MYISHA HINES-ALLEN RECORDS CAREER HIGHS WITH 31 POINTS AND 17 REBOUNDS IN UOFL WIN.
Louisville women's basketball overcame a 15-point 3rd quarter deficit and takes the win in overtime in a wild game at Charlottesville Thursday night to down Virginia 86-81. Myisha Hines-Allen had career highs with 31 points and 17 grabs, Mariya Moore added 23 points and Asia Durr with 16 in the win that saw both Myisha and Mariya on the bench for the final 1:24 of the extra session.
It was a game of runs, luck, miscues and...in the end...free throw shooting that got the Cards to 14-3 on the season. While waiting for my sedative to kick in, let's see how they got it done.
The first half was, in my humble opinion, the worst half of the season for Jeff Walz's squad. Despite jumping out to an early 5-0 lead in the first two minutes, the Cards couldn't find the basket after that and seven first quarter turnovers helped the Wahoos take control with a 12-2 run over six minutes and lead after the first ten 17-11. The Cards shot 27.8% in the initial session and Hines-Allen spent five minutes on the bench but had four points to lead the Cards in scoring. 12 turnovers. BJ still feeling the effects of her illness, it seemed and Asia Durr was off as well with just one three. Turns out, she wasn't feeling that great either in the game. Daggone illnesses...
It proceeded to get worse in the next ten. The Cards started with some effort...cutting the Cavs lead to two at 19-17 after three straight Hines-Allen scores to start the quarter. Hines-Allen still had Louisville hanging around when her jumper in the paint made it 25-24 Virginia with 4:14 until half but a 13-1 closing run put UVA in charge 38-25 and one had to wonder what was going on with the Cardinal squad and their lack of effort.
We figured Coach Walz probably cracked the locker room walls with a half-time tirade (in fact... he didn't know what to say about the lackadaisical effort) and just
questioned his squad's commitment. Beside Hines-Allen and her 13 points...the Louisville boat was dead in the water and no one else seemed willing to pick up an oar and row.
It got even more dire to start the third, if that's possible. Hines-Allen and Moore tried to rally the Cards at the beginning and cut the UVA edge to 40-31. An 8-2 Cavalier run over the next four minutes, though, had the home team up 48-33 after a Aliyah Huland El three and some good things definitely needed to happen for the hapless Cards.
One of those good things was Taylor Johnson. Some key passing and tough defense started to raise the Cards out of their winter hibernation. A Cortnee Walton bucket, three T.J. free throws, a Durr three, two Moore charity tosses and Walton inside again and it was a 12-0 run and it was suddenly a 48-45 game. Hines-Allen got her 20th. point on a "and one" to make it 50-48 and the quarter ended at 52-48. We had a game again and the Cards had secured the momentum.
Louisville would regain the lead for the first time since the first quarter when Moore knocked back a trifecta with 8:02 to play to make it 55-54. It was tooth and nail, back and forth for the next five minutes...then Taylor Johnson drew a key charging foul off of the Cavs and Moore sank her second three of the quarter to give the Cards the edge at 65-60 with 2:37 remaining. She popped another long-range, three-point net-swisher for her 20th point 39 seconds later and at 68-62 with 1:58 left...this one was looking awfully good for the visitors.
Virginia wasn't buying that. A Breyana Mason three cut the edge to 68-66. The Cards went cold from the charity stripe over the next 45 seconds when Moore missed three free ones and Taylor Johnson missed two...but Durr's two for two at the line had the Cards up 71-68 with less than five seconds to go.
The ball went to Virginia's freshman guard Dominique Toussaint, though...and she came through huge with a deep three at the buzzer to make it 71-71 and send the contest to overtime. Stunner....setting off a wild home crowd and home team celebration. Bonus ball and a possible momentum switch in the affair.
I questioned why the Cards didn't foul on that in-bounds possession. Later, in his post-game radio interview show...Coach Walz admitted they probably should have done just that but he feared a make then a miss and Virginia rebound from their 6'9" center Felicia Aiyeotan for a put-back to tie it and possibly win it if she was fouled on the put-back score and hit a free throw.
Conjecture...yeah...and I'm no probability expert...but in any event...bonus ball was on the way and the Cards had the M&M girls with four fouls each. White-knuckle time.
Virginia never led in the extra session but they did make it interesting. The teams exchanged baskets for the first 2:30 and then a Moore foul sent her to the bench. Two free throws from Hines-Allen made it 77-74 Cards with 2:15 left but she was called for her fifth infraction 30 seconds later. Who would the Cards turn to now...with 54 of their points now on the bench?
Turns out, it was a group effort. Jazmine Jones nailed one of two charity tosses to give the Cards a 78-74 lead with 1:24 in the overtime. After VA hit two free throws, Durr got the same chance and reciprocated on her attempts with 30 seconds left. Huland El made good on two free tosses with 20 seconds left to set the ledger at 80-78. The Hoos fouled Taylor Johnson immediately (and maybe mistakenly) and she nailed both chances to give UofL the 82-78 edge. A foul sent Jazmine Jones back to the stripe with six ticks left and she came through on both to create what seemed to be an insurmountable 84-78 advantage. J'Kyra Brown thought differently for UVA, though and her three cut the tally to 84-81. Virginia should change their nickname to the Cats...because it seemed they had nine lives last night.
A Mason foul on Durr gave her two attempts with 1.1 seconds on the clock and both went through the net to give UofL the 86-81 win. Fortunately, a five-point play didn't happen.
Myisha did her best Godzilla impersonation tonight in the John Paul Jones Arena tonight. The people of Charlottesville are not safe until she boards the charter flight home. Mariya stepped up big-time when she was absolutely needed. Asia Durr overcame a dreadful start and held the squad together in overtime and Taylor Johnson provided a needed spark off the bench to give the Cards a hard fought, if not shaky, ACC road win.
Let me catch my breath here...let's go to Fred.
HOW DID FRED DO?
|Farmer Fred from THE WATERBOY movie|
Rebounds -- Give the Cards a 51-42 advantage Thursday night. Hines-Allen was dominating. They took both the offensive and defensive categories. We will award the capital "R" because of that.
Effort/Execution -- This one is a tale of two halves. Louisville performed like a three-legged horse in the Kentucky Derby in the first twenty. They finally showed signs of life in the third quarter and won the overtime 15-10 but it wasn't a thing of beauty. Because it was a win and because of Hines-Allen, I'll distribute a small-case "e" here. Maybe an "e" minus-minus.
Defense -- Virginia shot 42.3% (50% from three-point range) and Huland-El torched the Cards time and time again. The Cards did get 12 steals but forced only 14 turnovers. The 12-0 stretch in the third quarter was spurred by the defense, though, and UofL held UVA to 2 for 8 shooting in overtime. Grudgingly, I'll award a small case "d"...since defense did get Louisville back in the game and they won.
FINAL FRED COUNT: F-R-e-d
THINGS WE LIKED
Marvelous Myisha Hines-Allen. She put on her best performance of the season, maybe of her career on a night when it was desperately needed. Losing her at the end of this one -- on a whistle-happy night -- was critical but the squad finished the work she started. Any questions on why she was the pre-season ACC Player of the Year top vote-getter?
Taylor-made. Taylor Johnson resembled a point-guard in many ways tonight and did it off the bench to give UofL a much needed lift. She caught the eye of the UVA based TV crew and deserved the kudos on a night where BJ wasn't at her best.
Finishing. Too often we've lamented here about Louisville losing the fourth quarter. Louisville actually won it, the second half and overtime session tonight. It was a topsy-turvy, roller-coaster ride but the objective is to out-score the opponent and Louisville did that after a horrendous start.
THINGS TO WORK ON
Consistency. This team needs to put 40 (or 45 minutes) together from here on out if they want to achieve ACC success. Let's face it, Virginia might well probably be dubious in getting an NCAA Tournament bid but they looked like UConn against the Cards for 26 minutes tonight. Time to commit, buy in, do the work and invest in yourself Cards.
Bench. Not a stellar effort out of those who aren't starters tonight...except for Taylor Johnson and a few Jazmine Jones flashes. Walz tried to play 12 players tonight but zero points and three rebound in 13 minutes for five of them forced him to stay with seven players the majority of the way tonight.
What did we learn tonight? We learned that Louisville can come from behind on the road. We learned that lackadaisical and uninspired play to start a game can be a real tough situation to overcome. It was confirmed that Myisha Hines-Allen is the best player in the ACC and that smart play can eliminate turnovers.
Speaking of turnovers, I was brought up in Coach Walz's post-game radio presser. Not because of any I committed (although I made a judgement call and did leave the lap-top view for a brief while to listen on the radio out on the porch and yell..) but in his reference to the Cards opening a bakery and distributing turnovers right and left. He attributed the phrase to his grandfather but dedicated it to me. I like those lemon-custard turnovers...but would opt-out for a nice cheese danish if there is an option. Maybe someone will bring me one on media row Sunday...
I will study this and decide...1) If I want to get into the bakery business with Coach Walz. 2) What to name it if I do -- although he probably has a name picked out -- and 3) Who our staff and servers will be. They don't want me on the counter, by the register or near the oven...so I expect I'll be on trash runs, dishes and clean-up...much like what I do here daily on the website.
The Cards go 1-1 against "the Joanne's" on their road trip and Pitt comes in Sunday. Hopefully the Cards and Walz will close the bakery and open a pest-elimination service.
I can't cook and I can't dance...