All the Emotions
Before anything else, I wanted to join in with the chorus of Cardinal Couple supporters in their outpouring of love and sympathy for Paul and Sonja. I was blessed with the opportunity to meet Amy a couple of times and she was a joy to talk to. The world is worse off for her absence.
I also had been regularly receiving updates from Paul about her decline in health and was able to see first hand how much that weighed on Paul to see someone he clearly cherished so much near the end of their life.
Paul and Sonja will be, quite understandably, taking a few days (mostly) away from Cardinal Couple to work through the grieving process, as well as attend to the myriad of things that must be done. That means you folks are stuck with me for a few days. I will also be filling in for Paul on the weekly survey of the women's sports world on the Howie Lindsey show on 93.9 tomorrow at around 11:45am.
Basketball Recap at College of Charleston
We do still need to talk about the Women's Basketball performance at College of Charleston, which occurred Sunday evening. The fourth stop on the redemption train schedule, we were hoping for another chance for coach Jeff Walz to spread some playing time out, get all of the players a bit more seasoning, and maybe, if necessary, let some players play through some mistakes and have some extra opportunities to learn.
Well, we hoped for it, and we got it. It wasn't all pretty, but the team came away with the win. The first quarter looked like the return of the team from some of the early season losses with missed lay-ups, errant passes, and defensive lapses. The second saw the team start to put it back together, coming back to bring the game to a one point margin for halftime, but not until after the CofC ballooned the lead out to 14 with 3:44 left in the half.
The Cards looked solid in the 3rd quarter, steadily building out to a nine point lead. It looked like the UofL squad was, well, not quite firing on all cylinders, but enough that the car was moving down the road pretty well. While the general gameplay looked pretty good in this quarter, the Free Throw shooting was abysmal at only 46% on 13 attempts. The fourth quarter mostly just amounted to the Cards hanging onto a dwindling lead. The Cougars got it down to a two point game twice before Briahanna Jackson dropped two Free Throws end to get the score to the final of 71-67.
What We Liked and Disliked
We liked the improving rebounding...for the most part. This still isn't where it needs to be, with another instance of a guard slashing in from completely outside the play to grab an uncontested rebound after a free throw, but overall it's improving. Mostly this team is blocking out aggressively and sealing off the interior to be able to get the rebounds. I've been harping on this one a lot because it's a relatively easy thing to coach and see significant bang-for-the-buck improvements compared to, for example, trying to coach lay-up shooting. Both need to improve, but coaching attempting to blocking out and rebounding can more easily result in drastic improvements, and quickly. With lay-ups, the players just need to get in the gym and put up shots...a lot...and then some more...until they start falling.
We disliked the Free Throw shooting. 54% will just not get the job done. The mark to hit here at Cardinal Couple is 70%, and the team got close in the 2nd and 4th quarters, with 67% in both (2 of 3, and 4 of 6, respectively), but the 46% in the 3rd quarter will result in losses in competitive ACC play.
We like that Myisha Hines-Allen continues to step up her play. With a double-double (22 points and 14 rebounds), she is becoming the real heart of this team. If Myisha is the heart, Briahanna Jackson is...I don't know, the pulse? Her return to form with 19 points gave the team a real spark. Mariya Moore may be started to work her way out of a bit of a shooting slump with 4 of 10 3pt shooting, but 3 of 6 from the charity stripe is contributing to the team's woes in that category, a real problem for a shooting guard.
Hines-Allen Tabbed for Player of the Week
On the strength of her play in wins against Dartmouth, at Tennessee Tech, and at College of Charleston, Myisha Hines-Allen got the nod for this week's Player of the Week in the ACC. As just a sophomore, getting PoW nods already in her career certainly bodes well for the future Hines-Allen.