FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Rising Mountaineers will test wobbly Lady Cards
Nothing like going into the snake pit right after being whipped in a street fight. That's the task ahead for Jeff Walz's Lady Cards, who head to wild and wonderful West Virginia for a 4 p.m. Saturday showdown in Morgantown with the 16-6 Lady Mountaineers. The Cards travel to "almost heaven" after getting pummelled in the mean streets of Chicago by an inspired DePaul squad 86-61 on Tuesday night. Actually, it wasn't even that close...but an "L" is an "L" whether it's by 4 or 40...some are just uglier than others.
|Dunning "done good" against USF|
with 15 points and 17 rebounds.
WVU hit a couple of charity tosses to preserve the win...Ayana Dunning having a "Katherine Harry" type game for WVU with 15 points and 17 rebounds.
The Mountaineers, like Louisville, are also 6-3 in BIG EAST play, which puts them in a five team logjam for 3rd. place in the conference with Rutgers, Louisville, St. John's and Georgetown. Their BIG EAST wins have come against Syracuse, Villanova, Seton Hall, Pitt, Marquette and the previously mentioned USF Bulls. Losses were @ Conn (79-60), Providence (51-48) and hosting Georgetown (64-54). They've also lost to St. Bonaventure, Cal State-Northridge and Duquense...which is utterly baffling. They have an early season win over UCLA.
Starters will probably be...
--Asya Bussie, a 6'4" junior center who averages 11.5 p.p.g. She had 5 points in 12 minutes last year against the Lady Cards.
-- Ayana Dunning, a 6'3" redshirt junior forward good for 7.1 a game but on a tear lately. 11 points in 18 minutes in the YUM last time the two met.
-- Christal Caldwell, a 5'9" redshirt sophomore guard contributing 11.5 p.p.g.
-- Linda Stepney. 4.7 a game for the 5'7" freshman guard.
--Jessica Harlee. Adds 5.8 p.p.g. for the 'Eers. She's a 6' 1" forward and scored two points in seven minutes last year against UofL.
Others who figure into the WVU mix are Taylor Palmer, who leads the Eers in scoring with 12.9 a game. She a 5'9" sophomore guard who is also the main 3-point threat for West Virginia...going 57-178 on the season. Brooke Hampton, a 5' 9" sophomore guard. Averee Fields, is a 6'0" freshman forward from Murray, KY (Calloway County) who also hits the Coliseum court for Mike Carey.
|Carey (right) has coached|
WVU since 2001-02
The Mountaineers are 6-3 lifetime against the Lady Cards and Carey is 3-2 in matchups with Walz. Last year, Louisville won 57-47, pulling away late in the second half after leading 23-22 at the break. Tia Gibbs had 19 points to lead the Cardinals to victory and UofL held star Liz Repella to just three points in 24 minutes before she fouled out. Repella has graduated, so have Ali and Miles from that WVU squad...but they're still physical, disciplined and play traditional Carey "slug it out in the half court set" basketball.
By the numbers...
--WVU is 11-2 at home this year.
--They outscore opponents 66.6 to 49.2.
--The Mountaineers out rebound opponents 43.3 to 33.4
--West Virginia averages 18.1 turnovers a game. They force opponents in 19.4
--Average attendance at WVU home game is 1749. They draw better on the weekends, though...and with Louisville in town, you can probably expect 3,000 or so friendly West Virginia fans to extend the Lady Cards a warm and heartfelt welcome. It's being shown on West Virginia PBS television, too. Hmmm...
Bert and Ernie on play-by-play? Maybe Bob Huggins will do a half-time round table discussion of the contest with the crew from American Experience...
Sonja sees it...
Hard to determine how UofL will respond after the mugging in Chi-town. DePaul and WVU both have bruisers in the paint and guards who can pop from three point range. Louisville must do a much better job defending the perimeter, controlling the paint and eliminating turnovers. This is a game where Asia and Cierra should relish the interior battle. The Lady Cards need "the killer bees" and Shoni to show up, though. I'll go "glass half full" and pick the Lady Cards 61-58. Rebound and block out, ladies!
Louisville must avoid the sluggish state that doomed them against DePaul. They also need to get Shoni involved early in this one. It'll be another war in the paint with Bussie and Dunning giving the Lady Cards "bigs" all they want and Palmer and Caldwell challenging the Cards guards. Tough stretch right now for Louisville, with UConn after this one. Cards lose the battle 65-55. I hope I'm wrong. A loss here would be rough in terms of this young team's confidence and preparation for the mighty Huskies.