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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Friday Cardinal Couple --



FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

- Shoni wins women's 3-point contest and Battle of the Champions

- AAC softball no walk in the park for Cards


SCHIMMEL MAGIC...SHONI BEATS THE GIRLS AND THE GUYS

Shoni Schimmel won the State Farm 3-point shooting contest Thursday night in Moody Coliseum on the SMU campus...defeating the seven women contestants in her bracket and then taking  on and beating the guys in the Battle of the Champions against the winner of the men's division.

All this just 48 hours after scoring 31 points in the NCAA Regionals.

The "Umatilla thriller" made it into the round of four with a first round score of 14. The total was tied for the lowest of the four qualifiers...Jordan Hooper (Nebraska) had 14 also...while Tricia Liston (Duke) had 19 points and Odyssey Sims (Baylor) scored 20 points.

Shoni started to heat up in round two. She was second best but advanced to the finals with 22 points. Tricia Liston recorded the best score in the semifinals with a 24.

In the championship round...Shoni matched her 22 from the previous round and Liston fell short with 16.

Brady Heslip (Baylor) was the foe in the the Battle of the Champions. He went first and recorded a 17. Would Shoni stay hot?

You bet!

Shoni hit her last eight shots in a row and finished with a winning score of 22 again.

Sho-time in Dallas...as Shoni adds two more Bears (Sims and Heslip) to her defeat list. Add the win over Griner last year in the NCAA...the UofL star has now eaten all Three Bears porridge and Louisville's finest showed the nationwide ESPN audience what Card fans have known for four years...

Thrrrreeee Shoni rhymes and the words go quite well together. About the only thing she didn't shoot in Dallas...was J.R. Ewing.

They should have let her participate in the dunk contest, too. OK...maybe on a 9-foot goal.

Louisville MBB Luke Hancock participated in the men's 3-point division but failed to advance out of the first round...ruining any chances of an All-Louisville Battle of the Champions.

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CARDINAL SOFTBALL OFF TO SLOW START IN AAC PLAY

The AAC has begun conference softball play...something we apologetically haven't been keeping the closest eye upon over the last couple of weeks. There was some hoops going on we were watching...

Eight teams are in the conference...Cincinnati and SMU not fielding the sport. As of March 30th...here are the standings


Houston       6-0        19-10
UCF                3-0        24-11
USF                3-0        29-8
UConn          2-3         7-20
Louisville    2-4         20-14
Rutgers        1-2         13-10
Memphis     0-5        13-20
Temple         0-3         7-14


Three of the losses Louisville has had in conference play came against Houston over the weekend on the Cougar campus. The Cougars are that good...a perennial powerhouse in previous conferences they've participated in.

Louisville heads to Tampa to take on the USF Bulls beginning on Saturday, April 5th. for three games. Saturday they'll play a doubleheader that begins at 1 p.m. E.D.T.

The Cards Maryssa Becker was Pitcher of the Week last week in the AAC...she won two games against DePaul...pitching 12 innings of shutout ball. For the week, she struck out 18 batters.

The freshman has been a pleasant surprise in a surprising season for Cardinal softball. Other newcomers to the Cardinal roster that are providing big numbers are junior transfers Brittany Duncan  (AAC Honor Roll) and Kelsi Jones.

With a solid returning lineup and these three solid newcomers...plus a stellar incoming freshman class...we expected the UofL Softball team to be pretty much unbeatable. At times, though...returning pitchers Caralisa Connell and Rachel LeCoq have faltered and the Cardinal bats fall strangely silent...especially in the second game of double-headers.

Don't get me wrong...20-14 is better that 14-20... but I didn't see the Cards in double figures in the loss column as conference play began...quie honestly.

Wednesday's shutout loss to UK is a head-scratcher as well. Is all going smoothly at Ulmer? Has the loss of graduated Alicia Wolny and Jen Esteban really set Louisville back that much? Are Connell and LeCoq still on the mend from injuries that beset them at the end of last season?

Time will tell. Plenty of conference games to go. It's strange not to see Pearsall's club in the top 25, though...and one has to wonder if Becker has become the ace on the pitching staff as a freshman. Still time to put a few win steaks together for the pitch-and-hit crew, though... and with warmer weather ahead...let's hope April brings many Cardinal wins and few showers.

paulie
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14 comments:

  1. When you said in the recap of the Maryland game that Shoni would make that last three at the end of the game 4 out of 5 times, I thought that was a bit of an exaggeration. But her three 22 points in a row in the 3 point contest is in fact roughly 4 out of 5. She got an extra point for I think three makes on the money ball, but that is still 19 threes out of 25 tries, which is as close to 4 out of 5 as you can get.

    And as you said, it was great for her to take down two bears in a row in their hometown. Louisville and Shoni also showed Baylor and their coach how to lose with class! Gary W.

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  2. Let's blame the softball woes to date on the weather here which has not been up to our standards for spring. Hopefully, we will have some nice days and all the UofL basketball fans will show up and support the softball team.

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  3. What an exhibition by Shoni. That WNBA draft pick number definitely has improved after that, right? A question for anyone. With Shoni, Nita and Tia graduated, who is the outside threat now? Jude hits them but doesn't take many. Will Walz move Sara out to a wing? What's the thoughts here?

    Blue Lou

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    Replies
    1. Deines and Jude will have to step up. I don't know about the freshmen.

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    2. In my opinion Jude is the only one with a proven stroke from outside and if she's going to run the point next year it seems like she'll continue to be more of a distributor. If the MD game is any indication Bria and Sara are going to have to step back and figure out how to retool their games to the higher level of competition in the ACC. MD's front line was pretty big and aggressive but not that much more so than other ACC teams.

      Walz did an amazing job coaching with Shoni as our primary threat over the past several years. It's really going to be interesting seeing how he adjusts his coaching strategies to the skills of next year's team and the new league. As deep as we are this year it seems to me we're pretty thin from outside with our current returnees.

      I could be wrong but right now I don't see either Bria or Sara as significant outside threats, but maybe with more opportunities they'll surprise us.

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    3. I just don't see Jude as a consistent three-point threat. I think the shooter's role is Deines's to lose...but if she doesn't seize the opportunity and produce quickly, Walz will go to the freshman wings and Deines will be buried on the bench.

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    4. You may be right. She has the skills to hit them but she hasn't been too consistent historically. I think this year she really got away from shooting during the season and focused on her playmaking and defense. I think Jude's game may change in some interesting ways now that Shoni has gone on to the W.

      I like Deines's length, hustle and defense a ton but I just haven't seen anything that gives me much hope for her as a three point threat. I hope I'm wrong.

      Seems like the real challenge next year will be determining who deserves the shots that our 1, 2 & 3 trey threats took this year. Most of these kids can shoot or they wouldn't be here and normally the more reps you get the greater the chance you can get your stroke going.

      As I recall Jude averaged almost 30 ppg in her senior year after Shoni left to become a Card. I imagine that Megan had similar numbers too.

      One thing is for sure, the race is wide open so the kids that want to step into those shoes needs to get in the gym and get some shots up. Hopefully we get some pleasant surprises from our freshmen.

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  4. Great shooting by Shoni! I knew she could do it. I'm sure that she'd trade all of those shots for the last one against Maryland though.

    Did you notice, in the picture of her last shot, the only player not standing and cheering?

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    Replies
    1. Yep. It will be interesting to watch them interact when they get to the W

      https://twitter.com/ULCoachSam/status/452052485465993216/photo/1

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    2. Goes to show character, or better to say the lack of it. In the World games Odyssey as a point guard would not pass the ball to an open Shoni on the wing.

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  5. Most ignorant comment by the "expert" ESPN commentators about Shoni during the last round against Heslip: "With a release like that, she can shoot only wide open looks during games."
    --PDX Phil

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    Replies
    1. Definitely unprepared for broadcast. It appears there were expectations of a different winner.

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  6. PDXPhil... What more can she prove ;-) Very proud of Shoni! I have a feeling this wont be the last we hear of Sho-Time! Referring to another poset--Jude can score!! look how far she has come, she will only get better as I keep saying she is really suppose to be a "Sophmore", when Shoni was hurt at Franklin Jude stepped in to lead the team in scoring. But need another play maker like Mariah Stacona from WarmSPrings Rez, Madras OR, Western part of Oregon, 2hrs South of PDX, ya! lol ---Umatilla23

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  7. Not only did Jude average 27 points per game, she also averaged 9 rebounds and seven assists in her senior year. Also in the Washington/Oregon all-star game her senior year, I think Jude made 18 points and had 9 assists if I remeber right. She came to Louisville a year younger than others because she skipped a year of high school. She was only 17 when she started at Louisville. She may have a break out year again when she gets out from under the shadow of Shoni. But it is going to take a lot both inside and out to replace the four seniors who are leaving.

    The first year they played at Franklin High it was Jude who won player of the year in the conference and region. That was partly due to Shoni recovering from a broken ankle for 5-6 weeks. Jude kept the team winning and kept them in first place as a freshman by age. They also had a cousin playing with them, Smantha McCloud, who is now playing for a small college in Oregon. But it is going to take more than just the current players to put Louisville in the top third of the ACC next year. Gary

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