JACKSON'S 23, HINES-ALLEN'S 22 LEAD CARDS TO COMEBACK WIN
Louisville Women's Basketball now has their version of A Miracle On Main Street. Call it the Second Street Surprise or the YUM! Center Never Surrender Scenario if you wish...but the Cards overcame a 44-26 deficit with 6:45 left in the third quarter to vanquish the Jaguars by a 44-17 margin in the final 16 minutes of the contest Sunday afternoon in front of 8686 ecstatic fans by a score of 70-61. A late IUPUI three ruined the double-digit margin.
"Ask any questions you want...but I ain't got one damn answer. I'm still going... [a look of surprise on his face]. I don't know what happened, what got into them. I wish I could tell you. It's going to be a grind all year. No question about it. No question at all about it."
It was how Jeff Walz began his post-game presser after the nine-point win. And it was a head-scratcher...puzzling but ultimately delightfully pleasant in nature and eventually a contest where Briahanna Jackson and Myisha Hines-Allen combined for fifteen points in a six-minute stretch to get the Cards back within six when Jackson drained a buzzer-beating three to close the third period down by only six at 52-46.
What did Walz say to the team during the 30 second timeout he called after IUPUI's Kelsi Byrd drained a three to put the Jags up by eighteen?
"There wasn't much to say. I didn't know what to say. I mean, what do you say? It's personal pride now, people. Now you have to look yourself in the mirror and have a gut-check moment. I can either keep blaming everybody, my teammates or I can make a difference. I can play good team defense. I can play hard."
Louisville started the contest pretty well for the first three and a half minutes. They took a 9-3 lead on an Arica Carter three with 6:23 left in the first period but were outscored 17-4 the rest of the period. They saw a 13-10 lead turn into a 24-13 IUPUI lead to start the second half...a 14-0 white-wash. The half ended with the Jaguars holding a 36-22 advantage.
Beside Hines-Allen's 10 points in the first twenty...not much else was getting done offensively or defensively. The Cards were shooting 28%....IUPUI was at 54.2%.
The 8-4 run IUPUI went on to begin the third quarter had more than one Cardinal fan thinking that Walz's troops had laid down their weapons and surrendered. Then, a dizzying next 16 minutes ensued where Jackson took control in the final 2:19...with the Cards up only 60-58...where she scored eight of UofL's final ten points to preserve the lead and pull away with the win.
Redemption train has reached the first station stop successfully after nearly derailing during the journey.
There are still plenty of adjustments and overhauls needed. Louisville highly-touted freshman class played a grand total of 28 of the 200 minutes available Sunday. None of the freshmen scored and had a mere four rebounds collectively while four turnovers and grabbing just three rebounds. Asia Durr got the lion's share of the frosh minutes with 15...but was 0-4 from the floor and had one steal and one foul.
It could be a grind the rest of the way but maybe this team discovered it had a little heart today. That hard work and never giving up has its rewards. That when they concentrate and play smart...good things happen.
Dartmouth rolls in Tuesday. We'll see how the passengers on the redemption train react after a near-fatal collision Sunday.
Dakota Weatherford (sprained ankle) and Syd Brackemyer (knee issues) weren't available for play Sunday. Our columnist-on-sabbatical Jenny O'Bryan also took a tumble on the way to the arena and sprained an ankle and skinned a knee....but managed to make it inside the arena. We hope all three recover soon.
Many noticed that the Cards usual introduction of their players was altered today. No flash or glitz on the big board. Jeff Walz was asked about it.
"No. We didn't do that. We need people who want to come to the game to watch us play. And that's what I told the kids. We're done with all that pomp and circumstance, looking all nice and flashy because I don't want that to be the only thing our fans come to watch."
Is it for the rest of the season?
For awhile today, it may have been more interesting to see the pomp and circumstance than the game...but Louisville WBB gets their third win in four games and goes to 4-5 without the pageantry. Actually, it was rather refreshing...
THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO
If you missed the Saturday broadcast of THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR...it is available for listening at the link below:
THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR 12/12/15
Worldwide and I were joined in the studio by Swish Appeal and SB Nation columnist Paige Sherrard and Louisville Cardinal sports editor Sam Draut.
A great hour of audio and discussion about Louisville WBB, Volleyball and a lot of fun to be a part of.
Give us a listen, we think you'll like what you hear.