B.J. SCORES 21 BUT CARDS DOWNED BY CAL
Webster Dictionary defines the word "mope" as being dejected and apathetic and that would describe the feelings of the majority of the 16,524 that filed out the KFC YUM! Center after Sunday afternoon's season opening loss to California women's basketball. A crowd that stayed fired up and loud all 40 minutes but walked out a little bewildered and stunned that the Cards didn't pull this one off against a (questionably) un-ranked opponent.
As one attendee mentioned to me after the game:
"Jackson is all that but Walz has to teach them how to get a rebound."
Louisville led for only 6:55 in the game against a taller, more hungry Bears team that outrebounded the Cards 50-27 and seemed to score at will inside against the Cards throughout the game.
Louisville started out in fine fashion with Mariya Moore nailing the first of her five threes just 25 seconds into the first period (yes, they're now periods instead of quarters....and halftime is now called intermission) and would follow with another three 37 seconds later...but from the start it was pretty obvious that Cal was going to find paydirt inside the paint.
The teams battled to a 14-14 first period score...Arica Carter getting a layup with 36 seconds on the clock . One thing that has changed in with the periods format is that teams are getting to the foul line a lot less than they used to. Louisville didn't make a trip there the entire first half...Cal was 7 for 8 from the charity stripe. Cal also assumed command of the contest in the 10 minute stretch...outscoring Louisville 21-13 and leading by nine several times before Asia Durr scored a layup off a Arica Carter feed to make the intermission score 35-27 Bears.
The Cards had forced 17 turnovers and scored 12 points off those but Cal forwards Kristine Anigwe and Courtney Range combined for 20 points.
|TIA GIBBS IN THE HOUSE!|
The Cards went on a 14-4 run to begin the half and tied the contest at 41-41 on a Jackson layup..she had four points, four steals and two assists in the seven minute stretch and the Cards pushed out to a 46-42 lead after Moore connected on her fourth trifecta with 55 seconds left in the period. Cal would rally for the final four points, though and the two squads entered the final 10 minutes tied at 46-46.
Louisville lost the lead for good when Angiwe converted inside to make it 54-53 with 7:50 left to play. Louisville would climb back to within one on several occasions...including 67-66 when Moore created a steal, got the ball to Carter...who found a streaking Jackson for a layup. Free throw shooting for Cal down the stretch secured the victory...the Bears going 6-8 in the final 22 seconds. A late three by Moore with 4 seconds remaining got the Cards within three at 74-71 but freshman Asha Thomas was fouled with a second remaining and sank one out of two to ensure a late three by Louisville couldn't tie it.
THINGS WE LIKED
Action Jackson -- Sonja and I both agreed that Briahanna Jackson was the most exciting aspect of the contest. She was easily the most active and hardest-working play on the court and has lost none of the skills over her year and a half layoff. Just one turnover in 31 minutes and six steals. If Jeff Walz is going to distribute playing time this season by previous game effort...Jackson needs to be out there all 40 minutes against WKU on Saturday.
Trey Bien! -- Louisville shot 10-24 from beyond the arc...three players (Moore 6, Jackson 2, Durr 2) accounting for them and six players attempting them.
State of DeGrate -- Freshman center Erin DeGrate saw early minutes and did not disappoint, getting two blocks and a rebound in limited time. Her block on Gabby Green's jumper at the end of the first quarter was one of those "did-you-see-that?" moments and her rejection of a Penina Davidson attempt late in the fourth quarter shows she'll be a valuable contributor on the defensive end for Louisville.
Turnovers -- Louisville did force the Bears into 27 turnovers. The press was a thing of beauty several times yesterday and the starters did have 12 of Louisville's 13 steals. Converting on turnovers still needs mucho work...
THINGS TO WORK ON
Run, Forrest, Run! -- Whether it was conditioning or nonchalance...the Cards looked to be a step slow and out of positioning more than one likes to see last night. A lot of it has to do with youth and inexperience, granted...but if the entire team could have focused Jackson and Carter's energy...the Cards could have won this game.
Foul Play -- Sam Fuehring picked up five fouls in 13 minutes...with two points and a rebound....leaving the game early in the 4th quarter. Myisha Hines-Allen also fouled out...albeit with just four seconds remaining...and Cortnee Walton acquired four whistles. Work needs to be done here. You can't have your two starting paint dwellers and first sub off the bench watching the action from the sidelines for extended stretches.
Becoming Chairman of the Board -- Yes, Louisville was outrebounded by 23. Rebounding starts by blocking your player out and getting in position to get the ball. Work to be done there also. Cal is probably the tallest team Louisville will play this year...but they had 33 defensive rebounds. You're not going to win a game when you are not getting second chance opportunities and Louisville only had seven of them in 40 minutes.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Courtney Range had 19 points, 13 rebounds in 39 minutes to pace the Bears...including two clutch free throws late and a key basket when Louisville had climbed back to within one with 34 seconds remaining
So, the Cards are 0-1. Opportunities to win yesterday but a lack of cohesion and aggression at times. It should be an interesting week of practice before Louisville faces WKU in Bowling Green Saturday. The Cards have some very good players, there is no doubt about it...but given the opportunity to take over the game late in the third quarter but couldn't increase a four-point lead...they allowed Cal to go on a 9-3 run over a four minute stretch midway through the fourth period and couldn't recover from it.
VOLLEYBALL SURVIVES IN FIVE AT FSU
The Wide Net Cards pulled out a five set win in Tallahassee yesterday afternoon to go to 15-1 in conference against a determined FSU squad. It gives the Cards a two game lead over FSU and UNC with just four conference games left.
Erin Fairs gave Louisville 16 kills in the 21-25, 26-24, 18-25, 28-26, 15-9 donnybrook and Tess Clark remained hot in the middle with 14 kills and 4 blocks.
A contrast of styles yesterday...the taller Seminoles with excellent blocking skills and physical superiority against a quick, daring Cardinal squad who got great efforts from Molly Sauer and Katie George's passing and sets.
Tied at two games each...after Louisville came back from a fourth game 16-11 deficit to force the extra set...the Cards hit .588 in the final. 10 kills on 17 attempts.
Louisville returns home to face Clemson Friday night and Georgia Tech Sunday.
SATURDAY SHOW ON SOUNDCLOUD
In case you missed the Saturday broadcast of the CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR...you can catch it on the Soundcloud at the link below:
THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR 11/14/15