FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Louisville WBB "Slaughters" Austin Peay 90-52
The University of Louisville women's basketball team overcame a shaky start to roll past the Austin Peay Lady Govs by 38 points on Thursday night in Clarksville, TN.
With four turnovers in their first four possessions, the Cards hardly looked ready to protect their #8 ranking. Fortunately, Austin Peay was nearly as bad and it was 2-0 Govs when Nita Slaughter came in the game.
The junior guard proceeded to nail two straight three-pointers and started a three point frenzy that saw the two teams hit a combined nine trifectas in the first eight minutes. It was 20-17 Louisville with 11:39 left in the first half...but after the under 12 minute timeout...the Cards went to work.
A 10-0 run, fueled by eight Monique Reid points and two Shoni free throws had the Cards up by 13. Shoni's free throws put her in the 1,000 career point club.
Peay had one last gasp left in them, though, and went on their own 10-0 run to cut the Cardinal lead to 30-27 with 7:37 left in the first half. The Cards responded quickly. A Sara Hammond free throw, Bria Smith layup, Megan Deines three, free throws from Shelby Harper and Hammond, a Shoni three and Reid layup produced 14 straight UofL points and the Lady Cards had forged ahead 44-27 with 2:18 remaining.
The Lady Govs narrowed the margin to 13 but Cortnee Walton's putback with five seconds remaining had Louisville in the locker room owning a 48-33 halftime advantage.
Reid's 14 points in ten minutes led Louisville in the first 20 minutes. Slaughter's three threes gave her nine points, Shoni added seven, Deines had six, Hammond and Smith scored four each and Harper and Walton contributed two apiece. Jude, Shawnta Dyer and Sherrone Vails played but did not score. The Cards were 15-31 for 48% from the floor and 6-14 from beyond the arc. Louisville held a 25-15 edge in rebounding.
Louisville returned the starting lineup of Dyer, Smith, Shoni, Deines and Hammond to begin the second half and started working the inside game. Dyer started the scoring off a feed from Smith and she added two free throws after a Smith jumper to give UofL a 54-38 advantage after three minutes of action.
Those 38 Austin Peay points remained unchanged for the next seven minutes...Louisville taking flight with a 17-0 run that saw Shoni nail a three and a lay-up...and Dyer, Vails, Hammond and Walton all score inside the paint. It was 69-38 with 10:58 to go and the Cards had outscored Austin Peay 21-5 in the second half.
This one was history.
Despite the referees insistance on whistling fouls on Louisville every time they went on defense (or so it seemed), the Cards were rolling.
Walz used Harper, Jude, Walton, Vails and Dyer as the core group for the remainder of the game...spelling them as needed. The Cards hit the 80-point mark on a Jude layup with 5:57 to go. Louisville enjoyed their largest lead after a Harper jumper made it 88-44 with two minutes remaining. The Cards coasted in from there...A.P.U. actually outscoring them 8-2 the rest of the way... and won 90-52.
Reid's 14 first-half points held fast for game high for Louisville. Walz held her out of second-half action with her approval...no need for her, really...with the Cards having three games in three days in Mexico beginning next Tuesday. Shoni had 12 points and 10 assists for a double-double. Shawnta Dyer joined the double figure club with 12 points, all in the second half. Slaughter finished with her first half nine points and Smith and Vails added eight each. Walton produced seven points, Hammond and Deines six each. Harper and Jude ended up with four each.
Louisville was 34-59 from the court for 58%. They hit 7 of their 19 threes and went 15-23 from the foul line. The Cards won the battle of the boards 46-30 and had 15 steals.
FIVE THINGS WE LIKED
1. Another run-away win. Louisville used second-half runs of 17-0 and 12-0 to increase a 15 point first-half advantage into a 42 point lead. No backing off tonight. You blow out the opponents you're supposed to. It's what you expect top-10 teams to do.
2. Reid effectiveness. Mo's a scorer. Ask her, she'll tell you that's what she does. She also got five rebounds tonight in 10 minutes and drew a great charge under the Govs basket. Imagine how effective she could be with a 100% healthy knee...
3. Playing the bench. Once again, "the bench" is subject to debate at times, we know...but the Cardinal "non-starters" outscored the Lady Govs bench 46-9.
4. S&S attack. Shawnta and Sherrone had 20 second-half points. Add in Walton's five and that's 25 points from the Louisville "bigs" in 20 minutes. Not counting Hammond or Reid.
5. "Shake 'em" shakes them up. Shoni played a smart, efficient game tonight. Assists, scoring, distribution and recognition. The Cards may be looking for a vocal leader on the court, but there's no doubt who the floor general is when Shoni's in the game.
FIVE THINGS TO WORK ON
1. Sputtering out of the gate. The first two minutes were painful to watch and listen to. Fortunately, it was only 2-0 A.P.U. during that stretch. Against Notre Dame, it probably would have been 12-0. Playing UConn...well, you get the picture. Early consistency needed, please.
2. Free throws. 15-23 is better (65%) but it's not the 70% Coach Walz would like to see his team achieve.
3. Keeping the hammer down. The Cards saw a 13-point first half lead dwindle to three in a three minute stretch. They responded well, but 10-0 from Austin Peay? Seriously?
4. Slow starts for Shawnta and Smith. Early turnovers by Bria got her a seat early. Shawnta failed to score in the first half. Need it clicking from the tip-off.
5. Matt Andrews' player recognition. I almost fell off the couch when the affable UofL play-by-play radio announcer credited Asia Taylor with a rebound. Got my hopes up for a brief, few seconds before he corrected himself...while A.J. chuckled in the background. C'mon, man! Hopefully, he'll be able to credit A-Tayy with all kinds of stats before long.
It was about what we expected against the OVC foe. Hoped the Cards would get the inside game rocking...and they did...with Mo in the first half and the S&S front line storm-troopers in the final twenty minutes. The Cards even tossed in seven threes (and we love it when Nita goes on one of those successful, successive bombing runs from beyond the arc). Also, the Cards increased on a comfortable first half lead and they did it with and without the starters.
3-0...and three in a row starting next Tuesday in Mexico. Don't drink the water, girls...but soak up some sun, rebounds, steals, points and assists and come back stateside 6-0.
No TV for the tournament scheduled (that we know of) but the UofL radio crew will be there and provide coverage. The first game will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. EST against future BIG EAST member Central Florida.
POST GAME WALZ
We didn't get to listen to all of Jeff's post-game radio remarks but he was pleased overall with the effort tonight. He wasn't very happy about the Cards slow start.