-Louisville loses by 3 in overtime.
Erica Wheeler hits a desperation 3 with the shot clock running out in overtime to give the Scarlet Knights a 70-68 lead with 1:13 left to give Rutgers a lead they would not relinquish. Louisville could not score on their final possession, Bria Smith missing a driving layup, Shawnta Dyer rebounding the miss but is stripped by Khadija Rushdan, who is then fouled by Becky Burke. Rushdan hits a free throw for the final margin with 1.3 left. Louisville could not get a shot off on the inbounds play.
The action was fast and furious from the opening tip. Burke nailed a three to give Louisville the early lead but five straight Rutgers points gave them the lead. A Sherrone Vails layup tied it at 5-5 but the Scarlet Knights responded with 5 straight again to lead 10-5 with 15:45 left. Louisville rallied back with Shawnta Dyer inside and regained the lead 15-14 in Shoni Schimmel's only basket of the first half. The Cards would stretch that out to 23-17 after two more Dyer baskets, A Cierra Warren layup and score from Vails inside.
The 2-3 Louisville zone was confusing the Scarlet Knights but they went on another 5-0 run to tie it on a Wheeler 3 - her second of six in the game. The final 2:23 of the first half belonged to the Lady Cards, though...Warren with a put back, and then a layup on a Shoni feed. Becky Burke's three had UofL up 30-23 and two Shelby Harper free throws made it the Lady Cards by nine. Cierra Warren missed the first of a 1 and 1 with .02 left in the half...but the Cards took a 32-23 lead into the locker room.
Dyer led Louisville with 10 points, Warren and Burke had six each, Vails 4, Smith, Shoni and Shelby (the "S" squad...) 2 each. Sara Hammond played in the first half but did not score. Jude Schimmel, Nita Slaughter and Asia Taylor did not see action in the first twenty minutes. Rutgers was led by Monique Oliver's 10 points.
Louisville pushed the lead to 11 when Warren hit the opening bucket of the second half an held a 41-28 advantage with 16:30 left in the game when Burke hit three free throws after being fouled on a three point attempt. Rutgers responded with a full court press, though and it seemed to rattle the Cards. The Scarlet Knights took off on a 11-2 run to close within 43-39 after a April Sykes jumper with 11:52 to go.
A technical foul was called on Rutgers' Monique Oliver for taunting at the 10:36 mark and Shoni hit 1 of 2 free throws...but Rutgers took off on a 11-4 run to grab the lead at 50-48 when Sykes hit two free throws with 6:41 to go. Louisville tied it on two Smith free throws and the game went back and forth in lead changes for the next four minutes...Sykes canning a three to put Rutgers up 58-56 with 2:53 remaining. Smith tied it with two more charity tosses at the 1:58 mark, after a Scarlet Knight free throw following Vails fifth foul. Two more free throws from Smith gave Louisville a 60-59 advantage with 29 seconds left. Wheeler tied it with 1 of 2 free throws and 16 seconds on the clock. A Shoni errant pass gave the ball back to Rutgers with 8.7 left but they could not score on two attempts and it was 60-60 at the end of regulation.
The Lady Cards drew first blood in overtime when Warren connected in the paint. After Oliver countered with a jumper, Warren put back a missed Cardinal shot and UofL led 64-62.
|Sykes was effective for the Scarlet|
Knights in the second half.
The Cards shot 43% for the game but went just 2-9 from three range, both hit by Burke. Rutgers shot 39%, hit a season high 9 of 17 three pointers (6 from Wheeler, 3 from Sykes) and outrebounded the Cards 40-33. Louisville did hit 20-22 free throws. They committed 18 turnovers. 21 points from the "killer B's" today (Burke and Bria) and Smith had the final four Cardinal points in regulation.
Dyer led Louisville in scoring with 16 points. Warren had 14, Burke 11, Vails 10, Smith 10 Shoni 5 and Harper 2. Hammond and Jude played but didn't score. Taylor and Slaughter did not see action. For Rutgers, Wheeler led all scorers with 23 points (17 in the second half), Sykes had 19 (17 in the second half) and Oliver finished with 17. Rushdan had nine for R.U.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT THE GAME:
-Big effort from the "bigs". 40 points from Vails, Dyer and Warren. Some excellent passing from Shoni and Smith to set them up, but a lot of hard work from the trio against the talented RU front line.
-Smith at the line. The freshman showed nerves of steel with 6-6 free throw shooting in the final 6:39...when Louisville needed her.
Her drives to the basket resulted in missed shots but free throw attemps...which she cashed in on.
THINGS TO WORK ON...
-Rebounding. Louisville was killed time and time again on Rutgers putbacks and Oliver and Sykes did most the damage. Rushdan was effective as well.
-Shoni shutdown. The Scarlet Knights kept Shoni from creating...just five points in 45 minutes. She did find others open and they benefited...but when was the last time she played a game without hitting a three and got shut out in the final 13 minutes of a game?
All in all, a heartbreaking loss that the Lady Cards suffer. A great effort by Rutgers in front of 5,500 fans to overcome the Louisville second half lead and win. A team that was second worst in the league in three point percentage gets hot today. Defense was the difference... and Rutgers played it better.