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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Cardinal Couple -- Slaughter and company declaw the Bearcats


SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

( Jenny O'Bryan with the write up on Louisville's 64-45 win over Cincy. As we like to say here at CARDINAL COUPLE...a "W" is a "W"...and Louisville produced one today. )



On a day when Louisville fans were experiencing the drama surrounding Coach Charlie Strong, I headed to the YUM Center for my weekly dose of women’s basketball and what I thought would be a blowout win.  A win was to be had, 64-45, it came with it’s own drama. 

The game started with abysmal shooting from the Cardinal squad.  The first bucket for the Cards came somewhere near the 15 minute mark in the first half.  The Cardinals finished the first half shooting just 18% from the field.  However, if the shooting was bad, the game calling by the folks in stripes was worse.   It was by far the worst officiated game that I have ever witnessed.

If 8,000 fans screaming, yelling and booing were not enough, the stripes were getting it from both benches as well.  Coach Walz was the first to receive a technical, after what had to have been the 5th time in a row a Cardinal was fouled under the basket, with a no call from the refs.  A few minutes later Coach Jamelle Elliott of Cincinnati was the recipient of the next technical.    Truthfully, if the refs were doing their jobs, the technicals would not have been called.  It is ludicrous to me that hand checking fouls are being enforced to the degree they are this season, yet there is such blatant no calls in the post.  This is the second game where the referring has been just atrocious.  Something has to change.  Just awful.  I digress. 

The Cardinals came out in the second half and looked like a different squad.  The officiating evened out and our favorite basketball squad started to look like the team we all know and love.  The defensive effort for the day was very, very good.  The Cardinals forced 27 turnovers and 19 steals with 7 blocked shots.  It was a very good defensive effort. 

While it was suggested that Slaughter may play today, she most certainly saw action today.  Slaughter entered the game to a standing ovation of 8,000+ fans.  It was a very special moment to see her back on the court.  Welcome back ‘Nita, you have been missed!

Bria Smith stood out to me today, defensively.   She was all over the court.  Her stat line for the day included 7 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block and 4 steals.  While her offensive output was not to her normal standards it did not detract her from still impacting the game.  It was a good effort from her today. 

Emmonnie Henderson also stood out.  She has such soft hands.  Her back to the basket game is very good.  I cannot state enough how excited I am to watch this young player mature over her career as a Cardinal. 

Shoni carried the Cards today, offensively.  While all the Cardinals, except Niamke, scored, Shoni was the only in double digits.  She had a strong second half to help the Cardinals pull away. 


While the outcome of this game was never really in doubt for me, it was a really hard first half of ball to watch.  The Cardinals have to find a way to play a full 40 minutes of ball, offensively and defensively.    While I do not expect many big challenges for the Cardinals in conference play, there are a few teams that can (Rutgers, USF), and will (UConn), give the team fits.  The team has a lot to figure out before those games arrive. 

With all of this being said, the Cardinals are ranked #7 in the country and are 15-1.  While there are things to work on the team is on track to take care of unfinished business. 


(Slaughter’s return could not have come a game too soon, either.  The bench was looking a little hobbled today.  Jude Schimmel is wearing a boot for an ankle sprain after practice Friday while doing some extra shooting.  Tia Gibbs never made it out of her sweats, apparently suffering from back spasms.  Shawnta Dyer spent the first half riding a stationary bike in the tunnel to the locker room, suffering some discomfort (presumably in the knee).  While Sherronne Vails is already sitting out for the year due to an injury during last seasons post season run, she was on crutches on the sideline in a huge brace on her left leg.  Lest one forget, Starr Breedlove has yet to see time due to concussion symptoms and the walk on (Diamond Marshall) has yet to come out of sweats.  Good lord, the bench looks like the walking wounded. )

JENNY

CLICK BELOW FOR COACH'S POST GAME COMMENTS

JEFF WALZ POST GAME COMMENTS

EDITOR NOTES:

- SLAUGHTER WAS THRILLED TO BE BACK IN ACTION AND GAVE LOUISVILLE 16 STRONG MINUTES. FULL OF ENERGY AND SMILING EAR-TO-EAR IN THE POST GAME PRESSER...IT WAS SO GOOD TO SEE THE LOUISVILLE NATIVE TALK ABOUT HOW SHE WAS THRILLED TO BE BACK OUT WITH HER TEAMMATES. IT IS A REMINDER THAT WE NEVER REALLY KNOW WHAT TWISTS AND TURNS LIFE CAN PROVIDE. THIS ONE IS AMAZING AND GOOD. SHE HEARD THE STANDING OVATION THE CROWD GAVE HER WHEN SHE ENTERED THE GAME AND SHE STATED IT ALMOST BROUGHT HER TO TEARS.

- WALZ SPOKE OF HER IN GLOWING TERMS, STRESSING THAT BESIDES BASKETBALL, SHE HAS A LIFE AHEAD OF HER WITH PLAYING WITH HER POSSIBLE CHILDREN DOWN THE ROAD AND NOT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT HER HEART AND LUNGS. YOU COULD TELL THAT COACH WAS EXTREMELY UPSET WITH THE LEVEL OF OFFICIATING TODAY BUT HE KEPT SILENT ABOUT IT IN HIS REMARKS....PREFERRING TO TALK ABOUT THE RETURN OF SLAUGHTER.

-SHONI, NEVER AT A LOSS FOR WORDS, ALSO SPOKE OF HOW GREAT IT WAS
TO HAVE 'HER SISTER' NITA BACK OUT WITH HER ON THE COURT. THE TWO ARRIVED AT LOUISVILLE AT THE SAME TIME AND IT LOOKS LIKE THEY'LL GO OUT TOGETHER.... SHE ADMITTED THE FIRST HALF FIASCO WAS PART CARDINAL INDUCED AND A BIT CINCINNATI DEFENSE ORIENTED. ONE THING WE KNOW ABOUT SHONI, SHE'LL NEVER STOP SHOOTING AND SHE EVENTUALLY SHOT THE CARDS OUT OF THE FUNK.

-THE CARDS WERE GETTING GREAT LOOKS IN THE FIRST HALF BUT LOUISVILLE MUST FINISH AROUND THE BASKET BETTER. TO BE ONLY UP BY ONE AGAINST UC LATE IN THE FIRST HALF IS 'NERVOUS TIME'. THE BEARCATS, LIKE THEIR COACH JAMELLE ELLIOTT, ARE A BRAWLING BUNCH OF BALLERS WHO GIVE NO QUARTER AND ARE FUNDAMENTALLY SOUND, IF NOT OVERLY SPECTACULAR OR TALENTED...THEY'LL METHODICALLY LOSE THE MAJORITY OF THEIR AAC GAMES THIS SEASON...HEARING ELLIOTT'S UNMISTKEABLE SCREECH ECHOING OFF ARENA WALLS AND GETTING THE OCCASIONAL DEEP THREE FROM KAYLA COOK. NO DOUBT THEY MISSED DAYEESHA HOLLINS TODAY...MISSING HER SECOND GAME BECAUSE OF INJURY...BUT THEY HAVE PLENTY OF OTHER BUMPERS AND BRUSIERS TO MAKE LIFE INTERESTING IN THE PAINT FOR THEIR OPPONENTS.  

-PAULIE

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6 comments:

  1. Nice write up. Agree 100% on Henderson. Good bball IQ, great mid-range game and fierce rebounding. Excellent presence around the basket and her shooting efficiency is through the roof even with her limited minutes.

    Once she works herself into real college basketball shape and adjusts to the foul calling situation it's going to be very tough to keep her on the bench. I love her game and no BS attitude on the court. My money is on her being a three year starter beginning next year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I second or third the earlier thoughts on "E" talent and believe in her future
    All-American status.

    I also noticed that Dr Ramsey was again in attendance at Saturday's game. Anyone want to speculate on the national percentage of Division 1 University Presidents who attend the women's basketball games? Another top 10 ranking for UL!

    Sandy W.

    ReplyDelete
  3. UL has a very special group of forward thinking administrators whose credibility and talent overshadows that of any "here today gone tomorrow" coaches. I trust that just as soon as we fill in the gap of being left without a quarterback that has actual game experience we will be saying Charlie who? as the Cards continue it's forward and upward progression on the national stage.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good points on the strength of UL Athletics. As an out-of-stater I'd just say that there is so much money involved in elite college football it isn't too surprising that Strong is going to one of the strongest football programs in the nation. Schnellenberger did the same thing and it didn't mitigate what he did for UL football. With Bridgewater leaving and big bucks hanging out there it was probably an offer few people could refuse. He did a great job while with UL. Good for him.

    That said, Walz is positioning himself as the heir apparent to Geno in WCBB coaching depending upon when the Wizard of Storrs retires. With his Kentucky roots I don't think he's going anywhere. That said I don't know if his wife is a KY native or not. If she is I think we've got a lifer on our hands.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walz has commented on numerous occasional that this is the job he'll either retire or get fired from. He has no interest (currently) in other or future job openings. That being said, the $$$ sign and prestige can be a mighty draw.

      Delete
  5. Walz, Petino, Jurich, Pearsall, Dr. Ramsey and others @ UL get it. Football folks have been slow learners and keep chasing the shiny new ball.

    ReplyDelete

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