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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cold end to first half dooms Lady Cards at WVU


-15-0 WVU run does Cards in

Louisville at least made a game of it for the first 13:37 of the Saturday afternoon contest. An Asia Taylor jumper put the Lady Cards up 22-21 with 6:26 left in the first half.

Then, things got ugly.

WVU went on a 15-0 run after that for about five and one half minutes and led 36-22 until Shelby Harper connected with a jumper with 1:05 left. And...that run pretty much took care of the Cards this afternoon. The Lady Cards committed nine turnovers in the scoreless stretch.

STARTERS: Vails, Taylor, Smith, Burke and Shoni

Hammond saw first half action today.
Louisville's Taylor missed a wide open layup to begin the contest and the game remained scoreless until Taylor connected at the 18:00 mark. WVU responded with the next six points, though and led 6-2 until a Shoni three pulled the Lady Cards within one. Another Shoni three gave UofL a 12-10 lead with 12:02 left.

The elder Schimmel connected again from trifecta range to put Louisville up 15-13 with 9:52 left, but the Mountaineers responded with six straight points from Laura Stepney and held a 19-15 advantage before Bria Smith scored her only two points of the contest and Taylor capitalized on a +1 to make it 20-19 Louisville. Taylor connected again, giving Louisville a 22-21 lead. 6:23 to go.

Then, the offense went cold.

An Asya Bussie basket and free throw, followed by another Stepney three had it 27-22. Taylor Palmer rattled home a three and then hit two free throws and it was 32-22 WVU. A Hartley steal and layup and Bussie inside again and the Cards saw themselves in the hole 36-22 with two minutes left. The teams traded baskets the rest of the way and Louisville went into the locker room behind 38-24. Six minutes of turnover-filled, missed opportunity play for the Cardinals to end the first twenty. Hard to listen to on the radio. Probably more painful to see in person.

WVU shot 47% in the first half, led 20-16 on the boards and had 12 points from Bussie. Stepney had nine.

Louisville went 33% from the floor in the first twenty (9-27), had 13 turnovers and six missed layups in the first half. Shoni's nine points (on three threes) led the way, Taylor added seven, Slaughter three, Harper two and Sara Hammond had a free throw. 

Louisville needed to come out strong early in the second half and cut into the WVU lead. Instead, the exact opposite happened. 

A Stepney three and two Christal Caldwell scores provided WVU with a 7-0 run to start the final twenty minutes. It was 45-24, which proved to be the biggest WVU lead of the day.

Sherrone Vails finally broke the ice for the Cards with a jumper at the 17:30 mark, but Asia Taylor picked up her fourth foul seconds later and went to the bench. The Lady Cards would climb within 15 after a Shoni 3 to cut it to 50-35 and two Slaughter threes over the next minute and a half had Louisville with a glimmer of hope...down 54-41 with 4:51 left. Louisville managed to get within 12 after a Slaughter free throw with 2:17 left at 56-44 and Taylor finally returned to the court and scored to make it 58-46 with 94 seconds to go...but the Mountaineers outscored the Cards 8-4 the rest of the way...sinking four free throws in the final 1:10. Final 66-50 WVU. 

Louisville was led by Shoni's 16. Slaughter finished with 14. Taylor totalled nine, Harper finished with four, as did Vails. Smith had two and Hammond finished with one. Burke, Jude and Shawnta Dyer played but did not score. Cierra Warren did not play. No reason was provided. 

The Cards finished at 40% (20-50) from the floor and were 7-20 from three point line. They sank 3-4 from the charity stripe and finished with 24 turnovers.

The Eers win their third in a row and got 18 points and 11 boards from Bussie. Three others hit double figures for WVU...Stepney finished with 14, Caldwell 12 and Dunning 11. WVU won the rebounding battle 39-27. They had 12 steals and shot 42% for the game. Stepney a surprise...she came into the game averaging less than five points a game.

No points for BB
against WVU.
For the Lady Cards, Jeff Walz summed it up pretty well when he attributed the loss to turnovers, rebounding and effort. Way too many missed layups for the Cards and way too many second chance scores for WVU. They beat the Cards in the points in the paint battle 34-24.

Louisville faces #3 UConn Tuesday. It's the first time this season the Lady Cards have lost two games in a row. Hate to say it...but three in a row is 72 hours away if the Cards produce this kind of effort against the Huskies...

A young team, still growing and some puzzlement now.

Burke scoreless and 0-2 from the field shows us that the BIG EAST (or at least WVU) has figured out she's a spot-up shooter and not much else. Hammond hustled hard in the first half and got rewarded with zero minutes in the final twenty. Warren never left the bench. Bria Smith was 0 for second half. Question marks remain for the 17-5, 6-4 Lady
Cards and the answers they get Tuesday against #3 UConn may not be the ones they want to receive....


  1. Any defenders of small ball want to jump to defend the three-guard line-up after the last two games? In last year's win over WVA, Vails, Hines, and Reid (who didn't play until the 2nd half) combined for 74 minutes. Today, Vails, Warren, Dyer, and Hammond combined for 44 minutes.
    --PDX Phil

    1. No Hines and no Reid. Maybe, and this is just an assumption on my behalf, Coach Walz thinks that maybe this year's team as it is, is better with a small lineup. Maybe they handle pressure better or something like that.

    2. Sarcasm noted, but I'm really looking for is some explanation as to why Walz thinks that, because I can't ask him, but I don't see it watching the games or looking at the stats. Better ball handling? 16 TOs last year v. 24 this year. Plus, if you want the key to beating the press, watch this year's Georgetown game a few times and compare what happens when the Cards break the press by making strong passes instead of trying to dribble through it. The same is true in the half court offense - good ball movement by passing leads to good shots; lots of dribbling around the perimeter in a stagnent leads to turnovers even if the guards the ones doing the dribbling.
      This lack of effort excuse is getting old, and I don't think it's fair to the players, including the ones who I think are getting too many minutes. I don't doubt that Burke, Harper, and J. Schimmel are playing as hard as they can.
      --PDX Phil

  2. WE wonder why Warren didn't see any action. She wasn't mentioned as being injured or anything in the pre-game report. With Louisville getting out-rebounded by 10 and Bussey and Dunning pretty much having their way inside with the Lady Cards...We were hoping for a little more effectiveness out of Dyer, Vails and Asia (who did sit a lot in the second half with four fouls).

    UConn beat Rutgers 66-34 today. At the XL, but still a convincing win against a good Rutgers team. Tuesday could be a long night...

  3. From what I saw...your Cards played with a lot of emotion and effort until they just couldn't buy a basket late it the first half. The WVU defense was responsible for a lot of that and the turnovers really killed them. It's obvious that your team really misses Reid and Gibbs. I liked what I saw out of Shoni Schimmel and Slaughter has a nice shot and really hustles.

    Good luck rest of the way.

    Bill from West Virginia

  4. Knew this was gonna be a hard three game stretch, still thought they could pull out one victory, but, alas, doesn't look like that will happen. Certainly not the end of the season yet, but the next game isn't going to be the beginning of a new win streak, either. Hopefully, they can get it together enough to win all but the games against UConn and ND.
    GO CARDS!!!

  5. As an observer of UofL women's basketball for many years, I can definitely say that this current team misses Reid and Gibbs more than anyone realizes. Their loss is like taking Pippen and Jordan away from those great Bulls teams of the past or, in a current venue, Behanan and Siva away from Pitino. The rest of this season's ride could be rough but they're still the best entertainment value in town.

    ID Checker


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