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Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Cardinal Couple -- A bigger matter

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FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

- UofL WBB "bigs" need to be BIG in next five games.

- Softball opens early in the Jacksonville Classic

                   
                  ********** GAME REPORT **********

Cards up 7-1 in sixth against Bethune-Cookman and still batting. Five run inning so far. Connell tossing a four-hitter. Cards go on to win 8-1 to go to 6-1 on the year.

                       ******** GAME FINAL********

Louisville 8 - Stony Brook 0.  The Cards got a complete game and just three hits  allowed pitching performance from Rachel LeCoq and produced 14 hits in the win this morning. They face Bethune-Cookman at 11:45. We'll have a report on that one later and a full recap of both in the Saturday C.C. edition.

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When you look at the current University of Louisville women's basketball roster, the nine players currently available to Jeff Walz consist of six guards, a center and two forwards. The starting lineup of late has consisted of Sherrone Vails, Bria Smith, Shoni Schimmel, Sara Hammond and Nita Slaughter...the "S" troops, as we like to call them here at CARDINAL COUPLE. The way we see it, Louisville actually has four "bigs" available for front line play currently, with Slaughter...listed as a guard, seeing a lot of time at the "4" or power forward position. Along with Vails, Cortnee Walton and Hammond, they are the "bigs" Walz has available to battle with the front lines of the next five opponents left on the regular season schedule.

DePaul, USF, Villanova, Seton Hall and Syracuse. The first (USF), second (SU) sixth (DePaul), fourteenth (Seton Hall) and fifteenth (Villanova) ranked rebounding teams in the BIG EAST. DePaul, we know from an earlier encounter. Katherine Harry is a rebounder extraordinaire. By far the best missed shot-grabber in the league. USF's Alisha Jenkins has shown she can track down mis-fired attempts as well. Villanova has Laura Sweeney to grab the caroms off the back-board. Syracuse looks to Kayla Alexander, Elashier Hall and Carman Tyson-Thomas to clean the glass. Seton Hall is pretty much rebound-by committee with no one player in the BIG EAST top twenty, like all the players listed above.

How many Louisville players are in the top-twenty in rebounding in the BIG EAST? One. Sara Hammond, 13th. with slightly over six a game.

Not big numbers for the Louisville "bigs". Against BIG EAST competition, Louisville is tenth in the league in rebounding offense and sixth in rebounds allowed. As of 2/7/13, the Cards had a +0.6 margin in rebounding against BIG EAST foes in nine games. Given the lopsided numbers in the Notre Dame game, that's probably no longer a + number.

It's time for the Louisville "bigs" to step up big. If you look at the 200 minutes per team that you have on the court in a game ( 5 players @ 40 per player), Hammond averages 23.8 minutes a game, Slaughter 25.6, Vails 14.6 and Walton 12.6. Since Slaughter spends some time at wing...out of the three main paint players for Louisville, only Hammond sees more than half the game in the paint.

Of course, different factors can come into play in any given game. Hammond is foul prone, yet she leads the team in rebounds. Vails is third in fouls (Smith is second), but plays 10 minutes less a contest than Hammond does.

For Louisville to break the .500 mark (3-2) in the next five games, the "bigs" are going to have to increase efficiency and get some stops inside. Believe it or not, a guard (Smith) lead the team in blocked shots.

There's no doubt that without Taylor, Dyer and Mo available currently for Walz...the three best rebounders on the squad are watching from the bench. It's time for the other "bigs" to step it up. The balance of the season and conference tournament seeding hangs on how well or poorly they perform.

Players are going to miss shots in games...we all know that. Louisville is shooting  45% on the year, which means they miss a little over half the shots they fire up. 

The difference in winning and losing is which team comes up with the ball after they...or the opponent...misses shots. Not surprisingly, in four of the five losses for Walz's team this season, they have been out-rebounded. Kentucky grabbed 37 rebounds, UofL 34. Colorado won the boards battle 44-32. At Hartford, it was Huskies 46-39 on the misses, Notre Dame controlled the backboard 44-23. Only against DePaul have the Cards won the boards battle but lost the game...a stunning 45-32 edge for UofL.

Control the boards, control the game.


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They get things poppin' early down in the Sunshine State.

Louisville softball opens play in the Jacksonville University Softball Classic at the yawning and stretching time of 9:45 a.m. against Stony Brook today. The sluggers go into their next contest right after that with a 11:45 tilt against Bethune-Cookman.

At 4-1, it's been the Cardinal offensive attack that has been the reason for winning. They set a school record with 21 hit against Minnesota on Sunday and plated 16 runs.

Jacksonville is also home of the world's greatest southern rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Let's hope UofL can fly like Free Bird's over the competition, doesn't Gimme Three Steps to any base-runners and has a safe trip back through Sweet Home Alabama. They'll also play in a Saturday Night Special against Ohio State and Jacksonville...ending on Sunday against Stony Brook again. What's Your Name, Little Girls? Why it's CARDINAL SOFTBALL! Tuesday's Gone...time to win some games! Even a Simple Man can tell that Louisville Softball has more power than LG&E... 

(Apologies for all the Skynyrd song references...listening to their Greatest Hits CD this morning...)


-Paulie

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10 comments:

  1. I commented prior to the ND game that if we were to have any chance at a win we would need to rebound. Well, we got killed on the boards in the second half and got routed. Vails plays too soft and Walton makes too many mistakes as a freshman to get significant minutes, so we're pretty much left with Hammond and Slaughter inside. Tough to beat a good team that way. Hopefully Mo's return gives us a little more inside presence.

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  2. Gotta let Walton play thru some of the mistakes. Like I said, between her and Sara, we need both of them to step up their games, as they are the only two bigs we have right now worth playing. Vails hasn't developed at all in 3 years, in fact, I think she may have regressed a bit. We can get away with the 5 guard lineup against some of the lesser teams, but not against tougher competition.

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  3. Cards did out-rebound DePaul in Chicago even tho they lost. If Martin doesn't play Sunday, Cards win big. Harry can rebound but she does not score much.

    Curtis Franklin

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  4. LOL. Paulie, you aren't right -

    Rebounding doesn't win games, the most points does.

    I agree that the Cards are short-handed in the paint. If they can shoot 55-58% against DePaul Sunday, though, it won't matter who wins the rebounding battle. Louisville will win.

    Skip

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  5. TEACH our bigs how to be PHYSICAL.A good ,hard foul (if not in foul trouble) is needed every now and then.Vails and Walton should be given legit minutes to develop.We need their prescense in the paint with our tough upcoming schedule.

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    1. By now we pretty much know what we have with Vails. I agree that Walton needs minutes to develop, and it would be nice to let her play through her mistakes, but we're at the point in the season where we are playing for seeding (in the Big East tourney, but more importantly in the NCAA) and we need to go with the players that are producing.

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  6. Anyone want to hazard a guess on the attendance Sunday? The game is on ESPNU and the men's game at USF is on ESPN at 1:00. I know a few WBB season ticket holders who have told me that they would rather watch the men on TV than the women live. Sad but true. I'm afraid we're looking at 9,000 at best. Hope I'm wrong.

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  7. It was announced yesterday that Epps is on the McDonald's All American roster. That makes two for Kentucky this year. They are killing it with recruiting...wish I could say the same for Walz. UofL needs a really good recruiting class next year. Consistent recruiting is what takes teams to that next level. Hard to believe Uconn didn't have any All-Americans this year.

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  8. Surely this will quiet all of the crazy people out there saying Walz recruited over Epps...

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  9. Epps verballed to U of L as a sophomore. Things change and kids change their minds. I'm not concerned about the guard position - we need bigs (but so do lots of teams).

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