Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Cards face hot Boilermakers in NCAA WBB 2nd round
TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Boilermakers on a win streak as they face UofL
-Caralisa Connell named BIG EAST Softball pitcher of week.
Quentin Voigt with the preview of tonight's Louisville v Purdue NCAA Women's Tournament 2nd round game. GOOD SEATS IN THE END ZONES ARE AVAILABLE FOR JUST $5 FOR THIS GAME. COME TO THE YUM! and GET YOUR TICKETS AT THE BOX OFFICE. THIS IS THE NCAA, FOLKS!
The Purdue Boilermakers have won five in a row coming into tonight's game and six out of their last seven. They are purported to be a tough-nosed team. Purdue brings a 25-8 record into the contest. They were 10-6 in BIG TEN regular season games but came on strong to win the conference tournament.
Coach Sharon Versyp is in her seventh year as Boilermaker boss and her success has been note-worthy. She has had 17 All-BIG TEN performers, three players on the All-BIG TEN Freshman team, six BIG TEN All-Defensive team selections, 11 BIG TEN All-Tournament players (three of then MOP's) and three WNBA draft picks. Just as importantly, 32 of her players have been named Academic All-BIG TEN members, including Lauren Minton -- a Rhodes Scholar finalist.
The 2012-13 team is loaded with talent, including all five of their starters. Leading scorer is 5'6" guard Courtney Moore at 13.5 ppg. 6'2" paint specialist Drey Mingo averages 12.3 ppg and 5'6" guard K.M Houser adds 11.4 a game. 6'2" Sam Osterrella contributes 9.7 ppg and 6'2" Taylor Manual is good for 8.1 ppg. Osterella grabs 10 boards a game and Mingo adds 6 per contest.
Purdue averages 68 ppg, creates 16.1 assists and gets 8.1 steal a night. Losses of note -- UConn 91-57, Notre Dame 74-47, Iowa 62-46, Penn State 69-61, Michigan State 68-61. They also fell to lowly Indiana 62-61.
The Lady Cards chances are good...but they would certainly be boosted by a YUM! Center full of rowdy fans. Louisville needs to ride the momentum of the final 10 minutes against MTSU and play as a unit with the single-minded goal to win.
The Purdue team I saw dismantle Liberty does a lot of things well. They crash the boards hard, block out well and Moore had a spectacular scoring performance against the over-matched Liberty Flames. With three 6'2" starters, it'll be interesting to see if Walz stays with his previous starting lineup of Shoni, Bria, Sara, Sherrone and Nita.
The three keys I see to a Cardinal win are another double-digit performance from the "Sho and Mo" show, Vails giving a solid 20 minutes and the Cards hitting 70% or better from the foul line. The Boilermakers should provide Louisville plenty of free throw chances. The Cards must capitalize.
Versyp will probably try to come up with a game plan to limit Shoni's effectiveness. If she does, it'll be up to Smith, Mo, Sara and Nita to step it up. If Nita can find that three-point efficiency she displayed prior to the BIG EAST Tournament...Purdue will have to drop the "stop Shoni" scenario.
I see the Cards advancing to the Sweet Sixteen with a hard-fought 69-63 win. Not that it matters, but a lot of Cards fans were surprised that Purdue got the #4 seed and Louisville the #5 in the region.
Time to start up the redemption train engine again.
Congrats to Cardinal softball pitcher Caralisa Connell for being selected the BIG EAST Softball Pitcher of the week. She punished both Iowa and Oklahoma last week and held the batters she face to a meager .171 batting average.
Louisville entertains Syracuse this weekend at Ulmer. A Friday doubleheader that starts at 2 p.m. and single game Saturday at noon.
The Cards are #11 in the nation and 26-5 on the season.
We'll update the CARDINAL COUPLE Pick 'Em challenge in Wednesday's column...after all the second round games have been completed. Like I care. I'm so far behind the leaders...I think I'm in the lead.