SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Jude Schimmel's layup the difference maker in defensive battle
-Volleyball straight set win over Marquette
|Sara Hammond celebrates Cardinal win|
Jude Schimmel's steal of Courtney Walker's inbounds pass and subsequent layup gave the Cards a 47-45 lead with 24 seconds and UofL took the contest after leading most of the way but surrendering the advantage with four minutes to go.
Enough can't be said about the effort from Sara Hammond tonight...with 20 points and 13 rebounds...for Louisville, who saw an early 14 point second half lead vanish to the aggressive Aggies.
The Cards jumped out to a 12-7 lead in the first half after a Shoni Schimmel three with 12:53 left in the first half and back-to-back baskets by Monique Reid gave Louisville a 27-13 advantage with 5:50 remaining in the first half. The Cards would take a 31-21 lead into the locker room at halftime...Hammond with 15 points and eight rebounds...one of only four Cards to score in the first twenty minutes.
Louisville began the second half on a 6-2 run and looked to be in control of the contest...and led 37-23 after a Bria Smith basket at the 15:30 mark. A&M rallied but the Cards still led 41-33 after a Reid score halfway through the second half. The inside duo of Kelsey Bone and Karla Gilbert went to war against the Cards in the paint and a Bone score had it narrowed down to 41-37 with 7:05 to go.
Alexia Standish nailed a three a minute later to cut the Louisville lead to one...necessitating a Jeff Walz timeout. A&M extended the run to 11-0, though, and led the Cards 44-41 after a Gilbert inside score with 4:07 remaining. It would be the last Aggie basket of the game. The Cards rallying to tie it 45-45 after a Bria Smith free throw with 2:10 remaining.
That set the stage for Jude's heroics...Louisville missing out on an opportunity to increase the lead to four with 8.8 seconds left when Hammond missed two from the free throw line.
A desperation heave at the buzzer from Standish at the buzzer missed the mark for A&M and Louisville prevailed in a hard-fought battle.
Hammond led all scorers with 20 points and Reid finished with 10 for Louisville. Shoni Schimmel ended up with eight points, sister Jude with four, Bria Smith with three and Shawnta Dyer added two.
A&M outrebounded the Cards 44-33...Bone grabbing 12 and Gilbert 11 and the Aggies shot for the game while Louisville was 21-53 for 39.6%.
Coach Gary Blair was philisophical about the loss in the post game presser, pointing out that a freshman error in front of almost 11,000 fans was basically the deciding factor in a game that could have gone either way. Gotta love the affable Blair and his passion for the game. He even debated the inclusion of UofL in the SEC with me in the presser. Not gonna happen, Gary...but thanks for your "take" on it.
Shoni Schimmel noted that she knew her sister had the deciding layup "all the way, even though it was a right-handed layup...Jude likes them better from the left side."
The Cards return to action Sunday at noon against Portland in the KFC YUM! Center.
FIVE THINGS WE LIKED
-- The "Hammer". It may be a new nickname for Sara Hammond, who stepped up huge in a big-time game. 9-18 from the field, 8 defensive rebounds and three steals. Also, going the final four minutes with four fouls and not fouling out.
-- Meet "the other Schimmel". Jude continues to impress with her confidence and play-making abilities. The Cards had only eight assists in the game, the Schimmel sisters with six of them. And, what we'll refer to from now on as "The Steal" by Jude. Top notch game!
-- Fighting back. After the 11-0 A&M run in the second half, the Cards of last year might have folded up the tent and packed it in. Not this bunch. They left it all on the court in the final four minutes and won. Speaks volumes about this squad's heart.
-- Capitalizing. Louisville scored 18 points off 24 Aggie turnovers. The Cards also stayed close in the 2nd Chance category, scoring 16 points to A&M 18.
-- Auto "Mo" tic. Monique Reid. Enters the game with 8:46 left in the first half. Scores six points in the next four minutes. Scoring...it's what she does. Scorer...it's what she is. We can dig it...
FIVE THINGS TO WORK ON
--Free throws. Louisville a sub-par 3-9 from the line. Crucial misses late by Smith and Hammond. Gotta convert on the unguarded free ones.
--Three-point shooting. Shoni Schimmel went 2-6. The rest of the team 0-6. 0-5 in the second half. We're not sure if Sara Hammond is trying to become a threat from outside, but her 0-3 performance from behind the line had us scratching our heads.
--Offensive rebounding. A&M 19-Louisville 10. Sure, the Aggies had a decided height advantage when Gilbert and Bone were in the game together...but the Cards managed just 4 offensive rebounds in the final 20 minutes. That must get better...
--Interior defense. Once again, the combo of Gilbert and Bone proved hard to stop with the height edge...but they were 8-14. Add starting forward Kristi Bellock's 3-5 shooting and the front line goes well over 50% against the Cards "bigs".
--Finishing the deal. Louisville led 37-23 with 15:34 to go. They had the Aggies on the run. Ten minutes later, the game is tied at 41-41 and Walz needs a timeout. Killer instinct. It's the mark on a championship team. Louisville needs to find it.
A gritty, hard-fought win by the Cards against a top 15 opponent can't draw too much criticism. We love the way sophomores Hammond and Jude Schimmel stepped up tonight. Even a bit of swagger at the end of the game.
They won't face many tougher opponents the rest of the year than the Aggies they ran into Friday night...and they got the "W". This team is going to be fun to watch and if they can develop another three-point bomber beside Shoni...(would Ms. Deines and Slaughter report to the three-point arc please?) they could be a very dangerous team to play. Well done, Cards!
Walz's remarks in the post-game presser (at least some of them) at the link below:
Louisville Volleyball also won Friday in straight sets against Marquette in Cardinal Arena. Lola with 15 kills in the 25-22, 25-16, 25-18 sweep of the Golden Eagles.
The Cards jumped out to a first game 10-2 run that gave them an 11-5 lead and held on to win, despite Marquette getting within one at 22-21. Gwen Rucker with the game-winning kill at 24-21.
Louisville led early in the second game and pushed that advantage to 15-9, sparking a Marquette timeout. The strategy backfired...the Cards getting the next six points and winning by nine.
Louisville had the Golden Eagles where they wanted them in the final game...leading 18-11 and holding on for the seven point victory.
With the win, the Cards and Notre Dame are now tied for the conference lead at 13-1. Marquette falls to 12-2. The Golden Eagles can help Louisville get the regular season title by defeating Notre Dame on Sunday in Milwaukee. Louisville closes out the regular season in Cardinal Arena against Cincinnati.