MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Maryland next challenge for Lady Cards
The University of Louisville women's basketball team will play the #2 seeded Maryland Terrapins Monday night at 7 p.m. in the Comcast Center on the University of Maryland campus in College Park, MD.
At stake is a trip to the Sweet Sixteen.
What will Louisville run into tomorrow night?
First, they're facing a Terrapins team that won the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, NC. - defeating Georgia Tech 68-65 back on March 4th.
As the automatic bid from the ACC and finishing with a 28-4 regular season record, Maryland received a #2 seed and defeated Navy in 1st round tournament action 59-44 on March 17th. Alyssa Thomas led Maryland with 17 points and 10 rebounds in the outing and Laurin Mincy added 14.
They also got the advantage of staying home for their first two NCAA games. Home has been good to Maryland this season - they're 14-2 in the Comcast Center - losing to only Virginia Tech and Miami there.
Maryland is on a eight-game winning streak their last loss coming to the aforementioned Miami back on Feb. 12th. Miami beat the Terrapins twice this season and Duke defeated them in Cameron. Three of the losses came by eight points and one by two points (Miami at Comcast).
Numerous awards for Brenda Frese's players at the end of the regular and conference championship season.
--Alyssa Thomas - ACC Player of the year, First Team All-ACC and ACC Tournament MVP.
--Tianna Hawkins - Second team All-ACC, ACC All-Tournament team
--Lynetta Kizer - ACC Sixth Player of the Year, All-ACC Honorable Mention.
--Brene Moseley - ACC All-Freshman Team
--Alicia DeVaughn - ACC All-Defensive team
The Terps have four players that average in double figure scoring...Thomas (17.4), Mincy (12.8), Hawkins (12.0) and Kizer (11.2). Hawkins grabs 9.2 rebounds a game and Thomas 8.1. Maryland's rebounding margin of +14.1 is second in the nation.
Maryland is also in the top ten in the NCAA in scoring offense, field goal percentage, scoring margin and assists.
Lofty figures and accolades for Brenda Frese's team. She's been to the Big Dance eight of her 10 years at Maryland...going 17-6. She has three Elite Eights to her credit an a National Championship in 2006. This is the fifth time Maryland has been a #2 seed in the NCAA Women's Tournament under Frese.
Jeff Walz was an assistant and associate coach for six years under Frese (Five at Maryland and one at Minnesota) and left after the title to take the Louisville job. He is 1-0 against Maryland, defeating them 77-60 back on March 30th, 2009 in the Elite Eight in Raleigh.
What must Louisville do to defeat the Maryland Terrapins? WE'LL offer five categories where the Lady Cards need to do well.
1) Rebound. The Terps are strong on the boards. Louisville must grab missed Terrapin shots, stop second chance opportunities and get put-backs on missed UofL field goal attempts.
2) Shoot well. Over 40% against Michigan State was a good number. The Cards will need to reach that or better to defeat Maryland. Burke needs to be "on" from long range and Schimmel and Smith can't have 3-13 nights.
3) Stop the Terps' inside offensive game. Thomas, Hawkins and Kizer all can go to the basket and score inside. Louisville must prevent the pass into the interior and contest shots that occur from in the paint. The defense has looked good lately for Louisville. It will need to be great tonight.
4) Avoid "dead" stretches. The Cards scored only eight points in the final nine minutes against MSU. That won't cut it against the high-scoring Terrapins.
5) Create turnovers. The Louisville back-court is just as good, maybe a bit better than Maryland's. The Lady Cards need to apply pressure, get steals and make it difficult for Mincy to score and Barrett to create assists.
We'll have a full recap of the game after the action tonight and try to provide a halftime report. Be sure to check out CARDINAL COUPLE for the results and analysis of Monday night's game and....GO CARDS!