATS 6-0 BEHIND COLLINS FIVE HIT MOUND PERFORMANCE
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Bright skies and a stiff wind blowing out of Ulmer Stadium greeted the teams as pre-game introductions at 5:50 p.m. Jerry Newby, pictured here, did a bang-up job on the National Anthem (without Sonja beside him).
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Cardinal pitcher Tori Collins (pictured right) sent UK to the dugout in the top of the first in order...fanning Megan Yocke and Kara Dill and getting Meagan Aull on a long fly to right-center that speedy center fielder Kristin Austin ran down. A near capacity Ulmer Stadium crowd greeted the Cards to bat in the bottom of the first.
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UK pitcher Chanda Bell got Katie Keller to pop out to the catcher and Jennifer Esteban popped out to first to begin the inning and Bell got Chelsea Bemis on a called third strike to end the Cardinals' bottom of the first.
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UK's Brittany Cervantes started the top of the second looking at a called third strike. Rachel Riley waited Collins out to draw a walk and Ginny Carroll came in to run for her. Alice O'Brien went down swinging for the second Wildcat out but Samantha DeMartine got hit by Collins pitch. The Cards trapped Carroll on a pick-off play, though, at second to end the top of the second.
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Colby Wherry grounded out to short to begin the Cardinal second but Alicja Wolny smacked a homer over the right field fence to put the Cards up 1-0. Taner Fowler sent a long fly to left for the second out and Kristin Austin grounded out to Bell at the mound to finish the bottom of the second
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UK menaced in the top of the third when Emily Jolly banged a deep fly to left center...but Austin once again flew to the ball and hauled it down for the catch. Annie Rowlands sent a shot off the glove of the Cards Keller for a single next. Yocke found the gap next between short and third for the second UK hit of the inning. Dill's fielder's choice advanced the runners but Aull ended the inning with a sharp ground out to Cardinal first baseman Wolny.
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Maggie Ruckenbrod began the bottom of the third for Louisville by drawing a walk and Hannah Kiyohara send her to second with a blooper single to short left field. Chelsea Jordan came in to pinch run for Ruckenbrod. The runners advanced when Bell was charged with a wild pitch. Jordan scored UofL's second run on a sacrifice fly by Esteban but Bemis ended any other Cardinal chances for scoring with a long foul out to right field.
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As the shadows started to set over the 3rd base line at Ulmer, the Cats' Cervantes began the top of the fourth with a similiar deep fly...foul down the right field line that Kiyohara tracked down for out one. Riley walked on a full count next and UK sent pinch hitter Lauren Cumbess up but she returned to the dugout after striking out. So did DeMartine and Collins got out of the inning unscathed.
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Alicja Wolny began the bottom of the fourth with a walk and advanced on Fowler's sacrifice bunt. The Cards could not advance the runner, though, and it was still 2-0 after four innings.
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Collins began the top of the fifth by fanning Jolly and Rowlands. Yocke flied out to left to end the inning.
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UK's Bell got rocked by a Ruckenbrod double to start the bottom of the fifth and after Kiyohara sacrifice bunted Ruckenbrod to second...Keller flied out to deep left. Esteban beat out a bunt to put runners on the corners. The stage was set for Bemis to perform but before she could... Ruckenbrod stole home to make it 3-0 on a double steal maneuver. Bemis reached safely on a mishandled throw on her grounder to score Esteban and increase the lead to 4-0. Wherry grounded out to end the inning.
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UK 's Dill grounded out to start the sixth. Aull popped a blooper over Wherry's head to reach safely for UK's third hit of the game. Next, Cervantes advanced Aull and reached on a bunt. Riley flied out to deep center and Austin came up with a running catch, turned and threw the ball to second for a double play...getting out Aull who took off around the bases...thinking it was a hit.
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Ellen Weaver came in to pitch for UK to start the bottom of the sixth. Alicja Wolny greeted her with a single up the middle. Katelyn Mann came in to run for Wolny as Fowler batted next and reached on a sharp single to right. Tesha Paysen came in to run for Fowler and Austin, batting next, beat out an infield single to fill the bases with Cardinals. Ruckenbrod's single plated Mann and the Cards led 5-0. Kiyohara's sacrifice fly sent home Paysen and increased the Cardinal lead to 6-0. Austin was tagged out at home on a failed Keller bunt attempt for the second out of the inning. Weaver finally got out of the inning when Esteban struck out with runners on the corners.
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Collins got Cumbess to pop up to begin the top of the seventh. Macy Allen singled over a drawn in Louisville infield to keep the Cats chances alive...but was picked off at first for the second out. Weaver went to the plate to bat and struck out to end the game.
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Collins went the distance...allowing five hits and fanning nine in the win for Louisville. WE caught up with her after the game:
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CARDINAL COUPLE: Tell us about the win tonight.
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COLLINS: My defense is incredible and Kristin Austin had an incredible game. I've just been working really hard and staying focused, trying to win each pitch and putting my focus on attacking each batter. Doing what I'm supposed to do.
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CARDINAL COUPLE: Villanova comes to town this weekend to begin BIG EAST play. What are you looking for out of the 'Nova bats?
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COLLINS: Haven't even looked at them yet. We've been so focused on looking at the immediate game before us this season...so tomorrow I'll ...we'll...begin the focus on them.
We're ready for BIG EAST.We're ready to take down the competition. Some of the other teams in conference don't have it as hard as we do this year, so we're ready to attack it and show them what we're made of.
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CARDINAL COUPLE also saw Lady Cards hoopster Becky Burke and Shoni Schimmel at the softball game tonight. Both were mobbed by appreciative Cardinal fans and Schimmell chuckled when I told her we had renamed her "the Judge" here at CARDINAL COUPLE. Coach Pearsall was all smiles after the game and reminded me as I congratulated her on the win that the Cards were in action this weekend. We're going to try and get out there. A special thanks to Louisville assistant S.I.D. Lori Korte for the accomodations in the press box and the wireless hookup. Also got to sit with Courier-Journal writer J.J.Hysell...which made it a fun and enjoyable two hours.
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The Cards drew 908 fans to the game this evening, which featured free t-shirts to the first 300 through the gate. Looks like some of you folks are going to have to share...Nice black t-shirt that read...'Peace, love, softball.' Inppropriate for UK fans...however... because the Wildcats got no love tonight on the scoreboard and got no peace from the Cardinal bats or Collins' fastball...
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