ASIA DURR'S 34-POINT SECOND HALF PERFORMANCE HELPS LEAD WBB CARDS TO WIN OVER SYRACUSE.
The Fluer De Lis is the official symbol and seal of Louisville, KY. The English translation from French is "lily flower." Last night in the KFC YUM! Center in front of 8586 enthused and loud fans...the University of Louisville women's basketball team put its own seal out there and created a new symbol...The Fluer De Durr. Asia Durr was the lily flower of Louisville and was in full bloom in the second half on a cold, raw and windy winter's eve.
The Douglasville, GA sophomore had 34 second-half points on 10 for 18 shooting that included seven three pointers to put the Cards on her back and rally them to a 15 point win over the Syracuse Orange in a topsy-turvy, wild and exciting contest that featured a total seven players in the contest reaching double figures. 36 total for Asia..which means, you guessed it...a mere two in the first half.
Durr had 18 points in a pivotal third quarter that saw the Cards erase a seven-point halftime deficit and take a 20-point with a 31-4 run over the first 7:40 that put them up 64-44 after trailing 40-33 at the half. She added 16 in the final ten minutes...including a "Are-you-kidding me?" three as the shot-clock expired with five seconds left in the contest to set the final score and drive the fans into one last, deafening frenzy.
In-"Durr"-structable..."Durr-mination." Create your own Durr-word-play.
The final feats from the Flock fared much better than the first 17 minutes in this one. Louisville was "the gang that couldn't shoot straight" and looked flat and without purpose against a 'Cuse squad that jumped out to a 16-4 lead in the first six minutes and sank four threes in a rough first quarter that saw Louisville trailing 22-10 after ten minutes. The Cards were 4 for 18 from the floor and had seven turnovers. Alexis Peterson was scoring anytime she felt like it and the Cards defense was about as appealing as a dry bologna sandwich on stale bread and no mayo or cheese...
The Cards were still down by 11 at 27-16 halfway through the second act when Sydney Zambrotta came in a provided a brief rallying spark with two free throws and a '3' but Louisville was only able to pare the Syracuse margin to seven at the break...needing a 5-0 flurry in the final 1:23 after a Mariya Moore three and Briahanna Jackson jumper closed out the first half scoring. 40-33 Syracuse after twenty and although the barn door was still closed there was a tad of hope that the cows were gathering around the entrance and expecting the farmer to let them in.
Coach Walz wasn't too specific about what the team discussed at halftime. It probably wasn't the death of Debbie Reynolds or college bowl football. A vague reference from Myisha in the post-game presser...mentioning it was a game of runs (Prophetic... right?) and Louisville needing to cut deeper into the lead with good defense.
Actions speak louder than words.
The Cards got the final half started in the right direction when Myisha Hines-Allen popped in two straight buckets in 38 seconds. Durr added a pair of free throws, Hines-Allen cashed in a layup and Louisville had a 42-40 lead. Then ensued a confusing sequence where Jackson was called for a foul and Syracuse's Brittany Sykes was whistled for a technical...all at the 7:38 mark. Durr hit one of the two free throws and then countered with a trifecta 15 seconds later to make it a 10-0 Louisville run. A harvest of Cardinal baskets (let's call it the Durr/Fuehr sequence) followed after a Orange bucket. Durr jumper, Sam Fuehring inside, Fuehring again inside, three for Durr and it was suddenly 54-42 Cards with half the half left to play.
The Cards would push on out to a 20-point advantage but "Q" 's players would close the half on a wild 15-5 run in the final 2:20 of the quarter to get within ten after three. Only four Cards scored in the third period...Durr with 18, Fuehring 10, HInes-Allen with six and Walton two. 55 total points scored in 10 minutes.
What would the fourth quarter bring in this already frenzied and action-packed contest?
More "soup du Durr" was served (hey, who let the Swedish Chef in here?) but not before Syracuse made one last attempt to steal the server's tray.
A Peterson 5-0 run to start the final period had the visitors within five at 69-64
A painful 90 seconds followed with just one Cardinal basket and five total missed shots before Durr drained a three. Gabby Cooper countered for the "Q" crew with a bomb but Hines-Allen's jumper and Durr's fifth "3" of the contest gave Louisville some breathing room at 79-69 with 5:34 to play. Durr connected on her sixth three to give the Cards a stress-relieving 84-69 advantage with 4:23 to go. A dubious double technical foul...on Sykes again and BJ...with 3:42 left...stopped action for a few minutes at 84-71. Hines-Allen's jumper and the the final five Cardinal points of the game from Durr gave Louisville a hard-fought, well-deserved 91-76 victory.
Besides Durr's 36...MHA finished with 18, Mariya Moore shone with a triple-double consisting of 11 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds and Fuehring's nine minute flurry added 10 to round out the UofL (13-2) double-figure performers. Credit to Peterson for pouring in 31 in the contest and Sykes had 20 and 10 rebounds in the losing cause for now 9-5 Syracuse.
HOW DID FRED DO?
Free throws -- Saints preserve us and praise Mother McCree...Louisville went 20-24 from the foul line for 83%. Durr's 9-12 was a big part of that...Moore 4-4 and three players at 2-2 allow me to award...with a tear in my eye and smile on my face a Capital "F" here. Thank you...Blessed Mother of the Charity Stripe.
Rebounding -- The Cards ruled the paint with a 45-27 advantage.. The M&M gals with 21 and how about BJ with nine? Keep the capital letters coming...no doubt about a "R" in this column.
Effort/Execution -- Durr's performance in the second half was outstanding and the Louisville run to start the third exemplary, yes...but Louisville started slow and had a burp to end the third and start the fourth. 18 Cards turnovers and 10 Syracuse steals create a scenario where we'll award a letter...but a small case "e".
Defense -- It was good at times but allowing 13 threes, getting only four steals and forcing just 13 turnovers...plus allowing Sykes and Peterson 51 points on 43% shooting..means the "d" wasn't spectacular. I know, they're great guards, but they were averaging just slightly over 40 a game between the two of them prior to tonight. The defense shone brightly to start the third. The "d"was good enough when it mattered and we'll complete the Fred sequence with a lower case "d".
Final FRED tally : F-R-e-d
What We Liked
Asia Durr. (Fill in your own superlatives.) As I tweeted early this morning...
Asia Durr @A_Hooper25 had one of the most amazing performances I've seen in the 2nd half with 34 points in @UofLWBB 91-76 win over Syracuse.
Even "Q" Quentin Hillsman, the head Syracuse coach, opening remarks at the post-game presser were: "I guess we gotta say...Asia Durr. Wow. What a tremendous performance by her."
The run. To expand it just a bit...Louisville went from a 40-28 deficit in the second quarter to a 64-44 lead late in the third. That's a 36-4 run over roughly ten minutes. That'll win you a few games.
Also starring... Let's not forget Moore, Hines-Allen, Fuehring and BJ's big efforts in this one. A star needs a solid supporting cast and Durr had one Thursday night.
|"Q" getting ready for his post-game radio show|
Things To Work On
Slow starts. How can you not get fired up and want to come out right off the bat to demolish the team that knocked you out of the ACC Tournament last year? A top 25 foe? Yes, the engine finally got running...but those first 17 minutes weren't exactly Louisville's finest of the season.
The lapse. Up by 20, the Cards had the KFC YUM! Center roaring in approval. A 20-5 Syracuse run followed...cutting that lead to five and creating a uneasy feeling in many of those who were giddy a few minutes before. When you have them on the run, chase them out the door and lock it.
Kylee Shook. Sidelined with a sprained ankle from practice a few days ago, the talented first-year player had to watch this one. No report on when she'll return or severity of the sprain. Although she had the protective cast on, she wasn't on crutches and we hope for a speedy recovery. Sam Fuehring arguably may have got some of those minutes that Kylee might have seen...and made the most of them. We'd like to see both of them tear it up in their time out there in the future...because they are the future.
This game was a knockdown, battle to the end contest. This game had me worried going into it. I knew Syracuse had a top flight contingent of guards. They have a great three-point capability. They did nothing to assuage that fear of mine early on. Then, suddenly, Asia Durr showed up. That was basketball worth watching and I'll go back and find it on the ACC Network Extra rebroadcasts just to see it again.
Who will stand up each night for Louisville? It's a query that gets answered by multiple players in varying ways on this Cardinal roster. Myisha one night, Asia the next. A freshman or two. BJ.
Is Louisville a top five team yet? No, I see others better than them currently. Can they get there this season? I like their chances.
On a night where runs were as prevalent as bees around a blooming bush in summer...Louisville overcame their staggering start and withstood a final charge from a talented Syracuse team . They got a career performance from a player that just may have a bushel-basket full of them before she ends her days on the Denny Crum Court. A good night during this holiday season. A late Christmas gift and pre-New Year's reason to celebrate.
got the "W", oh, buddy!!!
They Said it!
COACH WALZ POST GAME
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN and MARIYA MOORE POST GAME
ASIA DURR ADDRESSES THE MEDIA