Five hit for double figures in Cards win
|Cards signing autographs after the game|
|Photo by Charlie Springer - UofL Card Game|
After a pre-game ceremony honoring the seniors and their families (Jude's contingent numbered 18...) Jeff Walz started all five final year players and they jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first two minutes after six straight Dyer points and a Smith putback of a Hammond shot.
The Eagles countered with two straight threes by Nicole Boudreau to get within two...but it would be the closest they would get for the remainder of the game.
Walz kept the seniors on the court for the first six minutes before sending the freshmen Moore and Hines-Allen into the contest. Louisville had amassed a 14-6 lead at that point and would finish the 10-0 run with the duo connecting on a fast break layup by Hines-Allen and two Moore free throws.
It was 18-6 and you got the feeling that this one was already a "W".
Louisville led 31-15 with 7:34 showing on the clock after a spectacular Moore three and the talented freshman would run off five more straight points to give UofL a 36-23 edge with five minutes left in the half.
BC did not relent in the three-point efforts...taking 14 in the first twenty minutes and hitting seven. Kelly Hughes three with 86 seconds left in the half trimmed the Louisville advantage to 42-31 but Louisville added two Moore free throws and a Hines-Allen jumper with eight seconds to take the 46-31 lead to the locker room.
|Photo by Charlie Springer - UofLCardGame.com|
The halftime activities featured an incredible group of a dozen or so Native American dancer groups that ranged from grade school aged performers to senior citizen dancers...all dressed in colorful and intricate tribal wear. They were accompanied by the steady drum beat and chant from the amazing Elk Soldier drum core...which featured almost a dozen drummers with one drumstick each -- beating a single drum in unison while chanting.
|Photo by Charlie Springer --UofLCardgame.com|
The Cards got busy after that and went on a 12-2 run to take a commanding 67-46 lead with 10:07 to play on a Hines-Allen putback of her own missed shot. That lead would stretch out to 77-51 with five minutes to play after a Vails jumper off a nice feed by Bria.
Walz had all the seniors back on the court with 3:24 remaining and substituted for them...one by one...to a standing ovation from the crowd with 31 seconds to go. Sherrone Vails was the last to leave. The Eagles finished with a 9-0 run...including (you guessed it) a couple more threes for the 77-60 final score.
Moore led the double figure producers with 18 points (including four threes) and Dyer finished with 13. Hines-Allen added 12, Jude (with three threes) and Bria totaled 11 points each. A quiet offensive night for Sara (1-8) and just three points in 26 minutes. Louisville forced 27 Eagles turnovers that produced 38 points and held a 22-5 second change advantage. The Cards also had 19 assists on 28 baskets.
Louisville was looking to improve from the outing against Notre Dame and they did accomplish that quite well. Walz wanted the defense to make BC take layups instead of threes, which didn't turn out so well, but Louisville did shoot 42.4% for the game...a blistering 56.3% in the first twenty and a so-so 29.4% in the final half.
All five seniors were featured in the post-game presser and they discussed their memories and feelings about their time at UofL. Bria fought back tears when she talked about the seniors 'sisterhood' , Sara spoke passionately about passing the torch to the underclassmen, Shawnta' recalled her trials with overcoming injuries, Sherrone spoke eloquently about her love for the fans and her teammates and Jude announced she is writing a book titled Dreamcatcher.
I got a little misty-eyed seeing them all there together and realizing it would be the last time I've ever see them up on that stage.
A fitting way for these five to end their KFC YUM! Center days. All played at least 19 minutes and all five scored. The task is not done for them yet...dangerous Virginia awaits them Sunday in Charlottesville and ACC Tournament play next Friday as a probable #3 seed.
In a season that has produced a very unexpected 24-4 record and the emergence of two of the best freshmen in the country...the contributions of Jude, Sara, Shawnta', Sherrone and Bria will long be remembered by Cardinal fans. Five women that bonded to make up the largest senior class in Jeff Walz's coaching history and five individuals that will go on to achieve even greater things when they leave campus and go out into the world after college. No matter where they end up...you get the feeling this fivesome will always be a tight-knit bond.
( A special thanks to Charlie Springer at UofLCardGame.com for sending photos of last night's game and the photos he has supplied us with all season long. Be sure to check out his Senior Night photo gallery at his fine website www.uoflcardgame.com)