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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Defense, Kiesel's injury enable Cards to 48-35 win over Pitt -- Monday Cardinal Couple

Pitt's 21% shooting, Hammond's double-double keys to Cards twentieth win.

Photo by Charlie Springer - UofL Card Game
No...48-35 was not the halftime score.

In a defensive struggle in the KFC YUM! Center Sunday afternoon in front of 13656 fans, Louisville used a 12-2 run in the second half to pull away from the Panthers and get win number 20 on the season. 

If high scoring offense is your thing, Denny Crum Court wasn't the place to be Sunday. Neither team had much luck lighting up the scoreboard but the Cards were successful in grinding out a workmanlike win...led by Sara Hammond's 11 points and 13 defensive rebounds.

With Louisville clinging to a 31-26 lead and 10:40 remaining, Pitt's Brianna Kiesel drove to the hoop but was stopped by Emmonnie Henderson...crashing underneath the Pitt basket and drawing a foul...but suffering a left wrist injury and not returning to the game. Aysia Bugg cashed in the two free throws intended for Kiesel and Pitt drew within one on a Yacine Diop jumper 30 seconds later...but the Panthers were missing their floor general and it started to show. 

Photo by Charlie Springer - UofL Card Game
Mariya Moore cashed in on two free throws, Henderson scored underneath and Shawnta' Dyer added a couple from the charity stripe to put Louisville ahead 38-32. Sara Hammond connected on a short range jumper and a free throw from Moore and layup from the freshman 30 seconds later culminated a 12-2 UofL run that set the scoreboard at 43-32. It was a six minute run and 2:58 remained in the game. 

From there, Louisville was able to outscore the Panthers 5-3...that included a spectacular Jude Schimmel steal and feed to Bria Smith for a layup that set the final score of 48-35.

Trying a lineup change to avert another slow Cardinal start to a contest, Jeff Walz started redshirt senior Sherrone Vails to muscle with the talented Pitt front-liners. Vails gave the Cards four and a half minutes of physical play and scored Louisville's first basket, but was 8-4 Pitt when she went to the bench and Shawnta' Dyer entered the game.

The Cards responded to the lineup change and outscored the Panthers 10-0 over the next 3 1/2 minutes to go up 14-8 after a Myisha Hines-Allen layup, who was in for Sara Hammond. The Cards were able to maintain that lead over the final 12:07...outscoring Pitt 11-10 and holding Pitt's star Kiesel to just two first half points on 1-8 shooting. Jude Schimmel created a daring steal as the half ended and getting a pass to Shawnta' Dyer for a score with two seconds left in the half.

Photo by Charlie Springer - UofL Card Game
With a 25-18 halftime lead, the Cards weren't exactly blowing the Panthers back up the Ohio River, but they actually led at halftime for once...and that was encouraging.

A great halftime ceremony ensued...celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day. UofL's women student-athletes took to the court (minus on-the road Lacrosse and in the locker room WBB squad) to honor UofL administrator Dr. Elaine Wise, who was in attendance and received an award and bouquet of roses. I even managed a quick wave to Field Hockey coach Justine Sowry...lined up on the court with the rest of the participants. 

The Panthers weren't going away without a scrap and managed to outscore UofL 10 to 8 over the first ten minutes of the second half before Kiesel left the game. 

Shutting down Kiesel and Monica Wignot was the Louisville defensive game plan and it worked. Kiesel ended up with those same two points and Wignot had three in 38 minutes. 

Coach Walz expected a tight defensive game, especially after experiencing one a month ago in Pittsburgh...but if you told him prior to the contest that Louisville would win scoring just 49 points, going 0-6 from trifecta line and shooting 31% on the night...e just might have had security usher you out for psychiatric observation. 

Sometimes, wins aren't the most prettiest things around and that was the case Sunday against this ACC foe...but Louisville earned it by limiting the Panthers to just 13 baskets in 62 attempts, out-rebounding them 48-44 and scoring 30 points in the paints while holding Pitt to just eight in the paint. The Cards also had 10 assists on 17 made baskets. 

Megan Deines did not dress for the game, suffering a ankle injury earlier in the week during practice. 

20-3 for the Cards and 8-2 in ACC Conference play. They head to ACC Cellar dweller Clemson next...for a Thursday night game against the 9-15, 1-10 in conference Tigers.

On a day where we celebrated Girls and Women in Sports, it was two of the senior women on the Louisville squad in Hammond and Dyer who made sure the celebration continued for the full 40 minutes.

Thanks to Charlie Springer for some of the photos. Read his comments over at


The annual Alumnae game took place after the post-game player autograph session and the black squad...led by Becky Burke and Dez Byrd squeaked out a hard fought win. 

"Big Shot" Becky drilled a few threes in the exhibition and Dez was throwing behind the back passes and displaying her dribble-drive as the black team floor general. We got a few post game comments from an obviously exhausted Dez that we'll play on the Saturday Cardinal Couple Radio Show

Just as amusing was Sherrone Vails, Shawnta Dyer and Myisha Hines-Allen's courtside "play by play" of the action. No worries...Beth Mowins and Deb Antonelli, these three aren't ready to replace you yet...but they provided a decidedly different and hysterically funny approach to a "game call" after wrestling the microphone away from Jared "J-Bone" Stillman. 

Kristin Maddox Cox, you need to work on that three...


Also spotted at the game was highly sought-after junior Aislinn Konig. Thanks to Jenny for figuring out who she was for us...

“We were all talking and asking ‘Who have you seen in B.C. history who is better than her?’” asked Brown, the longtime Brookswood head coach of the 5-foot-10 Grade 11 Aislinn Konig. “All we could come up with was that we had never seen Bev Smith play in high school.’”
With a reference point like Smith, the former Salmon Arm and Oregon superstar who is best described as the Larry Bird of Canadian women’s basketball, you might get the idea that Konig is pretty good.
That, however, would be putting things mildly.
Already, according to Konig’s father Frank, over 150 NCAA programs have made personal contact. And as tough as it has been for her, Konig has trimmed her final list of schools down to, in no particular order, Washington, Oregon, North Carolina State, Louisville, Stanford, Southern Cal, Arizona and Kansas, all of whom she will pay unofficial visits to over the coming weeks in order to whittle her list down to a handful in preparation for official visits.

The University of Louisville softball team fell 11-6 to No. 11/13 Washington in their final game of the UNLV Sportco Kick-Off Classic Sunday.

In the game, the Cards (2-3) took the lead twice, but could not overcome a six-run sixth inning by the Huskies (4-1).

Louisville jumped to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when senior Whitney Arion led off the game with a double and came around to score on sophomore Jordan McNary's RBI single.
The Huskies quickly evened the score behind Ali Aguilar's leadoff home run in the home half of the first.

Washington added four more runs in the second. Julia DePonte walked and Dani Braun followed with a hit to set up Kelly Burdick's two-run triple. A single by Taylor Van Zee scored Burdick to give the Huskies a 5-1 lead.

The Cards answered in the top of the third, using five hits to score three runs to make the score 5-4. Freshman Nicole Pufahl led off top of the third with her first career home run. Arion and McNary delivered back-to-back singles to set up Hailey Smith's two-out RBI hit. Dillard's single plated McNary.

Louisville tacked on two more runs in the fifth when McNary led off the frame with a hit and moved to third on a single by Duncan. An error on the play sent McNary to tie the score at 5-5. Another Washington error sent pinch-runner Morgan Meyer home to give the Cards a 6-5 lead.

The Huskies used two hits, three walks and an error to put up a six-spot in the home half of the sixth inning. Kelli Suguro reached on a fielder's choice and moved to third on a hit by Aguilar. Taylor Van Zee reached on error which sent Suguro home to tie the score at 6-6. Back-to-back walks issued to Kylee Lahners and Kimberlee Souza plated Aguilar to give Washington a 7-6 lead. Courtney Gano's fielder's choice saw Van Zee safe at the plate. DePonte's sacrifice fly and Krystal Aubert's two-run single gave the Huskies an 11-6 lead.

McNary went 3 for 3 with two runs and an RBI to lead the Cardinals at the plate. Arion was 3 for 4 with two runs. Pufahl was 2 for 3. Freshman Madi Norman (0-3) took the loss, allowing six runs, five earned, on four hits and striking out one with five walks in 4.0 innings of relief. Maryssa Becker surrendered five earned runs on six hits and walked one in 2.0 innings.

Louisville (2-3) returns to action next weekend at the Dot Richardson Tournament in Orlando, Fla



  1. Nice to get the W. You called it though...who'd have thought we'd win with that stat line. Out of the five starters only Hammond had more than one field goal for the entire contest. I don't know how many more games I can handle when we don't hit a three. I'm just hoping the shooting gods are playing with us a little and we'll find our collective shooting stroke soon.

    CardsTV worked fine again but it sounds like with all of the activities going on the place to be today was at the YUM.

    1. It was a good time. The alumni game was a lot of fun. Burke launched a three from the deep left side in front of several current players and it was nothing but net. They went crazy. Seeing Byrd go coast-to-coast and then deliver a behind-the-back, no look pass to Burke was also pretty cool.

      The halftime ceremony was a great tribute to Dr. Elaine Wise.

      The game? Louisville had two good each half...but neither team was shooting well because of the defensive efforts.

      And, the media buffet was delicious with fish AND turkey and stuffing.


  2. Looking over the Clemson roster and Charmaine Tay is not on there. Did she transfer to another school again? I can't find any info on her current whereabouts.

    1. Tay has left school to pursue a career as a musician/singer/songwriter


  3. "E" does it again....tempts us with the inside power moves, the rebounds and the outlet passes, then tries a reverse layup that gets her yanked. Sure wish she could get 16-20 minutes per game.

    1. She looked good and we needed her in this game. She's clearly in better shape and lighter on her feet now. By the time the tourney rolls around I'm betting she'll be ready to rock. As long as her conditioning holds I think she'll be earning more playing time.

      No one on this team brings what she brings to the table. I've always loved her hands. If she ever gets a chance to show her midrange game folks will need to look out. She'll be a force to be reckoned with.

    2. Walz did give her some post game press conference praise (prompted by a question from yours truly) and I think E "gets it" ...that shooting the ball every time she gets her hands on it will diminish her playing time.

      The good thing is that Henderson, Dyer, Hammond, Hines-Allen and even Vails are interchangable options in the paint. With a maximum of 80 minutes available per game at the "4" and "5"...a fair and equal distribution would be 16 minutes per player.

      This, of course, looks great on paper...but game situations, player performance and on-court needs are the primary factors that Coach Walz uses to meter out playing time...along with specific player requests to not start or come off the bench.

      In the end, you go with your strengths. IF "E" proves to be one of those, she'll get the on court time. This solid group of five paint dwellers does provide Coach Walz with multiple options.


    3. So the numbers on 4 and 5 for Pitt are Hammond 37 minutes Dyer 17 minutes Henderson 12 minutes Vails 10 minutes and Hines Allen 8 minutes for 84 total minutes. Why did Hines Allen play so few?

      The Real Joe Hill

    4. Paulie probably knows better than me, but from the outside looking in here's my view on the 4 & 5:

      - Hammond - If she stays out of foul trouble Walz will let her play up to 40 minutes. If she has to sit we backfill.
      - Hines-Allen - Looks like Walz has issues with her following the game plan or she'd be playing more than in the last few games. If she follows the game plan she's good for at least 30 minutes or more if she's rolling.
      - Dyer - Has been stepping into the breech recently when Hines-Allen has been pulled. She's doing a great job. Could play up to 25 minutes if needed.
      - Henderson - As noted E could play up to 15 to 20 minutes depending upon the foe. If we run up against big and tall interior opponents she's really valuable protecting the inside and making sure folks don't think they can toss us around.
      - Vails - Love her but she's physically limited. To me 10 minutes is pretty much the outside of what her body can handle.

      In my opinion Walz will be pushing to get E more minutes through the end of the season understanding that next year we're thin there. Hines-Allen and E look to be our 4 & 5 starters next year unless a transfer or freshman surprises us.

    5. Actually if Walton comes back full strength next year she should have the inside track on starting at the 5. That said if E really gets going between now and the end of the season it could go either way.

    6. Erin de Grate and Sam Fuehring are part of the nation's #1 recruiting class. Fuehring is a McDonald's All-American. Most thought DeGrate would be. Add them to E, MHA and Cortnee and that's five pretty good choices to select from in the "4" and "5" next season.

    7. Agreed. The only problem is lack of game time with two of our three returners unless E gets a lot more playing time through the end of the season. That said we'll have a good talent pool once you throw the freshmen on top of the returners. Just need to put it all together.

    8. Sara looks to be the only only at this time that will consistantly be getting 25+ minutes a game inside...unless foul trouble arises. If you can get a combined productive 55 minutes out of the other four..that'll work.

      Personally, I'd love to see MHA finish with 20+ a game the rest of the way. Coming off the bench, maybe a hard thing to do...especially if Shawnta' is playing well...but MHA has shown she can have big games inside against the right competition and if she stays focused on both ends of the court and follows a game plan.


    9. E continues to receive the publicly shown Ass end of Walz's mouth for errors or decisions i see made quite often by others on the floor - without the same Walz temper tantrums.

      I love Walz as our coach and want no other but just as the players are a work in process, so is the coach. Maybe it is time for a refresher temper management seminar as this type of correction shown to any player absolutely does not create better progress than other types available and is an embarrassment to see.

      To think otherwise, would seem to me as making the argument that the use of corporal punishment of children should continue even though we now know that other methods of correction produce equal to superior results.

    10. Seems I remember an old saying..."Nothing was ever accomplished by a reasonable man". In my opinion Walz has gotten more results with less talent than any other WCBB coach in D1 during his tenure at U of L. High expectations are necessary to create a program that seeks excellence. Walz has been crystal clear about this years team in that we don't have the talent that can create shots on an individual basis. We have to work the game plan or we won't win. E needs to do what she's supposed to do or she's gonna sit.

      If you're looking for some validation of that perspective take a look at the ESPNW specials on Auriemma & the UConn program. Check out how he interacts with his ballers.

      I guess I'd take the perspective that if you have a kid in the game that disregards specific instructions that have been clearly given if you don't sit her when she doesn't follow them it sends the message that she can do whatever she wants to her and the rest of the squad. Now that approach might somehow be the path to self actualization on an individual basis it isn't the path to successful teamwork on a club with somewhat limited talent that frequently has to take on teams with more natural talent.

      There are any number of WCBB programs that would give E more freedom on the court than U of L but since she decide to be a Card she needs to stick with the program and get more disciplined when she gets the opportunity to play.

      One thing is for sure, Walz is giving her every opportunity to fix herself. The rest is up to her. It's better we determine if she's going to get it done this year than next, when we'll be much more dependent upon her minutes.

  4. I just checked over at ESPN and Charlie Creme's latest Bracketology has Cardinals as a #4 seed, playing Ohio University at Princeton with currently unbeaten #5 seed Princeton looming as a second round opponent. I understand why this will happen, but it will pain me to see the Yum! filled with blue while the Louisville women hit the road.


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