Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Wednesday Cardinal Couple -- Redemption Train halted. UConn93 - UofL 60
WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Lady Cards fall in Championship Game by 33
Connecticut stopped the Cardinals in their tracks. The UConn squad that emerged with a new purpose after losing to Notre Dame in the BIG EAST finals didn't miss a beat tonight in a dismantling of Jeff Walz's Louisville Cardinals 93-60 Tuesday night in New Orleans.
The Cards did make a game of it for awhile. Buoyed by a game-opening three from Sara Hammond, Louisville battled the Huskies with skill and smarts for the first six minutes of the game. Bria Smith's free throw with 13:53 left in the first half gave Louisville a 14-10 lead.
You had to believe at that point. The Cards were hitting shots and making free throws. Taking the fight right to UConn and frustrating them...as evidenced by Caroline Doty's flagrant foul, cheap-shot elbow to Bria Smith's face just three minutes into the game.
Then, the wheels fell off Redemption Train. The ugly ducklings and party crashers got tossed by the bouncer.
Bria Hartley scored back-to-back baskets to tie it. Kaleena
Three players. Nineteen points. Walz looked on helpless. It was sound, fundamental clutch basketball and you can't coach against that.
And...that was the end of any hopes of Louisville pulling off the major upset. Although the Lady Cards would play the Huskies even until halftime...Louisville went in at the half behind 48-29.
The Cards would offer a brief rally in the final period. Down 60-38...back-to-back threes from Monique Reid (surprise!) and Jude Schimmel had the Cards within 16 points with 13:03 left on the clock.
It was just poking the bear.
UConn responded with a 23-6 run over the next six and one half minutes before Bria Smith hit a jumper to make it 84-52 with 6:20 left in the game.
Breanna Stewart led all scorers...the freshman ending her incredible tournament run with 23 against the Cards. Sara Hammond finished with 15 for Louisville. 11 in the first twenty minutes. 13 in the first 21 minutes. No other UofL players reached double digits.
An incredible run for the Lady Cards, though, this season. a cornerstone in creating an image that isn't based on the Angel McCoughtry effect. An incredible post-season run by a team that believed, bought in to the coaches teachings and shocked the women's basketball world several times over the last couple of weeks.
Sometimes...you just get beat by a better team, though... and that happened Tuesday night. Congrats to the Huskies.
They were incredible to watch Tuesday night...those Huskies were. And, they have most of their squad returning next season.
It won't be the BIG EAST...instead, the AAC or whatever you want to coin it. Maybe the BIG EAST will take them back...or us, for a season. You don't want these Huskies.
This Cardinal team will be back, however... and a contender again next season. A heartfelt thanks to all the Lady Cards for making this party a fun one to crash. You gave us joy, pride, hope and the incredible, improbable, wild thrill of beating a team that everyone said would not lose. Covering you was a privledge, not a task and very incredible at times. Win or lose, you girls are the greatest.
The future looks bright for Jeff Walz's Lady Cards.
When's the first pre-season game for 2013-14?