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Sunday, March 18, 2012

SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

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CARDS check with the "board" in win.


-Louisville WBB win was orchestrated early.


-Softball goes to 22-0 with Akron win


-Congratulations to men's team..still dancin'


Who wants the ball?
The measures of success draw their origin from planning, preparation and execution. Yesterday, in College Park, MD., the Lady Cards came in with a plan, a way to execute it and an above average performance of the directive. The result was a 12 point defeat of a middle of the pack Michigan State Big Ten squad that had been on a late season role. Credit the Cards being the "chairwomen of the boards" in this one if you are looking for a key factor in the win. Louisville out-rebounded the physical Spartans by seven.


Bria Smith seemingly enjoying
watching a
defensive effort
Keep this in mind. Without Lykenda Johnson's early "have a seat and watch awhile" situation...this one may be not been so easy. MSU coach Suzy Merchant chose to keep her star rebounder and inside force seated in the first half after early foul trouble. With her on the bench, the Lady Cards were able to get to the boards with relative ease, score inside and dictate the pace and tenor of the contest. As the ESPN announcers kept repeating in the first half...Louisville was doing a lot of things well and Michigan State wasn't. 


After a Becky Burke 3-pointer that was part a 11-2 run with 6:47 remaining, the Lady Cards found themselves the proud owner of a 28-16 lead. Seconds later, the College Park crowd was treated to "Sho-time" and the smooth sophomore buried a three to bump the Cardinal lead to 15. Two Sara Hammond free throws had Louisville up 33-16 and this one looked to be headed to a Cardinal "W". The Spartans were back on their heels and Louisville took a 16 point lead into the dressing room. 


In the back of our minds was the return of Johnson for MSU and whether the Cards could continue to play virtually turnover free basketball. Despite a few rough patches and only one made basket from the court in the final 9:30, the Lady Cards held on, and did so with challenging defense and a few clutch free throws. Johnson was a non-factor for the Spartans, with just 
five points before fouling out late.


Frese expresses a bit of anguish here about
a official ruling
Jeff Walz will tell you...and most basketball analysts will concur that you won't be able to defeat #2 seed Maryland with only eight points in the final ten minutes of the second half. The engine that was running so smoothly in the first 30 minutes of yesterday's game didn't perform very well in the final ten...but the Louisville lead of 22 points was sufficient to get the Lady Cards back to the garage without having to call the tow truck. 


It must have been the gas in the area. Maryland had a similar stall-out in the second half against Navy. More on that in a bit. 


Walz and Frese from
earlier days.
On Monday, teacher meets mentor. Although Jeff Walz spent his assistant and associate years under some very good head coaches, it was Brenda Freze who was the last and gave Walz valuable experience as a recruiter. They won a national title together. 


He takes his team in battle tomorrow against a Maryland team that had a rougher than expected time against #15 seed Navy. The Terps and Middies were knotted up at 17-17 in the first half before Maryland went on a 14-6 late to enjoy a 31-23 halftime lead. 


They got off to a strong second half start with a 14-4 run and and were up 57-36 with 6:30 to go before staggering in with only two points the rest of the way to win 59-44. Sound familiar, Cardinal fans? 


Will Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell head over to
College Park Monday to watch the Lady Cards play? They
may mistake him for the UM mascot...
Alyssa Thomas had 17 for Maryland and Laurin Thomas added 14.


We'll go into a deeper observation of the Terps on Monday. For now, the Lady Cards still have their dancing shoes on...even if they switched from a fast tango to a slow blues ballad in the final part of the second half yesterday.  


Hey, whatever it takes to get to the end of the song.  


In other NCAA WBB first round action, no real surprises unless you look at #11 Gonzaga knocking off #6 Rutgers. We know all about Gonzaga, don't we Cardinal fans? Vandersloot may be gone...but they're still a very good team. The lower seeds prevailed in all of the other 15 games yesterday. Kentucky, maybe a rougher time than expected against McNeese St. with Mathies on the bench with foul trouble. DePaul and Green Bay with nice second half rallies to advance. THe BIG EAST went 4-1 yesterday. SEC 3-0.  


*******************************************


Louisville Softball didn't get all the games they wanted in the two day visit to soggy Sacramento...but did manage to complete one game out of a potential four with a 6-1 win over Akron in the Sacramento State Capital Class yesterday. 


Louisville has shown a propensity to score early and yesterday was no different...hanging two on the Zips in the bottom of the first inning. Jennifer Esteban and Taner Fowler reached the plate when a Alicja Wolny plate appearance turned into a two-run fielding error. 


Taner Fowler scored a run
and had an RBI yesterday.
The Cards added frosting to the cupcake in the third with two more scores. Kristin Austin singled and scored on a Katie Keller triple. Keller made it 4-0  when she greeted the home plate umpire on a Fowler sacrifice fly. 


The Cards pushed the advantage to 5-0 in the fifth with a Wolny blast over the right-center fence. It was her 4th. "that one's outta here" of the year. Louisville completed their scoring in the sixth...Austin singled, advanced on a Keller single and scored on a Zips fielding error.


Caralisa Connell goes
seven innings for the
win. 
Caralisa Connell notched the win, now 7-0. She distributed eight hits over seven pitched innings and one run in the sixth inning. She fanned seven. 


Good news for the Lady Cards with the return of Maggie Ruckenbrod to action. She pinch hit and finished at catcher for Louisville...going 1-2 at the plate.


A second game against the Zips was called because of rain after 4 1/2 innings and Louisville leading 4-3. It does not count as a complete game. 


The Cards return to the "Ville" to tangle with Ohio State Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Ulmer Stadium. 


*******************************************


Is Rick performing a self-test
eye exam here? 
Pitino's boys are in the Sweet Sixteen after holding off New Mexico 59-56 yesterday in Portland. Cards held a large lead in this one in the second half and saw it dwindle to three and a chance for the Lobos to tie it. 


Rick gives a thankful prayer to "Our Savior of Blessed
Lane Penetration" .
They didn't though, and a sweet Siva pass to Dieng for a slam dunk near the end gave Louisville enough to survive. Elishia Justice with a chance to salt it away with 2 seconds left at the foul line...but his 1-1 attempt did everything but walk over to consult the official scorer before rolling off. A 94 foot desperation heave by New Mexico was wide left. 


Cards get MSU. Izzo vs. Pitino. Should be a good one in Phoenix in a few days. Welcome back to the Sweet Sixteen, fellas! 
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8 comments:

  1. Had to be the most dominating game against a quality opponent UL has played this year, IMO. Team defense was excellent, post passes were excellent, post scoring was excellent, rebounding was excellent, overall effort was excellent!!!
    Staff and players definitely make it easy to be a proud Card fan!
    L1C4!!!
    Stark61

    ReplyDelete
  2. No doubt, Stark! They'll need a repeat Monday. Maryland goes to the boards with authority.
    Paul

    ReplyDelete
  3. If we can beat Xavier then we can beat the Terps this year. Shoni can't carry the entire load on offense though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wouldn't mind seeing an 'Xavier-like' game out of her Monday, though
      Sonja

      Delete
  4. IF we play like yesterday we can win. Shoni did not even hit double digits, but I believe it was one of the best games of the season from her. We need more distribution and moderate scoring from her. If she is getting assists it is because someone else is scoring. An effort like yesterday, and we can hang with the best of them!
    Go Cards, beat the Turtles!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This was the way I've been waiting for the Lady Cards to play all season - inside out, with lots of movement without the ball. None of Shoni, Nita, or Becky shot particularly well, yet the Cards when with ease. Agree with Jenny - great game from Shoni, even though she did take three bad shots. She would have had 10 assists if it hadn't been for blown lay-ups. Monday will be interesting. Go CARDS!
    --PDX Phil

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With Shoni, it's all part of the total package. If there is a more exciting sophomore in the women's game - 'show' her to me.
      Sonja

      Delete
  6. I know it is hoops mania right now but have to give a big shout out to UofL softball and what they have accomplished this season. 22-0 an a big game coming up Tuesday when Ohio State visits. Thanks - too - to Cardinal Couple for the coverage.

    -Shelly

    ReplyDelete

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