Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Wednesday Cardinal Couple -- Cougars caged by Cards 93-52
WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- Shoni's seven threes spur Cards to 41 point win
Give Houston credit. They did stay fairly close to Louisville in the first half of the Tuesday night AAC contest. An 18-16 Louisville lead after 10 minutes gone in the first half. A 7-0 start by the Cougars to begin the game. Houston still hanging around at the half...down by nine at 38-29.
It is a 40 minute game, however...and Louisville outscored the Coogs 55-23 in the final 20 minutes to win going away 93-52.
Jeff Walz still wants 40 minutes of hoops. Digging down. Not giving up second chance opportunities. Needing his team to know what works and go with it.
Louisville used a 13-0 run to erase the early Houston lead. After Houston rallied back on their own 9-3 run to get within two...the Cards put a 12-0 run together and led 30-16 after an Emmonnie Henderson free throw with 5:17 left.
The Coogs still weren't ready to head to Gilley's and ride the mechanical bull. A three cut the lead to 32-27 at the 2:57 mark. It was a 11-2 Houston run in progress. The Cards did finish the half on a 6-2 final spurt to lead by nine at half.
Asia Taylor was finding success inside and registered 10 first half points. Shoni knocked down three threes in the 20 minutes and had 11 points. With "E" and "Bree" adding six each...the Cards had safety in numbers. Even if Sara the Hammer couldn't figure out the flow, catch the ball or hit a shot.
It happens. Good players have rough games. The switch between the 2-3 zone and man-to-man baffled the Cards at times in the first 20 minutes. Halftime is for adjustments. Walz an his staff had a few to make.
Would the Coogs find a way to hang around?
They aren't 4-14 for a reason. The UofL 'boom' was on the way and most of the 1000 fans in the stands may have hoped it wasn't going to happen but probably expected it.
It took the Cards a few minutes to deliver the thunder. 38-29 turned into 43-33 at the 16:41 mark. Two minutes later...Tia Gibbs scampered off on a steal and looked poised to to build the Cards lead to 16.
She forgot the rhythm of layups and it resulted in one of the most embarrassing moments (probably) of her career and a UofL unassisted turnover. It was, fortunately...a comedic opening to a blistering Cards finish.
At the 10:00 mark, a Shoni three set the score at 60-39. 90 seconds later, Hammond connected on her second goal of the game to top off a 23-6 Louisville run to make it 66-39.
It was over and the only query remaining was whether then Louisville final point total would be larger than the number of fans watching in the Hofheinz Pavilion by game end.
A Shoni three put the Cards ahead 83-44 with 4:35 to go. The teams struggled through a 10-8 Louisville advantage the rest of the way...UH getting a buzzer-beating three by Palmer at the end to make the final 93-52.
For the Cards, Shoni led with 25 points. Asia had 16 and was dominating on the boards and in the paint. "E" added 14 and showed what a weight loss of 25 pounds can reap. Bria ended with 13 points and Nita Slaughter nailed three second half threes for all nine of her game points.
The Cards come home with a 19-1 record, fifth in the nation and ready to host the Memphis Tigers on Sunday. They are playing very exciting basketball and getting wins...despite Coach Walz post-game disgruntlement about "here and there" miscues.
It's his job.
The gaffes in a 30 point lead against a Houston could be devastating and detrimental in a four-point game against a Rutgers or UConn. Walz is coaching toward the end result while dealing with present-time. Scoreless starts in the first three minutes of a game against Memphis or Rutgers probably won't be so easy to recover from.
No Jude in this one last night. It was announced she'd be a game time decision by Coach Walz. There wasn't a need for her. Shawnta Dyer will have her hip looked at when the Cards get home. She also watched from the sidelines.
Gibbs scored all of her six points in the second half rout. I hope someone got the blown layup/approach attempt recorded for America's Funniest Bloopers.
Hammond finished with four in what had to be a very frustrating night for her. Megan Deines drilled a three for her only points. Cortnee Walton produced three first half points. No 'cash' Monny points...she actually did attempt a three in the game, though.
THE FINAL WORD
41-point wins against the cellar-dwellers of the AAC...while fun to watch...can still make for some brief nervous moments when the contest is a two-point affair 1/4 of the way through. Was there any doubt Louisville would win tonight? No. It just took Cardinal fans through a few early and nervous moments. We should be used to the sputters and stalls by now. It doesn't mean we should condone them.
Unfinished business. It can have several different connotations.
40 minutes. It's maybe a round-trip journey to work and back for a lot of UofL WBB fans. It's also the destination Walz wants the Cards to arrive at in terms of consistency.
In the final analysis, though...the final fifteen minutes of Cardinal WBB hoops Tuesday night was very fun to watch. Add another 25 minutes of the same effort and Geno just might have something to ponder and worry about in 18 days.