Friday, December 2, 2016
LOUISVILLE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL -- Cards comeback falls short in 78-72 loss to Maryland
ASIA DURR'S 20 NOT ENOUGH IN LOSS
The University of Louisville women's basketball team used a 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter to erase a nine-point deficit and take a 64-62 led in front of 7816 in the KFC YUM! Center Thursday night...but the comeback died there and #5 Maryland went on a 16-10 run over the final five minutes to down Louisville by six...78-72.
Heart. Winning and losing.
Subjects Jeff Walz's kept coming back to in his post-game presser.
After making a gallant bid to overtake the Terps...the Cards were still in a dog-fight with less than three minutes to play...tied at 67-67...but a missed Asia Durr jumper and huge three-point play plus two free throws by Maryland freshman Destiny Slocum keyed a 7-2 Maryland run to make it 74-69 with 46 seconds left on the clock. It seemed the visitors were making the big plays and stops while the Cards were falling short and a step slower. After getting back into the game, the Cards went 3-12 over the final five minutes. Fatigue wasn't a factor...Maryland wanted it more and went and got it.
For some inexplicable, debatable and hard-to-define reason, whatever momentum the Cards had decided to leave through the Main Street exit doors of the KFC YUM! Center in the last three minutes of this one. Rudely and abruptly.
Poise. Toughness. Composure. They were things Maryland head coach Brenda Frese pointed to as key elements that brought Maryland back off the ropes. That, and hitting their final seven free throws...Slocum sinking five of them. Slocum being able to shrug off whatever happened earlier in the game and just go get the win.
Louisville started the contest well...jumping out to a 18-9 lead when Durr sank a three with 3:36 left in the first frame and led after 10 minutes 24-20. It was Durr doing the damage...11 points in that stretch.
Maryland wasn't intimidated, though and battled back to grab a 28-26 advantage when Shatori Walker-Kimbrough connected with 7:08 until the half off a nice pass from Slocum. They would stretch that out to 40-32 after two Kiah Gillespie free throws at the 3:14 mark...but the Cards would go on a 6-2 run to end the half...A Durr jumper setting the halftime score at 42-38.
Although Myisha Hines-Allen started to show signs of life in the third quarter after a first half of two points...Louisville fell victim to a 11-2 Terrapin run over a four minutes stretch that had the Big Ten member leading 55-45 after Slocum nailed a jumper. Things weren't looking so good for UofL after three...trailing 62-53. Where would it lead from here?
It led in a pretty good direction to start...this fourth quarter, get-back-into-it-and-take-the-lead stretch...followed, sadly, by the late letdown for Louisville. When Briahanna Jackson sank a fast-break layup with 5:41 remaining to give the Cards a 64-62 lead...it was deafening in the YUM! Center. Hines-Allen was playing with a renewed vigor and it looked like Louisville might just be ready to grab control of this game again and go on to win.
Then, the air went out of the balloon. Hines-Allen basket plus one gave Louisville their final lead at 67-65 but the Cards couldn't get the defensive stops or hit the shots and free throws the rest of the way.
Durr led the Cards with 20 points (on 8-27 shooting...including 3-14 from three-point line) and Myisha and Mariya rounded out the Cards double-digit dwellers with 16 and 13 each. B.J. added nine points and dished out eight assists and Cortnee Walton, getting her first start on the year, played 35 minutes and ended up with eight points and a team-high nine rebounds.
It's hard to explain exactly what happened to Louisville in the final 3:15 Thursday night...even Coach Walz was stumped by it..except that a freshman visited the KFC YUM! Center for the first time (appropriately named Destiny) and had her way with the Cards at the end of the game.
HOW DID FRED DO?
'Fred' barely made an appearance tonight. Certainly not like the ones the late Freddy Mercury of Queen ...who is pictured to the left... used to put on for the fans. Speaking of singers...CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO favorite Robbie Bartlett did the National Anthem tonight...and nobody does it better! We love "The Robster".
-- FREE THROWS -- Louisville went 6-14 from the stripe. That's below 70%...a paltry 42.8% to be exact and we can't award a letter here.
-- REBOUNDING -- A 48-35 edge for Maryland in the battle of the boards. Having Walton back helped some...and Myisha did grab seven...but when you lose the rebounding battle, especially by 18 on the defensive end, no letter gets awarded here either.
-- EFFORT/EXECUTION -- We loved the fast start and the furious fourth quarter comeback...but when it came to "crunch time" the Cards were out-played. Asia Durr left it all out on the court, so we'll award a small case "e".
-- DEFENSE -- Louisville held Maryland to 18 points under their season average and 4-23 three point shooting...but Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones were a combined 15-23 from the floor. The Cards forced 18 turnovers, so we'll hand out another small case "d". The defensive intensity at the end left a lot to be desired.
FINAL FRED STAT: _-_-e-d
WHAT WE LIKED
-- Astounding Asia. She gave it her all in 37 minutes of play and, despite the 8-27 shooting and 3-14 three-point night, she showed us again tonight why she's the best player and hardest worker the Cards have currently.
-- Courageous Cortnee. 35 solid minutes in her first start of the year and providing some key rebounding...plus 4-5 shooting. That's not bad and will probably improve. Welcome back, C.W.
WHAT NEEDS WORK
-- A return to successful three-dom. 4-23 is 17.4% and I don't know of a coach in college hoops that would rave about that. Granted, Asia took 14 of them...but Mariya and B.J. need to get back into a knocking these home mode.
-- Sealing the deal. Louisville was primed and posed to win this game. They had Maryland back on their heels and all the momentum. Then, it stopped. Call it what you will...lack of heart, no killer instinct, not wanting it as much...but this was a prime opportunity that slipped away.
Losing back-to-back games to top #5 teams is certainly no crime, maybe expected by the rest of the basketball world and we wouldn't be surprised to see Maryland (as well as South Carolina) playing in the Final Four come tournament time. The outrage could get pretty vocal, though, if the Cards fall to Kentucky. Cardinal fans want to beat UK in everything and in women's basketball...well, let's just say I'm gonna dread the e-mails and comments here at the site if UofL doesn't win Sunday at home against the gals 80 miles up the road on I-64 East.
There are reasons for concern, sure...about the fact that the Cards can't beat a top-five team. They had a boisterous crowd, home court edge and no referee bias against them last night (total fouls were 19 on Maryland and 20 on Louisville and Dee Kanter, Billy Smith and "Louie" Gonzalez are three of the best in college WBB). Still, the Cards could not get a win.
Yes, these are early-season games and this has been the toughest part of a pretty brutal five-game stretch for Louisville. Conference play matters much more...but the patterns you set early in the season can sometimes provide a road-map for the rest of the year.
It's time for this team to show they are a top-ten team instead of talking about their desire to go to Dallas this year. Right now, they aren't a top ten team and would be a prohibitive long-shot for the final four. Time is a saving grace, though, and you need to have a short memory sometimes...but actions speak louder than words. It's time for Louisville to close some doors and out-play the competition. Sunday would be a good day to start.
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POST GAME WALZ LINK : WALZ POST GAME MARYLAND (Make sure and catch where Coach "zings me" at the 9:45 mark...loved it!)
POST GAME HINES-ALLEN AND ASIA DURR LINK: MYSHIA AND ASIA POST GAME MARYLAND
POST GAME BRENDA FRESE: POST GAME MARYLAND WBB HEAD COACH BRENDA FRESE