TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Lady Cards fall short at Maryland by 4.
-Softball plays two today at Ulmer vs. Ohio St.
It may have been the most physical and exciting game of the year for the Lady Cards...but they fell short on the final score to #2 seed Maryland 72-68. A desperation Becky Burke three to tie it with four seconds left fell short and Louisville goes down in College Park after a brave and valiant try.
The Cards had chances to win this one but couldn't capitalize. They also got a questionable call late that had a big impact. Becky Burke was fouled after gaining possession of a loose ball with 15 seconds left but referee Bryan Enterline called it a non-possession foul and gave Louisville the ball out of bounds instead of putting Burke on the line for the 1 and 1.
Even the Maryland-biased ESPN announcers marveled at the wrong call. The Cards got the ball down court, vainly trying to get a clear look at a three...but Burke took a challenged final attempt and missed badly on her partially-blocked three attempt.
Earlier...Shoni had a chance to tie it with 56 seconds left and the Terps up 70-68 -- but could not connect on the front end of a one and one.
This was aggressive, energetic and, at times, brutal basketball...especially from Maryland. The Cards resembled punching bags from the very start...Asia Taylor taken down by a vicious elbow at half court -- with no call in the first 90 seconds. Maryland's Alyssa Thomas was whistled for a technical after trying to separate Sheronne Vails' head from her shoulders with 7:31 left in the first half. The second half featured more of the same...bodies on the floor and whistles galore. In some ways, it could have been a BIG EAST effort from a Georgetown or Syracuse again the Cards. The stakes were much higher tonight, though.
In the end...it was Louisville's inability to hit from the floor over the last six minutes...making only one basket after going up 64-59 on a Burke +1.
The Lady Cards started quickly, going up 6-0 in the first 3:30 before Maryland hit the scoreboard. The Terps managed a tie at 8-8, but Louisville responded with a 9-0 Shoni led run, getting a driving layup from Shoni, a three from Shoni, a Shawnta Dyer score inside from a Shoni pass and another Shoni jumper to go up 17-8.
Maryland fought back and tied it at 17-17 on a Laurin Mincy jumper with 9:55 to go. Shelby Harper, in for Bria Smith -- benched with three fouls, hit a driving layup to put Louisville ahead 21-18 and a Shoni free throw after the Thomas technical had Louisville up by four with 7:31 to go.
Maryland took off again, though and held the Lady Cards scoreless for a five minute stretch and taking a 27-22 lead -- while connecting on three straight threes --before Dyer connected inside on a Shoni pass with 2:55 left. Dyer would get two more baskets over the next 90 seconds and it was 29-29 with 1:14 in the half remaining after Dyer completed an old-fashion three point play.
Two Maryland free throws with 27 seconds left gave the Terps a 31-29 lead at the break. Louisville was led by Shoni's 12 first half points and Dyer's nine.
For the Cards to be down just two after going through two scoreless stretches that consumed over nine minutes was remarkable. The fouls were adding up on Louisville, though...and if it wasn't for Maryland's lack of free throw shooting ability...the Lady Cards could have faced a larger deficit.
The Lady Cards got scores from Sherrone Vails and Bria Smith to tie it at 33-33 a minute into second half action, but a 7-2 Terps run had Louisville facing a five point deficit with 17 minutes to go. Shoni free throws and a Asia Taylor jumper got Louisville within one but Maryland used a 9-4 run to grab a 49-43 lead over the next two minutes. Anxiety set in. Were the Cards done for the night?
The pace was fast and furious...32 points being scored in the first five minutes of the second half.
Louisville stepped on the accelerator again and two Smith free throws, a Shoni three, Smith steal and layup and Dyer putback gave Louisville a 9-2 run and a 52-51 lead. 12:30 remained and Louisville was battling tooth and nail with the taller, more physical Maryland squad.
The teams exchanged leads six times over the next five minutes until a Shoni three started a 5-1 Louisville surge that had the Cards up 64-59 after a Burke basket and free throw had Louisville leading 64-59 with six minutes left. It was looking good for Louisville, Thomas was on the bench for Maryland and the Terps seemed tired and disorganized.
That didn't last, though.
Maryland went on a 9-0 run over the next three minutes to grab the lead back at 68-64 -- four different Terps scoring. Two Becky Burke free throws got Louisville back within two and after a Maryland score...Asia Taylor's jumper in the paint made it 70-68 with 1:36 left.
After a missed Shoni free throw, Laurin Mincy hit one of two charity tosses after Smith's fifth foul to make it 71-68 and just 34 seconds remained. After the Burke miss, Maryland was fouled and the Terps got a meaningless free throw with .005 second left for the final 72-68 score.
A tough way to end the season...but a hard fought, never-say-die effort for Louisville tonight. Shoni ended up with 23 for the Cards and Dyer 17. Neither scored over the last six minutes, though.
Maryland had no answer for Shoni tonight. The taller Terps were punished inside by Dyer and Taylor. But...it was not enough.
Just over 4500 in the Comcast Center for this one. You know 20,000 would have packed the KFC YUM! to see this game. 4500? Really? There are more people than that selling food and drinks at a Louisville women's basketball event.
Note to NCAA Women's Basketball site event planners...the city is called Louisville (Google it if you need to...) and they pack the downtown arena to watch women's college basketball. Try to leave Indianapolis next March...(it's straight down I-65 until you reach the Ohio River. Go ahead, cross the bridge...it's OK!) and see how many show up for first and second round action.
Remember....Louisville. We pronounce it "Lou-ah-vul. We even have running water, electricity and internet access. And, please send a copy of this note to Danielle "Done -now" up in BIG EAST offices in Providence. Oh? Never heard of that city either? (Sigh). Carry on, boys!
We have to believe that if Burke had been rightfully sent to the line after the Maryland foul with 15 seconds left, the Cards could have gotten within one and changed the entire complexion of this one late. WE know...you should never blame referee calls for a loss...but this one just stunk.
|Photo Charlie Springer @ Card Game.|
Thanks for the great memories this season, ladies! An appreciative and large fan-base and CARDINAL COUPLE gives you a tip of the hat, hug of gratitude and a big "thumbs-up" for next year! Practice hard and effectively and shine like diamonds next year.
It's a beautiful day outside, why not "knock off" work a little early and head over to Ulmer Stadium for the UofL Softball doubleheader against Ohio State?
The #14/15 Cards are 22-0 and face a BIG TEN opponent in Ohio State that is 14-8 on the season but on a three-game win streak.
|Santo, Kessinger, Beckert and Banks. That|
was a infield, folks.....
As the legendary Cubbie first baseman Ernie Banks used to say..."It's a great day to play two!" Head on over to the Ulmer and cheer on.....your Lady CARDINALS!!