14 minutes without a basket dooms Cards
|Cards at the end of practice before FSU game|
But, we'll try to recap it.
If you missed the first eight minutes of this one, consider yourself lucky. Louisville could do nothing right and FSU was on fire...rolling out to a 21-1 lead ( yes...you read that right...21-1) before Mariya Moore connected on a jumper with 11:50 left in the first half.
The Cards were perhaps hampered by Sara Hammond leaving the game just 103 seconds into play when she collided with a chair on the sideline going after a loose ball. With a bruised tailbone...Hammond went to the locker room and did not return until the 4:22 mark.
In the meantime, the Cards first self destructed and then rallied back. Foul woes and poor shooting from the 'Noles allowed the Cards to chip away steadily at the 20 point deficit...Jude Schimmel and Arica Carter taking the reigns to get Louisville within 11 after Jude's layup with 6:30 remaining making it 27-16.
FSU continued to miss shots and turn the ball over and a wild sequence where Schimmel hit the first of a one and one and then popped a three after the miss of the second one had pulled Louisville with five at 33-28 with 2:48 to go in the first twenty. Hammond returned to score inside and make it 33-30 and Jude would hit a layup with four seconds left in the half to set the halftime score at 35-32.
Louisville had outscored FSU 31-14 over the final 12 minutes of opening half play and momentum appeared to be on the Cards side. Despite the atrocious start, Louisville had rallied to make it anyone's game. Jude's 10 led the way for Louisville. FSU couldn't buy a bucket with a platinum VISA card.
The second half began well for Jeff Walz's crew. A 4-0 beginning gave Louisville a 36-35 lead...their first of the game. Hammond was getting looks and converting. With 10:15 to go this see-saw battle was 51-49 after Sara converted a putback. It was the start of a 6-0 Hammond run which gave Louisville a 55-49 advantage with nine minutes to go.
FSU would not go away. They cut the deficit to 55-54 on a Maegan Conwright three at the 7:48 mark. Louisville fought back, though, and Moore's three ball conversion...her only points of the second half...had Louisville up 60-54 with 5:52 on the clock.
Moore would foul out a minute later and Louisville would fail to hit a basket the rest of the game.
FSU tied it on a Leticia Romero free throw with 1:34 to go and took the lead at 65-63 when Shakayla Thomas canned a jumper with 30 seconds remaining. Another Romero free throw made it 66-63 'Noles with 9.9 seconds left.
The Cards had a chance to tie on a Megan Deines wide open three attempt...drawn up in the sideline huddle after the Cards gained an out-of-bounds opportunity...with 2.9 on the clock.
A step-in after the shot might have drawn her a foul...but the Cards had lost this one way before her errant attempt...with the slow start and dismal finish.
No baskets made in 16 of the 40 minutes of a game is ridiculous. Louisville's lack of heart and fight in the final six minutes was almost painful to watch as the abysmal start of this contest was. Why the Cards stopped going inside late when it was their bread and butter for the entire second half is a mystery to me...
Jeff Walz warned us this Cardinal team would not go through the ACC undefeated. FSU got great guard play from Conwright, Romero and wing Thomas. This one is hard to take, though...given that Louisville was up six with six to go and let it slip away in a final 14-3 Seminole run.
Hammond led the Cards with 19 points...15 of those in the final twenty. Jude finished with 14 and Shawnta' Dyer ended with eight. Bria Smith never showed up and made two free throws early in the second half to finish with two points. As usual, "E" Henderson got some obligatory first half minutes, scored three points and then rode the pines the rest of the way. Arica Carter provided quality minutes off the bench but Myisha Hines-Allen disappeared again with just four points...two per half. After a stellar start to the season, she's managed double digit scoring just twice in the last nine games.
A slow start, floundering finish and futile free throw finesse created this "L". The rally was great to see, but the Cards failed to capitalize on it and deliver a knockout blow when they had the Noles' on the ropes late in the second half.
Losing Moore late to fouls and Hammond's early injury definitely affected the outcome tonight...but great teams overcome adversity and find a way to rise above.
Miami visits the YUM! Center Sunday. They're just as physical as FSU...if not more...and own a win over Notre Dame.
Questions remain about consistency, effort and ability to follow a scouting report with these bunch of birds. It's getting late in the year to start finding some answers. Yes, Louisville is 17-2. They'll remain in the top 10. Florida State deserves a long look at gaining top 10 status.
Last night's effort was the ugliest defensive performance the Cards have turned in this season. If FSU had converted on free throws...they could have won by double digits. If Louisville had accurate charity stripe ability...OK, another topic for another time. They're practicing them.
If Louisville wants it the remainder of this season, they'll respond, regroup and re-dedicate. But it's going to take 40 minutes of hoops the rest of the way each night....not 26.
After the contest...Florida State coach Sue Semrau said her team's goal is to get back to earning the right to host first- and second-round games of the NCAA Tournament. At Louisville, this year's goal is to bring UK into the KFC YUM! Center for men's NCAA hoops and send the Lady Cards packing in March.