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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Plouffe goes "poof"..Card guards provide proof...Louisville by 17

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WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

-Shoni, Bria, Becky bomb the Golden Eagles

The University of Louisville women's basketball team survived a shaky start and won in the KFC YUM! Center last night in front of 8203 fans. Four Lady Cards hit double figures in Louisville's 70-53 win, led by Shoni Schimmel with 17 and Bria Smith with 16.

STARTERS: Shoni Schimmel, Asia Taylor, Sherrone Vails, Bria Smith, Becky Burke.

This one didn't get off to a pretty start. Between Marquette's turnovers and Louisville's inability to score off them, the score was 7-7 with 11:40 remaining in the first half. Jeff Walz was looking for some scoring and consistency and he found it in his star sophomore guard Shoni Schimmel. Shoni created a steal from Marquette's Katherine Plouffe, scored and then hit again on a jumper a few seconds later to give the Cards a 11-7 advantage. A pair of Asia Taylor free throws bumped the advantage to 13-7. After Marquette cashed in on two Cristina Butler charity tosses, Jude took over...burying a three and then Shoni scored on a layup to give the Cards a 18-9 advantage with 7:29 left. 

Marquette, you just got Schimmeled....

Unfortunately, it didn't last. Marquette used a 12-2 run over the next five minutes to regain a 21-20 margin with 4:29 to go when Sarina Simmons connected with a jumper. Louisville turned to Becky Burke next and the senior responded with two trifectas and a layup to send the Lady Cards on a half-closing 9-2 romp to take a 30-23 lead into the locker room at the half.

For the Cards, it was guard play showing the way. Shoni, Becky, Bria and Jude had 25 of the Lady Cards points...Shoni with 10 and Becky with eight. Louisville was shooting a tepid 37.5% from the floor but had forced M.U. into 13 turnovers and Plouffe into three first half fouls and just two points.

The Cards started the second half slow...almost a tradition lately for them...and watched the seven point halftime lead evaporate to 32-30 when Marquette guard Gabi Minix nailed the first of her three-three pointers in the half with 18:04 remaining. Plouffe had a chance to tie it at the line after a Bria Smith foul but bricked both free throw attempts and the Lady Cards got a rare post player score when Cierra Warren banked in a layup. It started the Cards on a 7-0 run to make it 39-30 when Burke drained a three and Shawnta Dyer hit a contested layup with 16:27 left.  

Bria battled hard in the
second half
Marquette would get no closer than seven the rest of the way. A Bria Smith tip in gave Louisville a 44-33 lead with 15:25 left. The Cards got ten points from Smith in a four minute stretch and led 49-39 with 11:26 to go.

The Cardinal guards had 40 of the Cards points at this point and Marquette was struggling for answers. 

Louisville held a 61-51 lead with 3:41 left after a Simmons free throw and responded with a Smith jumper, two Asia Taylor free throws and Shoni scoring in the paint to give the Cards an insurmountable 67-51 advantage with 1:53 to go. A Shoni three closed out the Cardinal scoring with 27 seconds on the clock. Final 70 Louisville - 53 Marquette. CARDS WIN, CARDS WIN! 

It was a needed win against a respectable BIG EAST foe that saw Louisville actually out-rebound an opponent by four. Surprising, given Marquette's height and physicality...but blocking out worked for the Cards last night and coughing up the ball only 14 times didn't hurt either.

Joining Shoni and Bria in double figures were Becky with 13 points (3-6 from three range) and Cierra Warren with 10 (nine in the final 17 minutes). Asia Taylor added six points and six grabs, Jude Schimmel five and Shawnta Dyer three points and a team high seven rebounds. Vails did not score. Sara Hammond and Antonita Slaughter played a combined 13 minutes for no points. Shelby Harper was available for action but did not play. 

Louisville doubled the points in the paint production of Marquette, winning the battle 36-18. The Cards took the 2nd chance stat also 15-5. Points off turnovers went to Louisville also 19-10

Louisville shot 43.3% for the game on 26-60 shooting. Warren was the only player to foul out for either team...leaving the contest with 57 seconds to go. 

The Cards (13-2) go to New York next to face St. John's on Sunday. Marquette (9-6) welcomes Seton Hall Saturday.

WHAT WE LIKED:

-Schimmel squared...when the two were in the game during the first half together they combined for seven straight points in a four minute stretch. Jude may have had her best game of the year last night, Shoni had an impressive first half and finished well for the Lady Cards.

-Blocking out and rebounding...Louisville did outrebound the taller more aggressive Golden Eagles despite a big effort from freshman Apiew Ojulu. Remember the name, readers...she's going to be a great one before she graduates. Ten of Marquette's 35 grabs.

-Shutting down Plouffe...It was the game plan and the superb Canadian sophomore had a weak stat line of 1-4 shooting for 2 points, 0-2 from the line, 4 rebounds, 4 fouls, 5 turnovers in just 25 minutes. 

THINGS TO GET BETTER AT:

(Not a lot to point out here, but here's a couple...)

-Starts...slow starts to each half saw Louisville trail early by three and lose a seven point halftime lead. Call it rust if you want, but it's symptomatic of how the Cards have played as of late. Would love to see Louisville blow out to a 10-0 early game lead just once...or score the first 12 to begin a second half. It's all about developing a "killer" mentality.

-Threes...although Burke and Shoni hit some key ones, they were the only two going for them. Jude hit one out of one, although she had about a half dozen chances to try long range bombs and Nita Slaughter missed her only attempt.

(We'll have more stat breakdown and player and coach comments for you tomorrow here at Cardinal Couple...be sure to drink your Ovaltine and check back!)
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