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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cards first half run enough to beat Providence 64-48


-Bria Smith's 12 points lead Cards past Friars

The Lady Cards used a 16-2 first half run to pull away from the Providence Friars and survived a rough spot to take the win in front of 7987 fans in the KFC YUM! Center Wednesday night.

Starters:  Vails, Warren, Shoni, Smith and Burke

Louisville was in a battle with Providence the first five minutes of this one...leading 7-6 after Lola Wells laid in a layup with 15:22 to go in the first half. At the 8:18 mark, the Cards enjoyed a 23-8 lead. Smith got the run started with a jumper in the paint. Sherrone Vails connected on a layup next and added a free throw to increase the margin to six. Shawnta Dyer scored in the paint to make it 14-6 with 13:19 left. After a Providence score, the Lady Cards took off again. Two Becky Burke free throws, two straight layups from Asia Taylor and a three from Burke had Louisville up 23-8 with eight minutes left in the first half.

Then...came the drought.

Providence responded with a 11-0 run over the next seven and a half minutes, aided by seven UofL turnovers, to close to 23-19 when Alicia Cropper hit a jumper with 1:34 remaining. Louisville needed to stem the tide and got the answer from Nita Slaughter...who canned a three with 37 second left in the half. The Cards took the 26-19 lead into the locker room at half.

Louisville shot a surprising 43.5% in the first twenty, despite the drought. Burke led Louisville with eight points...the Cards played everyone but Sara Hammond in the first half and held Providence leading scorer Teya Wright to zero points, on 0-2 shooting in 15 minutes.

Louisville saw their lead drop to five at 15:53 in the second stanza when Wright hit a free throw...completing the last of her three points for the contest. UofL responded with a 11-3 run, though...and led 41-28 after Dyer connected inside at the 13:19 mark.

Providence would hang in stubbornly for the next six minutes...trailing 52-43 with 7:01 to go...but the Cards sealed the deal with a game ending 12-5 run the rest of the way...leading 64-46 after a Taylor layup with 33 seconds left.

Besides Smith's 12, Burke hit double figures with 11 and Nita Slaughter showed up with 10 points in 18 minutes. Asia Taylor turned in a big effort for the Lady Cards with eight points on 4-6 shooting and 10 rebounds in 14 minutes.  

The Cards go to 15-4 with the win...and 4-2 in conference. Louisville ended up shooting 52.1% for the game and 6-15 from trifecta land.

Georgetown next on Sunday in DC.


-Hot shots....Louisville shot 52.1% for the game, despite taking 12 less shots than the Hoyas. All those who scored were 40% or better from the field except Shoni (2-8)

-Overcoming the 'stop Shoni syndrome'. The Friars employed a chaser and had Shoni bottled up most of the night. The Lady Cards responded well, though...finding the open player and getting balanced scoring. Shoni got five assists out of the deal, as well.

-Asia's influence. This may have been her best effort of the year. Two points away from a double-double with eight points, ten boards, two blocks and no fouls or turnovers in 14 minutes. Atta-girl #31! Keep those kind of efforts coming!


-Consistency. Ask Jeff Walz and he'll tell you the same. The 7 1/2 minute stretch with no points was tedious and, at times, downright embarrasing. Walz did seven substitutions in the abyss...finally Slaughter mailed a three in and the crisis was over.

-Charity tosses. Louisville is usually a 70% + FREE THROW shooting squad. Last night they were 8-13 (61.5%) No player atempted more than three. The "bigs" tried six, the rest seven. The rest win...making six of the seven.

Minutes played. Shoni 39, Burke 29, Smith 28, Vails 23, Slaughter 18, Dyer 18, Warren 17, Taylor 14, Jude 5, Hammond 5, Harper 4.

Cards won the points in paint battle 32-22. PC had 20 points off of 19 Louisville turnovers...Louisville 19 points off of 11 turnovers. The Lady Cards got nine second chance points, PC seven. PC had eight fast break points, Louisville six. Louisville got 25 bench points ( Slaughter 10, Taylor 8 and Dyer 7).



  1. Sara needs the opportunity to break out. She has all of the tools but without the opportunity to settle into a series she cannot enjoy any success. This opportunity was missd early in the year when players were removed upon what looked to be each "infraction". I am afraid that her confidence will be eroded which would be shameful as she appears to be a smart and eager to learn player. Hang in there Sara. Your time is comIng.

  2. Actually, Sara did get in the game, though for only 5 minutes. It was during the second half. During those 5 minutes she grabbed one rebound that showed up on the stat line. That being said, when she was in the game I focused all of my attention on her. She was doing some very good work during the offensive, half court set. She was setting some very strong screens, and was battling hard in the paint to get in position. Unfortunately, she was not rewarded with a pass inside, but she was doing some good stuff that does not show up in the stat line.
    At one point, she set a pick, and the defender bounced off of her like she had hit a brick wall, freeing up a 3 ball from either Becky or 'Nita.

    Much like Bria not having Tia on the court to learn from, Sara has not had Mo on the court to learn from. Mo has been our most consistent interior player, and not having that to learn from on the court during game time scenarios has to have added to the transition problems to the college game. Coach did let Sara play through rough spots early in the season, which on several occasions led to her fouling out. Unfortunately, the corner was not turned before Big East play started, and I am afraid her minutes will be further limited due to the stiffer competition.

    Sara has all the tools to be a fierce opponent in the Big East. Her time and game will come. Think back to Mo, who really only came in to her own as a steady, consistent player as a Junior. Sara's time will come, I just hope she is patient enough to wait it out.

    1. All of the above being said, I agree with others sentiments about logging more minutes in the game, whenever possible. Sara can't get better during game time, if she is not in getting some successes under her belt. It is a fine line to walk at this point in the season, I would imagine, as there are no more "cupcakes" on the schedule to allow for playing through mistakes.

  3. Don't think Sara is the kind of player who gives up. I kind of focused on her too while she was in the game, and I saw the same things Jenny did. She worked hard on offense posting up (actually screamed at them to give her the ball!) and made sure she put her body on someone on rebounds. Thought she gave it all for those 5 minutes. Think she has tremendous upside and will be a solid BE player. Not all freshmen come into Division 1 and impact immediately. As a fan, part of the fun is watching players develop over a 4 year career.
    Another game I saw marked improvement all around. Nita and Asia came into the game and provided a lot of energy and for once it seemed like the substitutions were seemless, everybody stayed on the same page for the most part. Shoni doesn't force like she used to, and the Cards are not relying on her when the shot clock is winding down as much. Other players are looking for their shots and taking (and making!) them. Saw a lot of nice blockouts and players going after loose balls, and liked the team defense. Think this will eventually be the Cards best attribute as a team, the way they can get after it on defense.
    GO CARDS!!!


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