Thursday, January 7, 2016
Louisville women's basketball must respect Virginia Tech -- Thursday Cardinal Couple
HOKIES ROLL INTO TOWN WITH 13-1 RECORD
It's ACC Conference play, so don't expect any easy ones...if you're a Louisville women's basketball fan. Take a look at tonight's 7 p.m. game in the KFC YUM! Center if you need any further evidence.
Once a .500 or worse member of the conference in terms of wins, the Hokies went through the previous eight seasons without a year of more wins than losses. Maybe a doormat at times, but all that has changed in Blacksburg, VA.
VT has knocked off both Penn State and Tennessee on the road this year and suffered only one loss...on the road to Georgetown early in the season.
Using a patient, ball control offense...the Hokies will try to run the shot clock deep each offensive possession in search of the open player with a good shot. Defensively, they're the #1 ranked team in the NCAA...allowing a mere 45.3 points per game and holding opponents to a 30% shooting average.
The threats when VT goes on offense are a couple of Aussies. Vanessa Panousis, a 5'7" junior guard out of Sydney that averages 11.0 per outing and Hannah Young, a 6'1" senior forward from Newcastle that contributes 10.8 a game. They are also the major three-point threats for a team that averages only 64.2 ppg. Balanced scoring for this group, with three more players averaging 8.0 or better a night.
So, how do you beat a team like this?
-- Make your shots count. Misses that the Hokies come up with probably mean that you're not going to get the ball for another 30 seconds or so...the forced, wild shots must not be a part of Louisville's offense tonight and easy misses...as the Cards are prone to...need to be cut way back.
-- Go "boarding". Rebounding, especially on the defensive end, will be a key to a Cardinal win. You don't want them to come up with a rebound off one of their missed shots and start the whole 30 seconds of offense again.
-- Defensive pressure. If Virginia Tech is going to use the whole shot clock, make sure that they're not having an easy time passing, getting weasy looks and getting inside. The Cards would be well served to overplay the passing lanes and try to force VT into errant passes or turnovers by ramping up the defensive intensity.
-- Rain threedom down upon them. The surest way to get a team out of a congestion-clogging defense is burn them from the deep. Hopefully Moore and Jackson will get the looks to do so. If Durr is feeling the hot hand from tri-land...it can only help open up the middle eventually.
If you're going to have limited possessions, why not get three points for each instead of two?
The two squads met in Blacksburg last season and the Cards eked out a 69-49 win that was close until a big Cardinal run in the second half. Shawnta Dyer led Louisville with 15 points and Mariya Moore had 14 for the Cards that night. The Hokies trailed 34-23 at the half but pulled within five a 38-33 after a Panousis three with 17 minues left. Louisville put together a 18-4 run after that, though, and held VT to just one basket in that nine-minute stretch.
It should be a fun one...possibly a very low scoring one...in the YUM! tonight as Louisville looks to improve to 11-5 and 3-0 in the ACC. ESPN 3 will show the event with my loquacious buddy Don Russell and former UofL women's basketball coach Sara White on camera and the dependable call of Matt and A.J.will be available on 790 AM WKRD.
The UofL men also play tonight...on the road but at the same time and on ESPN 2. Please attend live, folks...you can watch the guys on delay when you get home.
We'll be back later tonight for the recap of the action.