Friday, January 1, 2016
Louisville women's basketball down #15 FSU 79-69 -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
FAST START, CLUTCH FREE THROWS GIVE CARDS ACC OPENER WIN
Anytime an opponent out-rebounds you by 11 and shoots 49.1% against you, there is usually an "L" in the schedule results next to your name. Not so for the University of Louisville basketball team, though, Friday afternoon in a 79-69 New Years Day win in front of 9126 in the KFC YUM! Center. Louisville pulls the upset over FSU and does it without much of a problem.
After FSU's Adut Bulgak put the Noles (10-4) into a 2-0 lead two minutes into the contest (their only lead in the contest)...the Cards (9-5) went on a 13-0 run to lead 13-2 with 2:33 left in the period and then got an Arica Carter three to push that to 16-4...eventually ending the period ahead 19-6. Carter had seven points in that pivotal period where the Cards held FSU to 30% shooting.
If the first period belonged to Carter, the second stanza was the Mariya Moore Show. The Richmond, CA sophomore had 13 points by halftime and was 4 for 5 from beyond the arc. Her three with 3:24 until halftime was the catalyst for a 11-5 closing run by the Cards that pushed a 27-24 lead to a 38-29 advantage.
The Cards had forced 15 FSU turnovers and held FSU point-guard Leticia Romero to just two points and one assist. Louisville wasn't winning the boards battle against the taller Seminoles but had nine first half steals and 17 points off the FSU miscues.
FSU came out with determination in the third quarter and had narrowed the Cardinal lead to 44-38 in the first three minutes. Stepping into the spotlight next for UofL was Briahanna Jackson. Scoring three layups on three consecutive fast breaks..she then knocked down a three with 4:27 remaining to set the tally at 55-44. Her jumper with 37 seconds left in the third quarter gave her 11 points for the quarter. Asia Durr buzzer-beater three gave the Cards a 64-51 edge with ten minutes to go.
The 'Noles still weren't ready to head to the bus. In a quarter where Louisville only made three baskets, FSU managed to trim the lead to 66-61 after two straight Bulgak trifectas. From that point on, the hero of the fourth period was free throw shooting. The Cards were repeatedly sent to the charity stripe and converted on nine of their final 12 free throws...Moore going five for six in the stretch...to keep the visitors at bay.
FSU sank four threes in the final quarter and Bulgak...who hit three of them... finished with 22 points but the Cards take their ACC opener 77-67. Shakayla Thomas, who was coacked by Walz and played with Moore on the USA U-19 was the only other "Nole in double figures...a strong 15 points and seven grabs.
Knocking off a team that was expected to finish in the top 2 or 3 spots of your conference is a good way to get the conference slate started. Doing it convincingly is whipped cream on the pumpkin pie.
HOW DID FRED DO?
We spoke earlier in the week about the Cards needing to get to know "FRED". Free throws, Rebounds, Easy shots and Defense. Unfortunately, they weren't best buddies with any of the four categories but still got the win.
FREE THROWS: Louisville went 14-23 from the foul stripe for 60.9%...a bit lower than our mandated 70%. Partial credit for a 9-14 final ten minutes performance.
REBOUNDING: Against the taller, more physical Seminoles...Louisville lost the boards battle 41-30. Hats off to Cortnee Walton for 11 grabs but FSU front liners Bukgat, Shakayla Thomas and Kai James had 21 grabs and owned the paint at times.
EASY SHOTS: Still too many missed inside attempts. Louisville was outscored 38-36 in the paint and both Moore and Jackson had several point-blank attempts miss the mark. Credit a strong FSU interior defensive presence for some of that...but UofL still needs to get better at close-in range.
DEFENSE: Today's game saw an improvement in the Cards defense effort but FSU did shoot 49.1%. 24 turnovers forced is a stat to be proud of as well but Bulgat was getting wide open shots most of the game and Louisville had no answer for Thomas and James inside pretty much all of the contest.
Still, it was a win that maybe wasn't expected against a nationally-ranked opponent who had the leading three-point shooter (Romero) and steals creator (Brown) in the ACC and a squad that was leading the ACC in rebounding margin (+15.3) and win margin (22.8 ppg).
Moore led Louisville with 20 points...one of four Cards to hit double figures. Jackson added 15 (despite 1-7 three-point shooting), Hines-Allen finished with 13 and Carter contributed 11. Walton nearly made it a double-double with nine points and 11 boards. It was another strong effort from Durr today...nine points in just 11 minutes and Erin DeGrate was the only other Cardinal to score...with two. Fuehring, Cole and Weatherford played also. Only 25 minutes for the freshmen today in a game where four UofL players saw at least 36 minutes.
Redemption train rolled into ACC Country Sunday and found no roadblocks in what was probably the Cards second best win of the season. Next, a short turnaround before heading into Hot 'Lanta for a Sunday game against the Ramblin' Wreck.
THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR
We'll discuss the two Cardinal wins this week and preview the Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech games coming up on THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR...which will air at 11 a.m. Saturday morning on WCHQ 100.9 FM and on the internet at www.crescenthillradio.com
It should be another good show with WorldWide and Pauie and possible appearances from Sam the Intern and Paige Sherrard. Link below:
SATURDAY MORNING CONFUSION