THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE:
-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.
WHAT WE LIKED:
-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!
THINGS TO WORK ON:
-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).