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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cards falter early and late in 68-63 loss to FSU -- Thursday Cardinal Couple

14 minutes without a basket dooms Cards

Cards at the end of practice before FSU game
The University of Louisville women's basketball team suffers their first ACC loss of the season in Tallahassee to FSU in a game that almost defies description after all the swings in momentum and blatant futility. This was three separate games, actually...

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 ( 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.

It airballed.

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. 




  1. Well put Paulie. I'm proud of the way the team got right back in the game and didn't fold the tent. A tough game to lose but a lot more competitive than I expected. Well done ladies. That was progress.

    1. Hey Wade - you seem like a real Card fan which is great but it would be cool if you wouldn't throw up all of the games you think the Cards will lose in your ESPN comments. Makes is look like you kinda think we suck, if you get my meaning.

      Plenty of bad ball was played on both sides tonight but the fact remains that if we'd hit our free throws at a reasonable rate we would have walked out a winner. The scary thing is we miss 11 free throws shooting 56% and still beat FSU's 41%. Not very impressive for WCBB generally assuming both of these clubs are top twenty teams.

      Hopefully we learn from the loss and get better.

    2. BurnBrother I appreciate your feedback and always respect your comments because frankly they're always insightful unlike a lot of mine I'm sure, lol. However, I say what I feel and I've seen nothing that tells me we can beat upper echelon ACC teams for a few reasons. You disagree and I respect that. Don't let it bug you. Hopefully, I am out to lunch.

    3. I don't think it's possible to start a game worse than the Cards did last night. In spite of that and barely shooting over 50% on free throws we were a missed three pointer away from taking the game to overtime with a legit shot at winning it.

      ACC Winless BC takes down Duke last night but we're supposed to have little to no chance of beating the Dookies? We've got no prayer against teams that have lost between 4 and 6 games this season? None of these teams are UConn. Florida State is now on top of the ACC and we should have beaten them in spite of how poorly we played last night.

      I just don't see an upside as a fan of this team to keep beating the "we'll be lucky to beat anyone from here on out" drum. There are probably places to sell that program I just don't think a UofL fan site is the best choice.

  2. Lots of reasons why we lost this one. I'm focusing on a 20-second stretch with about 13 minutes to go in the second half when Hammond missed a wide-open layup off a nice feed from Dyer, FSU missed a layup, Moore missed a wide open fast break layup and then committed a foul on the rebound. Plus key late missed free throws. Plus some really bad play from Smith and Schimmel late. Gotta get better play than that from two seniors.

    1. I have had no problem with Jude's play, we don't get back in it without her. A major problem with Bria's. How many TO's did she have dribbling into the same trap over and over.. I think not having Hammond the first 12 minutes of the game also hurt. Henderson was playing little defense and taking bad shots in her place. We have to figure out how to go 2-2 in this stretch. I am still predicting 6 losses in the ACC regular season. Anything under 6 and this team def over achieved. I think Moore fouling out also hurt us the last couple of minutes.

    2. No doubt Jude could have played better down the stretch when it mattered most, but she lead the comeback, pulled down 8 rebounds and was second leading scorer. Seems to me we lost primarily because Bria basically didn't show up at all and our two freshmen starters played like freshmen. That and our YMCA level free throw shooting were enough to sink us tonight.

    3. Wow, someone who agrees with me on 6 conference losses. Amazing!
      Pray we improve so it doesn't happen but not the end of the world either way. In fact, I'd rather see us lose and play tough than win ugly and uninspiring against average teams.

    4. Bria's freshmen and soph years were the best games she ever played. She doesn’t rebound as aggressively as she used to. Wonder if she still has lingering problems with her knees.. Hopefully she plays better soon. It would be a shame if she is not selected in the WNBA draft. Sara has made a strong case for 2nd round with her strong play recently

    5. We won't lose more than 3.

  3. Holy Cow. Boston College playing at home beat Duke tonight. I could have read it wrong but I don't think so... lol.

  4. A great effort Cards. Your periods of no scoring made the difference tonight for us. Both teams need to enroll in remedial free throw classes. But, we'll take it.

    FSU Stu

  5. I was also very disappointed by the way this game started and ended. However, getting back in this game against a VERY good Florida State team tells me that the talent and potential are there. This will not look bad on the team's resume...a 5 point loss to a team on their court that will likely end up finishing in the top 10. Sometimes a loss helps with motivation. Couldn't happen at a better time, imo. I still think we are in the Elite 8 and maybe the Final 4 by the end of the season. Walz always has his teams playing great in the post season. Go Cards!

    1. Good comment. A wake up call for sure. They just need to keep their eye on the prize.

      Had to feel bad for Megan on the missed three. She is our second best three point shooter at 35%, right behind Jude's 36%. There's no way Jude can take that shot because she had to get the ball in plus Megan's length would be helpful on a last shot attempt. Great play call, set up and execution. Megan was wide open but it just didn't fall. Would have loved to see that happen if for no other reason than for Megan's confidence. Hopefully she doesn't dwell on it. She needs "Shoni Memory" for that shot.

  6. I agree that this is not a bad loss, and really does not hurt the resume. We have been overrated as #4, primarily because of teams losing to teams they should have not lost to. FSU is better than #17. Pretty evenly matched game, with abysmal FT shooting. Walz has been saying all along we will lose game(s) due to FT shooting. I am hopeful we only have to learn that lesson once.

    BC bead Duke. However, make no mistake, Duke is not a cakewalk. Duke is losing b/c they can not defend the 3 ball. Fortunately for them, we can not shoot it much, either. We rely heavily on the inside game, and that is a harder fought win with Elizabeth Williams in the paint. That game is not a gimmee.

    Freshman being freshman, I have no problem with. We have relied heavily upon Moore and Hines-Allen. The disappearance of B. Smith anytime we have any serious level of competition is disappointing and mind-boggling.

    I also agree that this loss could be the best thing that happens to the Cards. I imagine there are kids in the gym right now practicing their FT's. No one is more disappointed in this loss than them.

  7. I'm wondering if Paulie ever played college basketball and for that matter, how many of those who have commented. I used to read this blog all the time,:but don't very much anymore. It's too often "3rd grade" level writing and a real lack of understanding the game of basketball.

    1. Well, your beard looks stupid.

    2. I played college ball on scholarship. How about you?

    3. To respond to your comments, Mr. advised that yes, I did play high school basketball and football. I was not offered a college scholarship. There wasn't much need for a 6'3" center at the next level. I did manage to get a college degree, though...and it turned out better than the "3rd grade level of writing" you previously asserted present here.

      I am sorry that my website in not Pulitzer Prize material. We run a site designed to promote the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports. There wasn't a whole lot of joy or excitement to write about in last night's game..but I feel that the article (however intelligence lacking it may be) is a fair and accurate recap of the game.

      I appreciate you reading and commenting. I would have loved the chance to play college ball. I wasn't good enough. I have, however...watched the women's college game in great detail for over 35 years.

      I guess the bottom line is this....if you want to insult me, that's your prerogative. I will turn the other cheek. Every man is entitled to their own opinion. What they do with it is their business.

      I have interviewed your daughter numerous times over the last four years. I realize her commitment and dedication to the game. She is knowledgable and handles herself quite well in public and press venues. I'm sure she'll do well in whatever awaits her after college.

      Best of luck to you in your future endeavors.

      World peace.


    4. Hit 'em with your trophies, Earl. I wonder how your daughter feels about you popping off? Thanks for today's WTH comment. Go back to your village. They are missing you.

      The Real Joe Hill

    5. Is that you Grandpa Walton? If you don't like the site then don't visit the site. I've known Paulie for 25 years. He is a good, honest and intelligent guy. Did you even read the article? It seems to me that there were only props for your daughter. I hope life is good on Bitter Street in Pissedoffville.
      Nick L

    6. OK, gang. Lay off the Earl...we don't want Matthew Mitchell for Governor getting involved here. Opinions are opinions.


  8. Thanks. I will get my beard taken care of. Yes, I was a two time all conference, and honorable mention All American in college.All three of my children were 1,000 point scorers in high school and competed in NCAA Div. 1 sports. My other daughter was also a All-State basketball player who received basketball scholarships, but instead accepted a track & field scholarship and became an academic all-american. My son was an exceptional basketball player, also offered scholarships, but chose to swim collegiatly for the 2nd winningest. Coach of all time. My youngest daughter was an All-State track and field athlete and elite swimmer, but chose to play basketball in college. You all may know her, Sara has developed into a pretty good basketball player. Despite naysayers, she has helped lead a UofL team to a 17-2 record, top 10 program this year, again. I've played, coached, referee to. So, yes, I do know something about basketball.

    1. You must be the preacher then. Given your vocation I'd think you'd come here and try to add some positive value as opposed to throwing rocks at Paulie and other commenters and judging their knowledge of the game.

      I haven't specifically asked God about it but I'm pretty sure that you haven't been blessed from on high with a unique understanding of the game and I doubt your boss would be particularly thrilled about that "third grade" boink either. That said if you do happen to have that unique Gift of perfect basketball knowledge and wisdom I suggest you step up and share with the unwashed masses here on the blog. Maybe you can show us the light.

      Everybody here loves Sara and you know it. For the record although it may not be obvious to you most folks that hang out here either played in HS or HS and College and / or have relatives that play organized sports at those levels also.

      I don't know of any true Card fan that wishes anything but good luck and success for your daughter. That said she isn't perfect just like all of us. If she's going to get drafted and succeed in the W she's going to have to be able to take some criticism. Just ask Shoni. Some heat comes with the territory. If it's too much now on this friendly little blog it will definitely be too much at the next level.

  9. Hello Card Couple and fellow Card fans. Haven't commented in a while but still read faithfully.
    Had to comment today, however, mostly because of Mr. Hammond's comments.
    Mr. Hammond, first, thanks for Sara, she is one heckuva player. But, hisses, on your comments about this blog. You have to recognize it for being just that. I ran across it quite by accident and have been a loyal reader ever since. It is a fan blog, not a national magazine with subscriptions, no big name journalists here, just fans with opinions. I, myself, never played college ball, not even high school, but that was due to my being a bad boy in high school. I did, however, have quite a reputation as a so-called "streetballer" here in Louisville, and understand the game enough to have educated opinions, as I think most who comment on here and the writers of this blog do also. Just saying, I don't think having played college ball or being 1000 point scorers in high school qualifies as making one an expert on the game.
    That being said, we let one slip away for sure! Great comeback, but didn't finish! Still proud of the fight the ladies showed. And count me as one of the optimists, don't think we will lose 6 ACC games, but even if we do, as long as lessons are learned from each one and we get better and are competing at 100% at tourney time, I'm good with that.
    Thanx for listening!

    1. LOL. Starks definitely had some street cred back in the days of the Dirt Bowl.
      Good to hear from you again, bro.

  10. I saw North Carolina and Michigan lose to Canada Tech lol jk. Lost to a good team, nothing hurt, play a lot of games its hard to go through the season with out a loss or 2 or 3 or more. Its all about the playoffs, these are games to get prepared for the next!

  11. Wish all of the seniors could be more aggressive...especially in the closing minutes of the game. They all play scared. Arica Carter and Mariya Moore play with more confidence late in the game.

  12. Maybe someone could help explain that opening each recent game with a missed 3 has a little something to do with why the shot taker is being left so wide open by our opponent.

    Time to begin a game on a more positive note than a missed 3.


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