TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
FINAL: UCONN 72 - LOUISVILLE 58
Shoni with 14 in a losing effort to #2 UConn. Cards fought hard and UConn had to leave the starters in most of the way. Jenny will have the recap in the Wednesday CARDINAL COUPLE.
-Connecticut hosts Lady Cards tonight in Hartford.
(Quentin Voigt provides the pre-game scout of Louisville's opponent tonight...the mighty UConn Huskies. Paulie's comments follow. Tip is at 9 p.m. CBS Sports Network has the feed. Cards Radio 790 locally. )
Jitterbugging With Geno's Gals
|Maybe UofL could get Angel|
to strangle Geno tonight?
From 3-point range, UConn's starters connect almost 50% of the time. If fouled, they'll sink 3 out of 4 on average. The Huskies commit a scant 14.7 turnovers a game, create 23.5 assists and grab 41.7 rebound per outing while allowing just 31.5 grabs by the opponent.
The stars of the team are many. Kalena Mosqueda-Lewis averages 16.9 ppg and the 6'0" forward grabs around 4 rebounds a night. 6'4" forward Brianna Stewart scores 14 ppg and nabs over 7 rebound a game. 6'5" post Stefanie Dolson puts in 12.9 ppg and accounts for 6.5 rebounds per contest. 5'11" guard Kelly Faris adds 10.4 ppg. 5'7" guard Bria Hartley comes up with 10.4 an outing as well. Guard Caroline Doty is 17 for 49 from three-point range, third best on the squad. Kiah Stokes a shot-blocking threat who also can burn you from multiple locations on the XL Center floor.
Like a rude partner on the dance floor, these Connecticut girls will attempt to lead at every given opportunity and each break. They are accustomed to winning by large margins and have slipped up only once this year in 14 games, a narrow 73-72 loss to the visiting Irish of Notre Dame. They visited and romped Stanford by 26, who beat Baylor earlier in the season.
So, how do you slay the giant? Keeping them within range on the scoreboard is a must, which means preventing streaks and runs offensively. Going toe-to-toe on the boards must happen. Creating and scoring off turnovers is important. Making a final stab late in the game if close enough to win. In short, having...by far...the best game of your season. Difficult, but not imposible.
Bring home the win, Louisville.
When you look at the Cards 14-3 record, you notice two things. First, no one has blown the doors off Louisville this season. A mere 11 points are the difference between a 3-loss and undefeated season. Second, the Cards have not lost a game this year where Sara Hammond has been the leading scorer.
And, that will be the difference maker tonight. I'm not worried about how the Cards guards will match up with Geno's. They'll be fine. Not sweating the fact that UConn leads the BIG EAST in threes made. Louisville will get out and pressure the shots.
Inside. The paint. How will the combination of Hammond, Reid, Slaughter, Vails and Walton mix it up on the boards with the BIG EAST's leading defensive rebounding squad. Will they be able to get Hammond scoring from inside? Will Mo be able to get her patented "catch and bank for two from the block" working? Can Slaughter go up against the taller Huskies and give the Cards some tough rebounding? Can Smith rotate down and grab a few?
I like the combo of Bria Smith and Shoni in the Cards backcourt. We're liable to see it most of the 40 minutes that this one will go tonight, sans foul trouble, of course.
They'll get their points, too.
This one will be decided from five feet in tonight. The Cards are second in the league in rebounding defense to...UConn. The Cards are third in the league in rebounding margin (+10.3). Guess who's second?
Control the paint, win the game. Get caught watching it dry and get an "L" painted on you. Block out, hit the boards and play interior defense
Do I think Louisville actually has a chance tonight against UConn, in Hartford? Strangely enough, I do. No one is expecting a close game. No pressure on the Cards. Play strong, play positive and throw a few Rutgers-like elbows and forearms to show you aren't scared or intimidated.
(CARDINAL COUPLE COLUMNIST JENNY O'BRYAN WILL HAVR THE RECAP FOR THE WEDNESDAY EDITON OF CARDINAL COUPLE. GOOD LUCK CARDS!)