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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Threes lead UConn to "threepeat"...63-53 over Notre Dame -- Wednesday Cardinal Couple


The University of Connecticut Huskies won the NCAA Tournament for the third year in a row...fighting off a determined Notre Dame squad 63-53 Tuesday night in Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.

The game mirrored the comic strip Peanuts in a fashion. Picture Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown as he prepares to kick it. As the hard luck Chuck runs up to plant his foot on it, Lucy raises the football, Charlie Brown misses and ends up on his posterior. Every time, the Irish would make a run at the Huskies last night, "Lucy" would drain a three and Notre Dame would end up falling back again.

It has to hurt, being the perpetual bridesmaid...Notre Dame is a great team and has plenty of players returning to be a threat again next year. Unfortunately for them, Breanna Stewart returns for Geno along with starters Moriah Jefferson, Morgan Tuck and Kia Nurse. 

The Irish were competitive early (stop me if you've heard this one before...) and led 9-6 a mere 3:13 into the game after a Michaela Mabrey three. UConn responded with a 12-2 run and Muffet's marauders never quite recovered from it.

A bit of intrigue near the end of the first half when Stewart rolled an ankle making a cut on offensive with the ball. The Huskies didn't falter, though, while trainers re-taped her and she professed she was ready to go as the teams returned for second half action

It wasn't Stewart who won this...quite frankly...rather ugly game, though. Her 15 rebounds and eight points didn't hurt...but it was UConn's 5-10 three-point shooting in the final twenty that put the dagger into the girls in green.

Cut it to five, will you Irish? Jefferson drains a three. Climb back within six? Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis steps up and connects from behind the arc. 

It is what championship teams the storm and respond with their own thunder. 

UConn led by 13 with 2:37 to go and you wondered if the King would let some of his lesser known All-Americans play...but he stayed the course with the five that gave him 187 minutes of a possible 200. 

It is finished. The season over. Players at over 300 schools will spend the summer working on their cross-overs, their positioning for rebounds, mid-range jumpers and reverse layups. They'll get to know their teammates better, indoctrinate the incoming freshman on the style, tempo and in's-and-out's of their program. 

They'll suit up again officially in October and begin the battle to win games, conference and advance to the Big Dance. Hope springs eternal. Wins equal hope. 

There is a gorilla still in the midst, though and a determined "Stewie" looking to make good on her promise to win four titles in four years. She will call the tune and her teammates will crowd the dance floor. Just ask those who attempted an Irish jig last night and ended up second best in the dance-off.

We can hope that a talented class of incoming freshmen and a stellar returning contingent based on the Belknap Campus can throw a wrench into that well-oiled UConn machine. If not the Cards...maybe someone can get on a roll and win six straight. Maybe the NCAA should just tell Notre Dame to stay home if they get to Tuesday and let someone else try to stop the dog sled.

The 2016 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final Four is in Indianapolis next season. A mere 90 minutes north of Louisville up I-65. 

The path to get there, unfortunately...looks like it will have to go through either Storrs, CT or South Bend, IN.


Congratulations to Charlie McAdams and Sonja...who won the CARDINAL COUPLE PICK 'EM CONTEST. Since Sonja is part of the staff here, she will not claim the $25 gift card, even though her final game point total was closer to the actual 116 points scored than Charlie's was. Second place and the CARDINAL COUPLE absolutely fabulous tee-shirt goes to K.Starks. 

Send me those mailing addresses, fellas, to our e-mail address so we can get the swag to you. Our customer fulfillment chimps will get right on that.




  1. Ho hum, another Huskie championship. I am hoping that the near future will bring one of those trophies to the "Ville."

  2. Congrats, sir... on the title. shoot me an e-mail with your mailing address...or I can give the gift card (Panera or Cracker Barrel) to Worldwide next time I run into him


  3. The game was at least worth watching until late in the second half. I was hoping for an Irish run. And, what was up with Geno's repetitive "Wow" when being interviewed after the game? This is the brain-trust of the Huskies?

    The Real Joe Hill

  4. Just a reminder, the April Cardinal Couple Contest is now open. Your mission is to predict the total number of runs the UofL Softball team will score in their final 11 games of the month....beginning with the Florida State series that begins 4/12/15 at Ulmer Stadium. 3 games agaist the Seminoles, 3 games at Ole Miss, a game at Kentucky, 3 games hosting Boston College and one game hosting WKU.

    I predict the Cards shake their batting slump and total 41 runs in the 11 games. I did win the NCAA Pick 'em, you know. Who is in?

    Please have your entries to us by either e-mail or in the comments section by 7 p.m. Sunday 4/12/15. We have an absolutely fabulous Cardinal Couple tee-shirt on the line and as a added bonus, if anyone predicts the EXACT NUMBER of runs scored, Paulie says he'll toss in a $25 gift card.


    1. 50 runs in 11 games

      Nick O

  5. Congrats to the pool winners. Thought it was a good game last night. Full credit to UConn. Playing from the front isn't as easy as it looks. When the pressure is on and the chips are down they continue to come through. Good for them. Lots of programs don't live up to those lofty expectations...the UK men for instance.

    Another WCBB season in the books. Future looks great for our Cards. Hope the new recruiting class hits the ground running next year. It's going to be a real challenge for Walz to put this great freshman class together with our vets in a dynamic and winning way.

    With both ND and Florida State bringing almost everyone back I'm thinking a top three conference finish would be a great outcome next year. We should be a top fifteen program again next year with a chance to make noise in March. Plenty of strength and competition at the top though...

    Best of Luck to the Spring women's sports programs. Hope they all accomplish as much as our roundballers did this season.

    1. Yeah. Second that. I was out of it early. Darn Princeton.

      Big Ed The Flatfoot.

  6. Agree that this was a watchable game. Notre Dame just couldn't get the stops when they needed to and UConn hit some huge rally killing shots in the final half.

    It's my hope that our combination of returning players and the #1 freshman class can elevate themselves to that upper level. The talent potential is certainly there.

    Already looking forward to what Louisville can do next season. I hope that Sara gets a shot at WNBA ball. And Mariya does well in Russia with the USA team.

    Curtis Franklin

    1. LOL...It feels like I am reading a bunch of political campaign contestants concession speeches. I sincerely hope all our readers will continue to follow Cardinal Couple for our year-round coverage until hoops begins again. We have viable softball and lacrosse teams out there engaged in conference play


  7. It wasn't pretty but Geno got his 10th title and third straight National Championship.

    Paulie, I expected better coverage on this than your non-relatable opening salvo in today's column. You are just a blatant 'homer' who has no broad-based appeal.

    This site is a just modern day version of the Bugtussle Observer. I will continue to monitor for an occasional laugh, though. UConn. The past, present and future undisputed king of women's college basketball!!

    I expect those sour grapes will produce some bitter wine.

    Sue from Storrs, CT
    UConn Huskies #1

    1. LOL. Uh, maybe the queens of college basketball? Nice semantics, Sue!
      Thanks for reading and commenting. Please don't feel any obligation on having to return or comment. We'll be fine...

      (I worked at the Bugtussle Observer as a sportswriter until they cancelled the annual horseshoe tournament...which left me with only tobacco spitting and cow tipping as events to cover.)


    2. Maybe Sue is inadvertantly trying to spill the beans on the UConn program with the kings reference. I'm calling for DNA and bloodwork testing. We'll see you up here in 2016 for the WBB Final Four and be prepared to give urine samples!

      Gov. Mike Pence.

    3. Paulie. What time do you update the farm and market report here? Are barrows, sows and guilts maintaining market prices? I have missed the gossip columnist also. Is the red-headed librarian still fooling around with Gomer the auto mechanic. Why did the Wilson's build a eight-foot privavy fence? Will they actually add a second stop-light on Main Street?

      Floyd the Barber

    4. (Boy,oh, we go)


    5. Stuff a sock in it Sue. You don't like the website? Quit reading it.

    6. Hey Sue

      After you are done stepping on ants, pulling the wings of butterflies, under-tipping at restaurants and walking your pet toad -- here is an idea.

      Go for a long walk on a short pier.

      I like the website here. I am not an overly huge UofL fan (Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk) but Paulie and his writers fill a niche, do a great job and don't go off on wild claims, shock journalism or unfounded innuendo.

      You don't like "Bugtussle'? Pack up and move

      Tope Wanu



    7. Geez Sue - Maybe it's something in the water out there in Connecticut or something. My ex-wife was from Groton Long Point and like her you seem to have the unique ability to:

      1) Take an overwhelmingly positive event and cast a shadow over it
      2) B*tch, Moan and Complain for no logical reason at all
      3) Expect everyone to agree with your every whim

      Actually it's kind of amazing and weird...I wonder...Sharon - is that you? If so you need to go away and not bother the nice folks here at Cardinal Couple. I finished buying you off over a decade ago so don't come 'round here no more unless you finally get that personality transplant I was hoping you'd use the settlement to pay for.

  8. Two of the three referees last night call a lot of Louisville games in Dee Kanter and Denise Brooks. The third one-- a guy name Mark?-- I was not familiar with. They let the teams play and that made me happy. Dee can get over-zealous with her whistle.

    I'll give credit where credit is due. UConn won six in a row and that's what you have to do to win the NCAA National Championship in college basketball. They played above par defense in holding Notre Dame to around 30% shooting and just 53 points. Notre Dame had been averaging around 80 points a game.

    What is it that Walz says? Defense and rebounding wins games? The Huskies were superior in both last night. Stewart realized her shot was falling. She found another way to help her team by grabbing rebounds and blocking shots.

    Finally, to the UConn distractors and naysayers. Build a better program and beat them. I am by no means a UConn nor Notre Dame fan, but I realize greatness and these two programs have acheived it. I will not belittle that. For the other 347 DI teams in WBB, the gauntlet is there. Can you run through it?


    1. Thank you for reading and commenting Alicia! You make some very good points. The bottom line is this: if you can't take the monster's power away, build a bigger and badder monster.


  9. Please keep writing, Sue, we like to have a good laugh, too. After reading your entry, I find it ironic that you called Paulie a homer. Good one. HaHa.

    1. I am glad you find my comments amusing, Charlie. It confirms my theory that Cardinal fans are easily amused and entertained. I'm sure all of you would be the pride and joy of any 3rd grade teacher. Maybe we could discuss your favorite fruit or why grass grows next time.

      Paulie is a 'homer' but I will qualify that by acknowledging he is a non-controversial 'homer'. Anyone who starts a website specifically designed to cover a certain aspect of a universities' sport programs can be nothing but.

      It is obvious he does his homework, though, and that puts him ahead of 99.9% of the 'homers' out there. All schools have their 'homer' base. I realize that deep down inside, the Cardinal fans are jealous of what we have at UConn and would like to have that at Louisville. And you have made big strides towards that in several of your athletic programs.

      Still, it is still a travesty and injustice that Louisville got the ACC bid.

      Sue from Storrs, CT.
      UConn #1


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