We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Cardinals fall to the Huskies


( Jenny O'Bryan with the Cards vs. Huskies recap for Wednesday Cardinal Couple. A good effort by Louisville against #2 in the nation Tuesday night...but Louisville drops to 14-4 with a 14-point loss.) 

Louisville Women’s Basketball took to the XL Center last night to face University of Connecticut.  With a record of 1-11 against the Huskies, not many had any expectations of Louisville other than losing the game.  The question for many was how close would Louisville keep it?  That question was answered when Louisville lost to UConn 72-58. 

The opening half was played well defensively for the Cardinals, except in the early minutes when Stephanie Dolson had her way in the paint scoring 8 of the Huskies first 11 points.   Louisville was disruptive to UConn, creating 12 first half turnovers, while committing 13 of their own.    The difference being UConn capitalized on the turnovers, Louisville did not. 

Louisville gave up a lot of offensive boards in the first half and closed the half with a -13 on the boards , UConn dominating that stat 29-16.  Offensively, Louisville struggled and was not able to get their shots to fall.

Jude Schimmel had a great first half for the Cardinals.  She was poised at the point, took good shots and played without fear.  Jude, along with Antonita Slaughter, played tough for the Cardinals.  Combined, they were my players of the game for this Louisville squad. 

At the half our Cardinals trailed 37-23 with Jude leading in scoring with 6 points, and contributing 3 boards and 1 steal.   A stellar first half for the “back up” point guard.

The second half proved to start much the same way as the first.  Dolson was off to some quick points in the paint, having her way in the paint often moving through the paint completely untouched and at times wide open without a defender near her.    

The defensive effort by the Cardinals seemed to be to clog up the paint, disrupt the Huskies stellar passing, and leave the 3 pointers lightly contested.  (The Cards created 18 turnovers on the night, they were doing something right defensively). This seemed to work well the first half.  As all good players and shooters do, they keep shooting, and the ball will begin to fall.    The shots started to fall for the Huskies in the second half, and other than Shoni, Louisville was offensively cold. 

Bria Smith started shooting some pull up jumpers late in the second half, and started to see her shots fall.  A bit of much too little and much too late for the slashing, getting to the rim guard.  Bria was held scoreless in the first half, and finished the game with 7 points thanks to her late second half mid-range jumpers. 

Slaughter had a great game, giving the Cardinals some offensive punch, some big boards and an overall great effort.  She came prepared to play, and that she did.  She, along with Jude, logged the most minutes at 34 and 35, respectively. 

The Cards were at a huge disadvantage in the paint with the Huskies, and Dolson made the Cards pay.  She and point guard Bria Hartley led the Huskies with 16 points a piece, and 4 of the 5 starters for the Huskies ended in double figures.  Compare that to the Cardinals with only two in double figures, Slaughters numbers bumped high in the last few seconds of the game with a bucket +1. 

Cardinal faithful, we knew this would be an uphill battle.  While many of us wanted our Cards to win, many suspected it would end up in the loss column. 

While I do not have official stats for the game from U of L’s website at the time of this writing I am heartened to see (according to ESPN) the Cardinals ended the game with 16 turnovers.  Considering there were 13 in the first half, they did a good job of taking care of the ball in the second half, but just could not get the shots to fall.  One must give credit to UConn for a tough defensive effort making the shots fall all the more difficult. 

What I liked:
Hey Jude- Jude Schimmel played with poise, confidence and a lack of fear.   Playing for 35 minutes her stat line is pretty impressive:  9 points, 6 boards, 2 assists and 1 steal.  Perhaps the best stat of the night for Jude was 0 turnovers.    Playing against the #3 ranked team in the nation, that is pretty impressive for the kid from Oregon known as Shoni’s little sister.  Jude has, and continues, to make her name known.  She is Shoni’s younger sister, but she is forging her own game and name on the court, and it looks good!  Keep it up Jude!

Needing Nita - We have been saying here at Cardinal Couple that players need to step up and fill the void left by Dyer’s injury.  Nita seems to be the one doing just that.   Nita had a strong game with a stat line of 13 points, 6 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and 2 turnovers in 34 minutes of play.  Keep it up, Nita, your team needs this kind of consistent all around effort from you.  Your game has, and continues to grow, and it is showing on the court. 

Mid-range game- Bria showed she can make these shots, very late in the game.  Last season she was predominantly a slashing, getting to the rim guard.  It is obvious she has worked on her mid-range shot this offseason.  I would like to see her utilize it more in the game, make adjustments in the game when she is not getting to the rim and converting.  This is definitely a point of growth in her game and will make her a stronger player and Louisville a stronger team.  This is a bright spot it just needs to be utilized to full advantage, especially when outsized in the paint. 

Things to work on:
-Covered up in the paint- While this was going to be a tough night in the paint due to the size disadvantage, this team has to find a way to stop the scoring in the paint.  I am not sure what the final numbers are with this stat, but it looked like Dolson was schooling the Cards most of the night in the paint.

-Offensive drought- this is going to happen with tougher teams, and tough defensive teams.  I saw plenty of good looks, the shots were just not falling tonight.  When the team works hard to create turnovers they have to capitalize on them.  That did not happen tonight.  It was a tough offensive night.  Credit UConn for making it look so hard to get a bucket. 

-Rebounds-The Cardinals ended up -10 for the night, which does not sound as bad as it some time looked.  At one point early in the game, the announcers stated that UConn had missed 8 shots, and grabbed 5 of their misses.  That is a recipe for a loss.  Again, credit UConn with a size advantage, but this really hurt the team in the first half when UConn was not getting shots to fall.  

The Cardinals fall to the Huskies one more time.  I’d love to see the team beat them before we head to the ACC.  Not sure if another shot at the Huskies will happen this season or not.  Technically Louisville has one more year, as it stands now, to match up during the regular season.    Time will tell if the team will get that ever-elusive win over the Huskies. 

The Huskies have been, and continue to be, one of the best teams in the country.  I’d sure love to see a win, but if not, I like to see a good showing.  Not all our players shined tonight.  If everyone could have a really good game, on the same night, this team just might be able to knock off a top 5 team.  The season is young, there is still time.  We just might see it yet.

( Nice recap by Jenny today on a disappointing but expected by most loss to the Huskies.  The Cards return to the friendly confines of the KFC YUM! Center for a Friday matchup against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Tip-off is 7 p.m. As Coach Walz indicated, the team would love to see 10-12,000 come to the YUM! for this one. See you there!)   


  1. Jenny - Nita's transition to an inside player doesn't seem to be going as well as hoped. (Unless I am incorrect, she started out as 3 point / perimeter player.) Do we have any other options for in the paint?

  2. To me the most disappointing aspect of this game is the comparison between Dolson and Vails. Both came out of high school with comparable rankings from ESPN. Both made the all-freshman Big East team. Dolson has been steadily rising and now is easily regarded as one of the top 5 at her position. Vails had the best game of her career in December of her freshman year against Kentucky and since then has been a non-factor in competitive games. Her minutes have dropped, her productivity has dropped, and she seems to have no confidence. She gets benched early, sits for long stretches, and isn't in at crunch time. I'm not saying she deserves more minutes - unlike other personnel issues, I don't have a strong opinion on this one - but her lack of production, for whatever reason, certainly is disappointing.
    --PDX Phil

    1. We get a lot of e-mails about Sherrone. I think it's a case of where she's developed into a player who fulfills a certain role for the Cards. Coach Walz knows these players much better than we, the observers and fans do, and we trust that he knows how to use them to their greatest effectiveness.

      We used to get the e-mails about "Jude can't do this, Jude can't do that." They dried up.

      I guess you just never know how the catepillar is going to look before it turns into a butterfly.


    2. Paulie, I agree. Up until recently I was one of the "Jude can't play point guard in the Big East" guys. I was wrong.

  3. Regina, not sure how much help is on the way in the paint, the rest of the season. We have who we have, and however they are able to contribute and step up is going to help. Asia Taylor is the only possibility that we have yet to see this season. While I understand she is released to practice I am not sure if she is taking contact yet. Whether we see her this year or not, remains a mystery. Is a red shirt in her future, I do not know. If she makes it on to the court, she can certainly contribute.

    The great thing about 'Nita, though, is how much her game HAS grown. From a wing player, predominantly just a 3pt. shooter, she is continuing to develop a dribble drive, she defends, is creating steals and most importantly she is really tearing down some rebounds. I am impressed with the growth of her game and feel like she still has a lot of potential to be an even more consistent contributor.

  4. Just wanted to say I was aboard the Jude train at the beginning of the season. Said then that this year she would get out from under Shoni's shadow and so far so good, IMO.
    Also disappointed in Vails play, thought she would step up this year and become a rebounding, shot blocking force.
    And, as much as I would like to see Asia this year, I'm thinking she has been out much to long to be any kind of factor. I said that if she isn't already participating in games by the beginning of conference play, it's probably better for her to sit this one out. Takes at least two months to get back into any kind of basketball shape after sitting out as long as she has.
    Lastly, Nita has been arguably the brightest spot for the Cards. I think she is the most steady player so far this year and should have been included in the MVP poll. Tired of saying next year, but have to say it again. If we could make it through a year with the team intact, I think it would make all the difference in the world. Still imagining this team with a healthy Asia, Shawnta, and Tia. Imagining this team next year with those three back at 100%.

    1. Next year does look promising assuming all come back healthy, but we will sure miss Mo's scoring. We've got to get inside scoring from someone.

  5. Jude Rocks! No turnovers in 35 minutes vs. UConn?!?! Amazing! Super Savvy Baller.

    She needs to help get her Sis and Sara going and we'll be cooking with gas.


Please leave your comments here. We ask you be respectful of other posts, no matter how ridiculous they may seem to you. After all, it is CARDINAL COUPLE.

Any attempts to advertise a product or other website here in the comments section without the prior consent of CARDINAL COUPLE will result in a bill rendered for advertising services and possible legal action. We're serious. No more bots.

Now, have your take...