THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Schimmel's with 12 each in 32-point UofL win
With 1:25 to go in the first half of the UofL women's basketball game Wednesday night, it was Louisville 33-Bryant 9. Yes, I know Louisville was playing Eastern Kentucky and no...it's not a misprint. EKU guard Jalisa Bryant had all nine of the Colonels points...on three three-pointers. She reached double figures for the half with ten...Jasmine Stafford added a free throw to make it 39-11 at the half.
For the first four minutes, it was questionable whether Louisville was aware they could score, too...down 6-0 at the 16:18 mark. Fatigue, both mental and physical seemed to be the culprit.
A Bria Smith free throw, though, started a eight minute, 19-0 Cardinal run that had Louisville up 19-6 before Bryant connected on her third three of the half. Key to the run was the insertion of Jude Schimmel and Monique Reid into the game...Mo's four straight points got Louisville within one and four straight from Shoni put the Cards ahead to stay.
Louisville got balanced scoring in the first twenty minutes...nine of the eleven Cards who played hit the scoring column...Shoni leading the way with eight. The Cards held EKU to 14.3% shooting (3-21) and had forced 17 EKU turnovers, while committing only four. The 11 points is a season low for an opponent in the first half of a game this year.
Louisville started the same five (Hammond, Slaughter, Deines, Smith and Shoni) in the second half but saw the Colonels get production from someone else besides Bryant and actually used a 6-0 run to climb within 21 points at 46-25 with 13:24 left.
Shades of Tennessee-Martin?
Not tonight. Louisville responded with a 14-6 run that had them up after a Shawnta Dyer layup 60-31 with 8:24 remaining. From there on...it was purely a matter of how much Louisville would win by. Jude's three at the 2:32 mark made it 70-40 and the Cards outscored EKU 6-2 the rest of the way to take it by 34 points. Final: Louisville 76-EKU 42.
Jude and Shoni led the way for Louisville with 12 points each. Jude's came on a stellar 4-5 from the field and 3-4 from the foul line. Monique Reid finished with 11 (in 11 minutes...proving the Mo per Minute point philosophy is still alive and well). "The Hammer" -- Sara Hammond and Cortnee Walton added eight points, Shawnta Dyer seven, Megan Deines six, Bria Smith five, Nita Slaughter four, Shelby Harper three and Sheronne Vails one. All Cards played and all scored.
Louisville outrebounded the Colonels 45-38, with the Hammer grabbing 7. Eastern's Jade Barber (a Louisville Ballard alumni) led all rebounders with 10 and also had 11 points. The Cards shot 42.4% for the game and had forced 24 EKU turnovers. Official attendance was 7942.
Things we liked
1. Turnovers = Points. The Cards scored 29 points off the 24 turnovers and had 44 points in the paint. Good to see the transition game in gear and 17 offensive rebounds.
2. Jude in the Mood. Another solid performance from the sophomore tonight...80% from the field, 75% from the line and a team-leading six assists. She also grabbed six rebounds. We're still waiting to hear if she drove the team bus back to campus.
3. Defense, defense! Louisville couldn't shoot worth a spit early...but made sure the Colonels didn't either. Over eight minutes without a EKU basket after Bryant's first two threes. That works for me.
4. No fold. The Cards saw a mini-EKU run cut it to a 21-point lead in the second half. The Cards did not panic, though...and rolled off eight straight points in response.
Things to Work On
1. Cardinals, start your engines! The Cards were 0 for 10 from the floor in the first four minutes of the game. Maybe jet lag? Not according to Shoni..."We weren't focused mentally". (They got better).
2. Gotta hit the free ones. I'll harp on it until it improves to 70%. 17-28 from the charity stripe. 60.7%. That needs to get to 70% or better. 11 missed points could be crucial Sunday against "you know who".
3. Stark from beyond the arc. Louisville went 3-14 from three-point range. 21.4%. One each for Shoni, Jude and Nita. Another area that must get better. If "Shake'Em" nails over 50% from the arc this year, I'll probably pass out from the shock.
Still...a good, quality win against an opponent who will definitely make some noise in the OVC. A nice tune-up before the UK game. A great way to top off an exciting day in the history of UofL sports.
They said it. (From the post-game presser.)
Shoni on the start:
"We just weren't mentally prepared for this game. We came out and picked it up after a little bit but we just lolli-gagged. Our bench gave us a good spark and for them to come up and take off was good for us."
Shoni on Jude making plays:
" It's awesome! To just watch her go out there or be on the court with her and see do her own thing....it's awesome."
Shoni on what needs to happen between the EKU game and UK game:
"Definitely a day of rest. We been going pretty hard for the past few weeks and just a day of rest is going to help a lot. We want to be prepared for this game Sunday, because it is a big game for us and we want to do the best we can...so for us to be mentally prepared is probably the best answer for that."
Sara on what the team can take out of the win:
" We can't take any teams for granted. Not saying like...'Oh, they're Eastern Kentucky and we're going to come out and blow them out'. Mentally, like Shoni said, we came out and said 'Oh, this is going to be a win for us'. A team like UK, a top ten team...with their defense where they pressure you and deny you...we have to come mentally prepared and bring energy."
Sara on Monique Reid off the bench:
"She comes in and she's instant points. She knows how to score...and she'll tell you that's what she does. Her experience, her scoring ability and being able to get to the free throw line. We're going to need that come Sunday...because they've got bigger post players this year."
Coach Walz on the start of the game:
"We're tired. We're a tired group and I was concerned about that. We need a day off to just get acclimated again. Get back to school. Get some rest. Our travel schedule has been crazy. I think that had something to do with it. And, we're 0 for 10 in our first shots. We had some good shots. We just missed them. Then, we give up back-to-back threes where we just weren't there mentally. We're probably more mentally tired than we are physically. And with what we're asking them to get done, you can't be mentally tired".
Walz on Jude:
"I've challenged her. Now that teams know how well she passes the ball, they're going to force her and make her try to finish. And she hit some nice pull-up jumpers tonight. She's probably the best we've got going off ball screen. Just how low she gets. She passes the ball extremely well. I was really pleased for her."
( As were the fans, Coach. Cats Sunday. Volleyball Thursday and Friday. Football, too. It's a great time to be a Cardinal fan. But, has there ever been a time when it hasn't been?)
Best Walz quip of the night.
When asked about the 11-point first half performance of EKU:
"Yeah, and one player had ten of them. If we could have guarded her, it would have been a pretty good first half."
As mentioned, Volleyball tonight in the YUM! against Belmont.
This is your chance to see exciting NCAA Volleyball action featuring the University of Louisville Cardinals and the Tenn. vs. Michigan match should be a very exciting one also.
The Cards are fortunate to have this first and second round match-up at home and if they are successful..they'll head to Berkeley, CA for the regionals. Then, it's back to the KFC YUM! Center for the Final Four if they take two on the left coast.
Anne Kordes and her staff have done a wonderful job with this team. In only her second year here, she's combined a roster of seasoned veterans and talented newcomers to sweep the regular season and tournament titles in the BIG EAST. In the ACC, they'll face even tougher opponents and challenges.
They deserve our support. Please get out to provide it Thursday amd Friday if at all possible.