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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Irish finish strong to defeat Lady Cards 68-52


-Louisville hangs tough, Notre Dame takes 16 point win.

AJ and Matt get ready to call the game on WKRD
Notre Dame expanded upon a three point halftime lead to defeat Louisville 68-52 in the KFC YUM! Center Monday afternoon in front of 13054 fans. Junior Skylar Diggins had 21 points for the #4 ranked Irish...including 11-12 shooting from the free throw line.

For Louisville, Antonita Slaughter contributed six points each half to lead the Cards with 12 points. Rough afternoon of shooting for Louisville against the Irish defense -- going 18-57 for 31.6% from the floor and 2-16 from trifecta range. The Irish did a number of Shoni, in particular -- 3-16 from the floor and 1-8 from the distance.

STARTERS: Vails, Burke, Smith, Shoni and Taylor

Dyer goes to the boards strong! (Photo from
Charlie Springer - Card Game)
The Irish jumped out to a early lead against the LADY CARDS and were up 5-0 before Asia Taylor connected in the paint with a jumper at the 17:24 mark. After a Brittany Mallory turnover, Becky Burke tied it with a three to even it at 5-5. The Irish responded with a 7-0 run, though and the Cards didn't get on the board again until Bria Smith knocked down a jumper with 14:27 on the clock to draw UofL within seven. Taylor got Louisville to a 12-9 deficit with a layup and got the Cards the ball back after drawing a charge on Kayla McBride....but the Cards couldn't capitalize until Nita Slaughter tossed in a short jumper to make it 15-11.

Cardinal Couple readers and contributors
Shirley and Ellis Blanton ready for the game!
It was the start of a mini-run for Walz's crew -- culminating in a 15-15 tie after another Slaughter score and two Shawnta Dyer free throws with 10:03 remaining in the first half. It was 17-17 when Shoni got two free throws to fall at the 7:48 mark...her first two and only points of the first half.

Notre Dame fired back with back-to-back buckets from McBride and Skylar Diggins to go up 21-17 but Slaughter cashed in a couple for free throws to cut it back to two with 6:07 left. Devereaux Peters capitalized on a Slaughter turnover to score but Sara Hammond's basket in the paint off a slick assist from Shelby Harper drew Louisville closer at 23-21. Two Burke free throws with 2:55 on the clock kept Louisville within two and after a clutch three from sub Kaila Turner made it 28-23 Notre Dame, Bria Smith ended the first half scoring with a jumper from the paint at the 46 second mark to make it 28-25 Notre Dame.

Bill and Barb Hancock with grandson
prior to tip-off
Louisville was hanging close despite 0-7 shooting from Shoni and only 1-6 three point totals for the team. The Lady Cards were winning the rebounding battle 20-16 and had forced 12 Notre Dame turnovers.

Slaughter's six points led UofL scoring. Burke contributed five, Asia and Bria with four each and Shoni, Dyer and Hammond with two each to round out the first half Louisville scoring. Vails and Harper played but did not score. The Cards were shooting a pitiful 28.6%, due to Irish pressure and some wide open, missed attempts. Louisville did go 8-8 from the foul stripe in the first twenty.

CARDINAL COUPLE'S Jenny O'Bryan and friend
have their L's up!
 Notre Dame had nine points from Diggins -- five of those from the charity stripe and McBride had two 3-pointers to give her six points. Louisville had held Irish star and Lexington, KY native to zero points on 0-4 shooting and just one rebound in 18 minutes.

The Cards needed to pick up the offensive production in the final twenty and continue to score on second chance attempts...they led Notre Dame 6-0 in that category in the first twenty.

Novosel got her first bucket of the game to begin the second half but Asia countered with a layup in the paint at the 19:12 mark. Defense ruled until Novosel score again to make it 32-27 and 17:36 on the clock. A Shoni jumper cut the Notre Dame lead back to three a minute later free throws from Peters and a McBride layup off a Novosel assist set it at 36-29 Irish and 16 minutes to go.

Mo Reid signs autographs for
the fans
Hammond found Dyer for a score to return it to a five point ND lead...but two more free throws for Diggins off a Dyer foul and McBride's jumper gave the Irish a 40-31 lead and 14:20 left.

It was beginning to get away from the Cards and Louisville had been outscored 12-6 to begin the half.

Hammond tried to rally Louisville with a jumper that cut the Notre Dame lead to seven but the Irish countered with four straight points from Peters to go up 44-33 and 12:01 on the clock. Taylor capitalized on a basket and free throw to trim it to eight...but the Lady Cards would score only three points over the next four and one half minutes -- trailing 51-39 until Shoni sank her only three of the game with 7:17 remaining to draw Louisville within eight.

Skylar and Shoni head down court
(Photo from Charlie Springer - Card Game)
Slaughter's layup a minute later still had UofL down by nine and two Slaughter free throws made it 55-46 Notre Dame as the clocked worked its way to the five minute mark. McBride drove a serious nail in the coffin -- hitting a three to give UND a 58-46 lead. Smith's jumper cut it to ten...but Louisville would get no closer the rest of the way. The Irish outscored the Lady Cards 10-4 over the final 3:33  -- the Cards getting two free throws from Slaughter and a Shoni layup with a minute left to play.

Final 68-52 Notre a game that was much closer than that for the first 37 minutes. 

Tia Gibbs greets the fans
The Cards were led by Slaughter's 12 points...going 3-6 from the field and 6-6 from the foul line. Asia and Shoni had nine, Dyer seven, Smith six, Burke five and Hammond four to complete the Louisville scoring. No points for Vails or Harper in limited duty. Jude Schimmel did not play.

Notre Dame placed four in double figures. Diggins 21 led the Irish, followed by McBride's 15 (7-9 from the floor), Mallory's 13 and Peters with 10.

The Lady Cards won the rebounding battle 35-28.

Notre Dame outshot Louisville 48.9% (23-47) to 31.6% (18-57).
The Cards were 14-15 from the free throw line and Notre Dame 17-18. Notre Dame had 18 turnovers and the Cards 19 (Smith 7). 

All in all, a hard-fought effort against a strong, veteran and talented Irish squad that features four seniors, two juniors and a freshman in their top seven rotation. A freshman that UofL didn't account for today in McBride.

Shooting killed the Lady Cards today. Part of it was the tough UND defense and part of it was just shots that wouldn't fall...especially for Shoni . The Irish got all 10 of their last points from Diggins, Novosel and Mallory...experienced and veteran guards. Louisville got only three shots up in the final 3:33...effectively killing any chance of a comeback...and had three turnovers in the same period of time.

Louisville (19-8, 8-6) returns to action on Saturday with a noon contest against DePaul. The Irish host USF next before ending the regular season at UConn.


  1. Good effort against #4. The Lady Cards hung tough but have no one at the level of Skylar Diggins. Yet.

    Blue Lou

  2. Sure wish we could have taken on UConn and Notre Dame at the Yum! with Monique and Tia. Right now we're just a player or two short of competing at that level. But with an added year of experience for Shoni, Sara, Bria and others, plus Mo and Tia...maybe we steal a win on their home court next year. It's been another great season and sad to see it end Saturday. Sure was great to see 13,000 yesterday.

    1. With Mo and Tia, expectations were realistic of a team capable of beating both UConn and ND and of reaching Denver. That being said, I totally agree that a healthy Louisville next year will have those same expectations, maybe even more so, because of the experience gained by the freshmen. These last couple of games one can see (I can, anyway!) the talent of Sara just waiting to bust out! Take this same team, minus only Becky (and Cierra, if Sara hasn't already made you say Cierra who?) and I'm already chomping at the bits for next year. Not that this year is over, I think these ladies are not done this year. I thought they hung real tough with an extremely good ND team. They (ND), did not get at all rattled, they ran their sets with extreme capability, hit big shots, and played pretty good defense. Looked like a team that is very capable of winning it all, and UL was never really out of the game until the end.
      Thought my Lady Cards put up a pretty good fight, made me proud to be a fan!
      GO CARDS!!!

  3. Louisville will finish out the home schedule with DePaul Saturday at noon. It's Becky Burke's final home game, so get out there and thank her for the four years of hard wotk and dedication she's shown this team and program.

    Louisville ends the regular conference schedule at Seton Hall Monday the 27th.

  4. Starks, hoping your hospital stay went ok!

    I agree with you, too. We hung pretty close. We came out for the second half and had a brain fart for 4-5 minutes, a lot of fouls called, and ND was able to build the lead. After that we se stayed right there with them, bucket for bucket but could not chip away what the brain fart let them build up.
    Strong defense though, by all estimations this could have been a 30 PT. Blowout and it was single digits until the final 2.5. Proud of my Cards!
    Always a Fan!


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