Friday, December 11, 2015
Louisville Women's Basketball...No answer for Epps in Cards 18 point loss to UK -- Friday Cardinal Couple
CARDS CRUMBLE AGAINST CATS 72-54
It was a game Louisville never had a chance in Thursday night in Rupp Arena in front of an announced crowd of 14425.
Led by Makayla Epps 24 points on 10-11 shooting, the Wildcats jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and never trailed in their fifth consecutive win over Louisville WBB.
Every time the Cards would show signs of making it a close contest, Epps and the Cats would slam the door shut. After the dismal start, Louisville crawled back to within four at 14-10 after an Asia Durr jumper with 2:15 left in the first period. After a missed UofL layup, UK countered with a Janee Thompson three to take a 17-11 lead after 10 minutes.
Louisville started the second period slowly and fell behind 27-18 at the 6:05 mark after a three from UK reserve Taylor Murray. It was part of a half-closing 15-4 UK run that saw the Cards commit five turnovers and hit only two baskets...both from Briahanna Jackson...to trail 39-22 at the half. The Cats outscored the Cards 12-4 in the paint in the 10 minutes and at the half Jackson was both the leading scorer (9 points) and rebounder (4 grabs) for a Louisville team that shot a woeful 7-25 (28%) in twenty minutes of play.
UofL would fight back to close the gap to 10 after a Myisha Hines-Allen jumper made it 47-37 with 3:19 left in the third but the Cats finished the period on a 7-4 run...Epps providing all seven points for UK. It was 54-41 after 30 minutes and looking bleak for Louisville.
Louisville never got closer than 11 in the fourth period. A Hines-Allen jumper made it 56-45 with 7:03 to play but UK went on a 8-0 run over the next two minutes to go up 64-45 with five minutes left.
The party was over.
Not much more to say about this one. No real positives to look at...the Cards were out-rebounded 36-27, gave up 30 paint points to UK while managing only 18 and shot a pitiful 36.4% from the floor (and 2-11 from three-point land) while allowing the Cats to go 29-56 (51.8%) from the floor and 6-14 from beyond the arc (42%). They managed a mere 5 second-chance points....
Defensive effort and overall intensity took a punch in the gut last night against a UK squad who seemed to want it more and put four players in double-figures.
At 5'6" Jackson led the Cards in points (18) and rebounds (8). That's a great effort from the UCF transfer...but just outright embarrassing in terms of effort for the other seven players who wear the red and the black and saw action. Erin DeGrate, Brianna Jones, Dakota Weatherford and Syd Brackemyer never reported to the scorers table. Could they have helped? We'll never know...
The next two days of practice for the Cards should be interesting. Walz needs to find someone to step up besides Jackson and Hines-Allen and he needs to find it soon. Puzzling is Moore's dismal outing (seven points in 37 minutes) and Walton's rebounding effort ( two in 32 minutes). Will Durr be able and available to handle the grind of the upcoming Thursday-Sunday rigors ahead? Will Moore get it straightened out and will this squad become a passable defensive unit?
There comes a time where you have to draw a line in the sand and either fight or take flight. That time is now for this here-to-for under-achieving Cardinal squad and especially for the highly lauded 2015 freshman class that contributed just a total of seven total points from only one player (Durr) and two rebounds in 51 minutes of play.
It begins with IUPUI Sunday...who is in and who gets off the train? Louisville (3-5) has five non-conference games left...against less than powerhouse opponents (IUPUI, Dartmouth, Tenn.Tech, Charleston and UT-Martin) to develop a sense of urgency, commitment and unity before a very demanding ACC schedule. Will they climb aboard the train and establish an positive identity and consistent work ethic? Can a dedication to defense develop?
We'll know in the next three weeks...
(Sonja got pretty close in her prediction of a 77-62 UK win. I was, as usual, way off. She fell asleep during the second half while watching at home on TV...probably the best choice CARDINAL COUPLE made all night.)
Most of the media nearly fell asleep during the lengthy delay between the post-game words from the UK players and Jeff Walz. It's understandable. Coaches coach and he was using the post-game to drive a few points home...from what we understand.
Our mission statement here at Cardinal Couple is to report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports. Sadly, there wasn't much of that around Thursday night...