MYSHIA HINES-ALLEN WITH 26 IN CARDS WIN
This one was a nail-biter, thriller, one to make you mutter and one where you threw your hands up high in the air in joyous celebration at the end (if you are a Cardinal fan) Sunday afternoon at the KFC YUM! Center. Or wiped your brow and said a small prayer. The Battle of the Bluegrass was, indeed a battle. A battle that Louisville walked away from a winner
Louisville came back from a four-point deficit with 3:56 left in regulation to force over-time and never trailed in the extra session to get the win over the Cats 69-67.
Not that the overtime didn't have its moments of doubt and uncertainty. Up by four with nine seconds left after Jazmine Jones went 1 for 2 from the foul line...the Cats raced down court and Maci Morris drained a three to make it 68-67 with five seconds left. UK fouled Briahanna Jackson on the following inbounds play...she missed the first but made the second and UK was unable to score...giving Louisville the final margin of victory.
If you are a college basketball fan, this one was a great one to watch. The Cards got an early boosts from Myisha Hines-Allen to start the contest. In fact, it was Myisha 6 - UK 0 with 7:44 left in the first period. The Cards kept the margin and a Kylie Shook three...followed by a Jackson steal and layup gave the Cards a 18-9 edge with 1:47 left in the opening quarter. UK's Taylor Murray...who finished with 21 points sank a jumper to set the score at 18-11 after the first ten minutes.
Louisville began the second frame with a Jazmine Jones jumper but fell prey to a Cats 13-4 run over a five-minute stretch that tied the game at 24-24 after a Makayla Epps layup. Asia Durr would push the Cards back to a 29-24 edge with her first three of the half at the 2:27 mark and the Cards would take a 30-26 lead into the halftime locker room.
Hines-Allen led Louisville in scoring with eight, despite sitting 12 of the 20 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. Jazmine Jones sparked the Cards off the bench with six points. Louisville was shooting 41.9% from the floor...but a less-than-admirable 3-12 from three-point land (25%).
The second half started out in favor of Big Blue...an Epps three and Murray layup on a fast break gave them a 31-30 lead just 150 seconds into action. Louisville responded well, though...an 8-2 run keyed by three Hines-Allen baskets inside put UofL back ahead 38-33 with a little over three minutes left in the third. Kentucky kept gnawing away at the margin the remainder of the period and a Murray free throw set the end of period score at 44-43 Louisville.
The Cards were able to keep a slim advantage until an Epps three-point play the old way with 4:17 left gave the visitors a 54-50 edge. Tied at 54 with 51 seconds left in regulation, two Morris free throws gave the Cats the lead. Hines-Allen tied it on a layup 18 seconds later and a quarter that had four ties and two lead changes ended with the prospect of five minutes of bonus ball ahead. 56-56 and the almost 13,000 fans in the seats...both red and blue...were whipped into a cheering frenzy.
The overtime began quite well for the Cards. A Durr three, Hines-Allen jumper Durr free throw and another Hines-Allen bucket comprised a 8-3 Louisville run over the first three minutes. UK battled back but could never regain the advantage....the Cards getting their first win over the Wildcats since December 5th, 2010.
Any landing you walk away from is a good one. It's a "W" in the win column against a very talented Kentucky squad that is doing amazing things with a depleted roster (the Cats played four players over 42 minutes) and a zone defense scheme that Matthew Mitchell probably wouldn't prefer to play but was very effective at times.
Besides Hines-Allen's 26, only Asia Durr got to double figures with 15. Mariya Moore knotted eight, Jazmine Jones seven, Briahanna Jackson five and Kylee Shook and Cortnee Walton four each. The Johnson's (Taylor and Ciera) played but did not score. Jessica Laemmle, Brianna Jones, Bionca Dunham and Sydney Zambrotta dressed but did not see action and Sam Fuehring was absent (coaches decision).
HOW DID FRED DO?
|Pop and country star from the 1970's Freddy Fender|
Rebounding -- The Cards came away with a 49-40 edge on the boards. Walton and (what?) Briahanna with 10 each. Positioning and hustle are everything. We gladly offer up the capitol "R" in this category.
Effort/Execution -- A much better effort for the Cards tonight, especially to end the game. There exists a heart in this squad and it beat strongly Sunday afternoon. Eighteen points off 19 turnovers and Hines-Allen coming out like the ACC player of the year. Briahanna Jackson making death-defying and clutch plays, dives and five steals. Jazmine Jones and Kylie Shook providing excellent minutes off the bench. We'll put a capital "E" in the books for this category.
Defense -- Stopping Epps is no easy thing to do. Murray and Morris are bona fide DI stars. The Cards made the stops when they needed to, though and created 19 turnovers and held UK under seventy. A small case "d" seems only fair here.
Final Fred total: -_R-E-d
WHAT WE LIKED:
-- Beating the Rival. Always good to knock off a top 20 team. Even better when it's UK. The fans have been clamoring for it, the players wanted it and it happened. After the two-game loss streak, this win was desperately needed and earned.
-- Myisha Hines-ALL OVER!. The talented junior stood up when she was most needed and delivered the goods. 18 points in the final 25 minutes and showed grit, determination and the refuse-to-lose mentality. No one was more happier about this win than her. When I asked her post-game how it felt to beat UK, she responded with "Oh, Buddy ! That's all I got to say...Oh, Buddy!"
-- Non-collapsible. The Cards did not fold or collapse in crunch time. UK did everything they could to win this contest and held what looked to be a tough lead to overcome late. Louisville did.
-- Walz. He could have shied away from the constant comments about his post-game remarks after Maryland. He did not. He met them straight forward, reinforced his beliefs in them again and expounded upon them. That's a sign of character...and he backed it up with a win and acknowledgement that he was proud of his players' effort.
THINGS TO WORK ON
-- Free Throws -- We hate to harp on it...but 45% from the foul line isn't going to get you to a National championship. Mariya Moore was the best at 5-8...but that isn't even 70%. Gotta hit the ones you aren't guarded on.
-- Inside excellence -- Way too many shots in the paint missed. Layups, putbacks. There is a box behind the basket and if a player uses it, good things usually follow. Yes, UK was ferocious on interior defense...but wide open layups have to go in.
This contest was like a prize fight between two top flight light-heavyweight contenders. Each participant slugging in out. No one getting knocked out but each on the ropes several times. Each team with brilliant moments and each with a few that were...well, awful.
In the end, the Cards get the decision. An earned decision. Earned by the 'refuse to lose' mind-set of Hines-Allen, B.J., Cortnee and their teammates. It was just a "W" in the books...but it may have been an opening bell for the Cards that showed them they can beat the best and take the blows.
From the swagger and strut of Epps to the floor slides and dives of Jackson...this one had a Final Four atmosphere and feel. Louisville was the last one standing and just enough better to matter on Sunday.
Myisha Hines-Allen and Briahanna Jackson took to the podium first. Here's the link: MYISHA HINES-ALLEN and BRIAHANNA JACKSON post UK
Jeff Walz ascended to the platform next and was entertained by a duck and taught Paulie a new theorem. Link: JEFF WALZ POST-GAME KENTUCKY
Matthew Mitchell, Makaya Epps and Taylor Murray following to discuss the game
LINK: MATTHEW MITCHELL discusses loss to Louisville
Congrats to Louisville Football...selected for the Citrus Bowl. The Cards will play LSU at 11 a.m. on Dec. 31st in Orlando at Camping World Stadium. We're glad the Cards are headed to warm weather for this one.
We'll have more on this as the event draws near.
BROHM TO PURDUE
One of the best quarterbacks to take snaps at UofL and NFL star Jeff Brohm has left WKU for Purdue. A six million deal, from what we're hearing. A nice upgrade.
Brohm will face a task in getting Purdue back to football relevance. Brohm will face it head on and bring an exciting style of quarterback featured attack offense to the Boilermakers.
You'll also be getting a Brohm family, West Lafayetters...that prides itself in community and campus involvement. Don't be surprised if you see the Brohm's at women's basketball, community service projects...or dining at the restaurant you like.
Purdue just may have done something right for the first time in a long time when it comes to pigskin play. To paraphrase the old UofL chant....
GO! BROHM! LEAD! PURDUE!