Monday, January 20, 2014
Monday Cardinal Couple -- Gibbs, Slaughter thwart Mustangs upset bid 81-66
MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- Five Cards in double figures in win over SMU
It's often said that the mark of a good team is the aspect of an opponent not knowing who or where the "boom" is going to come from.
The University of Louisville got explosions from Tia Gibbs and Nita Slaughter yesterday in a 81-66 win over SMU yesterday in Dallas, TX at the Moody Coliseum in front of 1650 white-clad fans.
Tia Gibbs had 20 points on 7-10 shooting and Nita Slaughter added 17...two of five Cards that reached scoring double figures...as Louisville erased a two-point halftime deficit and led by 20 at one point before corralling the Mustangs by 15 points.
It was the third loss in a row for SMU and 11th. straight win for the Cards
The Cards shot 55% in the final twenty minutes.
Louisville used a 11-0 run shortly after the final half started to erase any doubt that SMU would pull off the upset. Trailing 37-33, the Cards got a Shoni Schimmel three and Sara Hammond layup to take the lead. After Hammond drew a charge to get the ball back in UofL's hands, Schimmel and Slaughter drained threes and SMU suddenly found themselves down 44-37 with 17:23 to go.
The run extended to a 21-7 advantage when Slaughter buried another trifecta to make it 54-44 and UofL would eventually push that to a 20 point advantage with 3:41 remaining before settling for the 15 point win.
It wasn't easy for the Cards in the first twenty.
SMU led most of the way early and pushed their lead to 32-24 when Korina Baker sank a three with 5:30 showing on the clock. Louisville responded with a 9-1 run to tie it at 33...Gibbs getting seven of those points.
For SMU, Keena Mays led the way with 20 points...but couldn't explain the second half collapse of the Mustangs:
" I don't know if it was a lack of focus, a loss of focus, but they (UOFL) came out shooting threes and came out more aggressive. We had to come out with the same energy that we had in the first half and it just didn't happen for us."
The Cards sank 10 of their 24 long range bombs...Shoni hitting two and Tia and Nita four each. The Cards even shone at the charity stripe...sinking 17 out of 21 for 81%.
Coach Walz was complimentary about Nita's big game:
" It's big for our program and big for the ball club. She's felt good conditioning-wise the past two weeks, but there's a big difference between running sprints and being on the treadmill to getting out there and getting your game legs. When you've got to stop and get your composure and knock down a shot, it takes awhile. I still think she's about a week away from getting back into her prime."
That could spell trouble for Memphis...who visits the KFC YUM! Center on Jan. 26th.
Besides Nita and Tia, Shoni hit double figures with 12 points...Asia Taylor contributed 11 and Sara posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. Walz used Bria Smith (7 points), Hammond, Taylor, Nita, Shoni and Tia most of the way...Emmonnie Henderson picked up four points, two rebounds and four fouls in just five minutes of court time.
Cortnee Walton ( 8 minutes -- 0 points), Megan Deines ( 7 minutes -- 0 points) and Monny Niamke ( 7 minutes -- 0 points) also hit the court for the Cards. Nita drew the start yesterday in place of Monny.
It was another sit-and-watch event for Jude Schimmel (ankle) and Shawnta Dyer (knee).
The Cards (18-1, 6-0) travel south to Houston next for a Tuesday 8 P.M. tilt against the Coogs. No TV for this one (yet) as far as we know.
THE FINAL WORD
ANOTHER EVENT WHERE THE CARDS PLAY TO THE LEVEL OF THEIR OPPONENT EARLY AND THEN USE A DOMINATING RUN TO CREATE SOME DISTANCE. IT IS ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL TO SEE TIA AND NITA STEP UP WITH HUGE GAMES. THESE ARE TWO PLAYERS THAT WILL BE ESSENTIAL IF THE CARDS ARE GOING TO CHALLENGE THE HUSKIES THIS SEASON AND THEN ULTIMATELY GO TO NASHVILLE.
THREE STATS THAT STOOD OUT TO ME:
1) LOUISVILLE CONTINUES TO MASTER THE BOARDS AGAINST OPPONENTS. A 43-30 ADVANTAGE IN REBOUNDS. COACH WALZ LIKES REBOUNDING. IT GIVES HIS PLAYERS A CHANCE TO SCORE.
2) 45.8% FROM THE FLOOR. THE CARDS HAD BEEN STRUGGLING OF LATE TO REACH THE 40% MARK. TO DO THIS, ON THE ROAD AND AGAINST A TEAM THAT HELD LOUISVILLE TO JUST 71 POINTS IN THE KFC YUM! CENTER IS IMPRESSIVE.
3) 17-21 FROM THE LINE. WE HARP ON IT HERE. COACH WALZ HARPS ON IT. A 70% RATE ON UNGUARDED SHOTS IS A MANDATE. SARA HIT ALL SIX OF HER ATTEMPTS SUNDAY, BRIA NAILED THREE OUT OF FOUR.
LOUISVILLE COULD EASILY GO INTO THE RUTGERS TRIP 20-1 AND 8-0 IN CONFERENCE. WE SHOULD PROBABLY AVOID LOOKING AHEAD...AND MEMPHIS VISITS SUNDAY AFTER KNOCKING OFF RUTGERS LAST WEEK. A 20-1 START WOULD BE THE BEST IN LOUISVILLE WBB HISTORY, THOUGH, AND IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE CARDS COULD BE 23-1 WHEN THE CARDS VISIT UCONN ON SUNDAY 2/9/14.
BUT...WE'LL VOW TO WATCH THIS TEAM UNDER THE 'ONE DAY CONTRACT' THAT RICK PITINO SPEAKS OF. HOUSTON NEXT.