THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- Asia's 18 leads Louisville to win in Philly
Maybe it was the fire alarm in the middle of the night in the hotel Louisville stayed in New Year's Eve. Maybe it was a late night watching the new year come in. Whatever the case, the Cards sleepwalked through the beginning and end of the New Years Day game against Temple 77-68 before a crowd of 300 rabid Owls fans.
Asia Taylor led four Cards in double figures with 18 points before fouling out late in the contest. Louisville committed a ghastly 20 turnovers against the Owls and watched a 21 point lead with five minutes to go evaporate to nine at the buzzer.
The Cards looked sloppy from the get-go, but got two early baskets and a free throw from Sara Hammond to lead 9-5 five minutes into the game. Hammond was whistled for two quick fouls, though, and went to the bench for most of the remainder of the half. The Cards kept the Owls at bay while not looking especially good at it...leading 13-9 with 11:57 left.
The Cards were still up 15-11 with 8:09 to go...Shoni and Asia picking up the scoring slack. A Megan Deines jumper gave Louisville a 17-13 lead with 5:47 remaining. The Owls were not going away...Erica Covile and Natasha Thames scoring against the step slow Cardinal defense.
Louisville clung to a 20-17 lead with 4:44 left in the half. Shoni took over from there...scoring Louisville's next six points and the Cards got two Tia Gibbs free throws to put Louisville up 28-21. Louisville completed the 9-2 first half-ending run with three free throws to lead by ten at the break 31-21. Temple had 15 fouls whistled on them in the first twenty minutes, Louisville seven.
A buzzer beating final deep three of the half went through the net for Shoni...but the score was waved off by bumbling referee Joe Basilli, who then also signalled that Shoni had travelled. If he knew the rules, he would know that time needed to be put back on the clock...but Joe knows nothing except how to make bad and overly dramatic foul calls. It sure didn't look like Shoni travelled and the shot appeared to leave her hands before the clock hit zero.
Louisville had 13 first half turnovers but was 9-12 from the line. They played an incredibly sloppy first half and still led by 10. If it is any consolation, Temple looked worse than Louisville.
The Cards started the second half on a bright note. A 9-0 run over the first two minutes, that included two Asia baskets gave Louisville a 40-21 lead. It looked like the Cards had finally stumbled out of bed, had some coffee and were ready to take care of business.
Temple refused to become victims of the fury but couldn't do much more than just keeping the Cards from creating a blowout. Bria Smith's free throw had Louisville up 43-27 at the 15:40 clock showing. A Gibbs steal and layup put Louisville ahead 49-32. Gibbs two free throws made it 56-38 with 11:05 to play. Louisville got a layup from Monny Niamke to hold a 61-42 edge with 7:20 left to play....and the Cards equalled their biggest lead at 71-50 with 4:49 showing.
Temple made a belated but impressive final run. Or Louisville just lost their intensity and focus. The Owls had whittled the advantage to 73-59 with 2:30 left and drilled a three to cut the UofL lead to 76-66 just thirty seconds away from the finish. The Owls finished the 18-6 run with a final score to create the 77-68 final.
Besides Taylor's 18, Shoni (15), Bria (13) and Sara (11) were the Cards to put up double figures. Jude played 27 minutes and had a three for her total points. Tia Gibbs came off the bench for an impressive nine points.
Natasha Thames led all scorers with 24.
Louisville ended the game shooting 47% from the field and 21-32 from the charity stripe. The Cards had a whopping two trifectas for the game.
The Cards return home to face Cincy Saturday at the KFC YUM! Center for a 2 p.m. matchup. The Bearcats fell earlier in the day to SMU in Cincy.
THE FINAL WORD
It was good to see Asia Taylor turn in a nice road performance. Her two biggest games of the year have come on the road...which draws us to the conclusion that Coach Walz should ban her from the KFC YUM! Center or let her sit with us on media row.
Still...Taylor has helped lead Louisville to a 14-1 start and even the great teams throw in a clunker now and then. The difference is that Louisville won this clunker and continue to get good minutes overall from all 11 Cards taking the court. The problem is that a UConn would have built that 21 point lead with five minutes left to 30.
Temple will win a good share of games in The American conference play. Despite their season-leading scorer Feyonda Fitzgerald going scoreless today and Tyonna Williams being held to just three points, they battle hard despite the 25 turnovers and may just be the third best team in the AAC behind the Cards and Huskies.
In any event, it is a "W" on the road and those are valuable in conference play. Coach Walz wants a big crowd Saturday to cheer on the Cards in a contest that might be the last time Bearcats cross the river to face Louisville women's basketball in the foreseeable future.
$2 beers and Shoni Schimmel. What else do you need?
AS WE'VE STATED HERE BEFORE INNUMERABLE TIMES....WE AREN'T A MEN SPORTS SITE. WE GET E-MAILS, THOUGH AND WE'VE RECEIVED A FEW ABOUT CHARLIE STRONG AND TEDDY BRIDGEWATER.
FIRST, THANK YOU, TEDDY! YOU MADE LOUISVILLE FOOTBALL FUN FOR THREE YEARS. BEST OF LUCK AT THE TEXANS OR WHEREVER YOU LAND. YOUR NEW TEAMS WILL BECOME MY SECOND FAVORITE TEAM IN THE NFL.
IF FATE SHOULD GUIDE YOU TO THE BEARS...I'LL DO CARTWHEELS AND HANDSTANDS AT HALF-COURT OF THE KFC YUM! CENTER. (PREFERABLY WITH NO ONE WATCHING...)
SECONDLY, THANK YOU CHARLIE FOR RESURRECTING THE LOUISVILLE FOOTBALL PROGRAM. I HOPE YOU STAY. IF YOU GO, I UNDERSTAND. TEXAS IS FOOTBALL. YOU COULD BE A FIRST HERE...BECOMING A HIGH PROFILE COACH WHO DOESN'T BOLT AN RUN WHEN A MORE ESTABLISHED PROGRAM COMES CALLING. (SEE CORSO, GIBSON, SCHNELLENBERGER, SMITH AND PETRINO AS REFERENCE POINTS). JUST REMEMBER, KIM MULKEY LIVES IN TEXAS. MAYBE THAT WILL SCARE YOU OUT OF THE JOB INTEREST.