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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday Cardinal Couple -- Louisville escapes at Marquette


- "Cardiac Cards" survive at Marquette 64-63

The term "Cardiac Cards" now applies to the University of Louisville women's basketball team as well. Monique Reid's layup with 7.3 seconds left in the game gave the Cards a 64-63 win over Marquette Tuesday night in Milwaukee. Bria Smith preserved the win by blocking Katie Young's three attempt at the buzzer to improve Louisville to 16-4 and 4-2 in the BIG EAST.

The Cards (more specifically Nita Slaughter) started out on fire to begin the contest. Two Slaughter threes and a Sara Hammond follow-up gave Louisville a 8-0 lead just 90 seconds into the game. Slaughter knocked down two more threes in the next 60 seconds and Louisville held a 14-5 advantage with 17:30 on the clock.

Marquette rallied to make it 16-11 but a Shoni three gave Louisville an eight-point edge. But...with Sara Hammond on the bench after picking up her second foul with 15:51 left in the half, the Golden Eagles capitalized inside with Katherine Plouffe and drew within one at 19-18 with 11:36 to go. They would take the lead with 10 minutes left in the half at 22-21 and their 16-2 run gave them a 27-21 lead with 7:56 on the clock. The Cards had been outscored 22 to 7 in a ten-minute stretch.

Louisville battled back over the next two minutes with a 6-0 run and Hammond's score inside to give the Cards a 28-27 advantage with 5:31 showing on the scoreboard. With the game tied at 30-30, Katie Young responded with a three to put Marquette up 33-30 and the Golden Eagles took a 35-32 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Slaughter's 14 points led the Cards in the first half. Plouffe led MU with 13. The Cards were allowing Marquette easy buckets inside and getting burned on fast-breaks. The defense needed to tighten up and the Cards were sluggish. 

Louisville came out strong to begin the second half. Two Bria Smith steals led to three made free throws in the first 45 seconds. Monique Reid's score plus free throw gave Louisville the lead back at 38-35. A Shoni three put Louisville ahead 41-35 with 17:44 left in the game. Two straight buckets by Hammond inside had Louisville leading 49-41 at the halfway point of the final stanza. It looked like the Cards might be out of the woods. The Cards were on a 17-6 run and playing solid defense.

Reid's bucket inside and a Shoni three gave Louisville a 54-44 advantage with 8:25 remaining. The defensive pressing and trapping was getting the job done. Plouffe had four fouls. Things were looking good for the Cards.

Then, the offense for Louisville went on siesta. Young canned another three for the Golden Eagles and Plouffe returned to the game and scored inside to cut the Cardinal lead to five. Shoni's two free throws at the 4:16 mark made it 56-49 Cards. Bria Smith's layup gave the Cards some breathing room at 58-51...but Marquette responded with 4-1 run to set the score at 59-55 and 2:57 on the clock.

The Golden Eagles made it interesting to the wire. Shoni drilled a three to give Louisville a 62-55 edge with 2:32 left...but another Young three and a Brooklyn Pumroy score cut the UofL lead to 62-60 with 1:43 remaining. After a missed Shoni three...Marquette was positioned to tie or take the lead...but threw the ball away with 1:03 left in the game. Louisville still couldn't score...Hammond missing a three on the ensuing possession and Young capped a 8-0 Marquette run with a deep three.

With 13 seconds to go...Marquette led 63-62. 

Instead of calling a timeout, Louisville inbounded quickly and great recognition by Shoni found Marquette napping. She got a quick, length-of-the-court pass to Reid underneath. The redshirt senior rolled one around the rim and finally through the net to return the lead to the Cards with 7.3 seconds left.

This time, Walz used a timeout to set the defense. The Cards had Pumroy bottled up but she managed to get a pass to the left wing to the deadly Young for a three. Bria Smith came flying over to get the block, though, and time expired. Close, but no apparent foul and the Cards hold on 64-63. Visions of the Kentucky loss came to mind...but this time the potential three was contested and deflected. The Cards celebrated by the free throw circle while Marquette head coach Terri Mitchell argued for a foul on the shot.

Shoni led all scorers with 19 points. Slaughter finished with 14, Hammond recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards. Monique Reid's nine points moved her to fifth in all-time scoring leaders at Louisville. Smith finished with eight, Deines had two and Walton one to recap the scoring. Vails, Jude and Shelby all played but failed to score.

Plouffe and Young each had 17 and Pumroy added 16 for Marquette...who held a 25-2 advantage in fast-break points over Louisville. They out-rebounded the Cards 40-32. Louisville went 37% from the floor, hit 9 threes and went 9-18 from the free throw line.


1) Shooting Shoni and Slaughter. Nine threes between the two and some clutch ones by Shoni when the Cards needed a big play in the second half.  

2) Clutch. The Cards made two huge plays to save the game when Shoni found Reid to make the deciding basket and when Smith blocked the buzzer-beating three attempt at the buzzer. Big plays that were the difference in the game.

3) Turnovers. Louisville forced Marquette into 25 of them. And almost lost the game. Still, 25 is an impressive number.


1) Free throws. 50% isn't acceptable at any level of basketball. It hardly works for the #12 team in the country.

2) Layups. Louisville missed some wide-open ones tonight. Easiest shot in the game and you gotta capitalize.

3) Breakdowns. The Cards gave away large leads in both halves. Coach Walz calls it a lack of concentration and effort. They were lucky tonight that it didn't lead to a loss.

All in all, a win on the road in BIG EAST play and you steal those when you can. Plenty of things to work on before dangerous St John comes to town Sunday...but focus appears to be one of the main problems that is keeping this team from taking 10 point leads into 20+ blowouts.

Louisville had the Golden Eagles staggering and on the ropes tonight. They couldn't deliver the knockout punch, though...and almost ended up face-down on the canvas themselves. Call for the crash-cart and power up the paddles, a new bunch of Cardiac Cards are sending Cardinal fans to the ER.

The road is tough, brutal, unforgiving place this year for visiting BIG EAST teams. Louisville got lucky tonight.

Louisville faces the aforementioned Red Storm at 1:30 Sunday. It's Louie the Cardinal Bird's birthday. Coach Walz made it a point in his post-game show of asking Cardinal fans to make the KFC YUM! Center open the 300 level seating by packing 13-15,000 in the house for the game.

And why not? It's going to be a good one. St. John's returns four of the five starters that have beat Louisville twice in a row. Time for fan support and payback. 10000 a game is  remarkable. There were maybe 500 in attendance at the game tonight in Milwaukee to watch a classic hardwood slugfest. 13-15,000 would be phenomenal. Bring a buddy and call a friend!

(And, take your blood pressure medicine...)


  1. What is it with this team and the inability to blow out an average opponent? Up by seven late and let Marquette go on a 8-0 run?

    As Walz said in the post-game "Players tell me 'my bad' when they make a mistake. 'My bad' doesn't catch it anymore." A collapse like this against St. John's or at USF will equal losses.

    16-4 is a great record but Louisville got lucky last night.

    Curtis Franklin

    C'mon Lady Cards. Step on the gas.

  2. Like we mentioned in the post, road wins in the BIG EAST are hard to come by. Look at the men last night. The UConn game is looking more and more like a strong performance by the Lady Cards. Played UConn even in the second half. #4 Duke lost by 30 to UConn.

    Marquette the exception to the rule. ...0-3 now at home in the BIG EAST. 500, the game last night. Sad.


  3. Cardiac Cards? More like Cardiac Coach. I thought I was having a nightmare, watching a rerun of the Kentucky game, but against a vastly inferior opponent. Same story line: build up a 10-point lead by moving the ball and moving without the ball, then try to "stall," which leads to (a) everyone standing around, stagnating; (b) a poor shot as the clock winds down; (c) a futile atempt to press following a missed shot (which is much more difficult to do than after a made basket); and (d) a disorganized defense which complete fails (until Smith's block at the end; Smith is the only player athletic enough to make that play) to guard the one player on the other team who can shoot the 3. Walz is right - these breakdowns will lead to losses against other teams - but he needs to stop making the same coaching mistakes as well.
    And personnel decisions remain baffling. When Walz talk out Hammond at the 15:51 mark (which he had to do), he also took out Vails and subbed in Reid and Denies. Two interior players out; one interior and one perimeter player in. Predictably, the interior defense, which includes rebounding, suffers, and the Cards are outrebounded 23-15 in the first half and lose a lead as Denies, Jude, and Harper play 22 minutes in the first half (compared to 7 in the second half).

    1. Jeff Walz hasn't grabbed a rebound, hit a free throw or made a layup in six years at UofL. If the players had done these basic things effectively last night, the Cards win by double digits...can't blame Coach for this.



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