Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Louisville women's basketball -- Cards fall to Irish 85-66 -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
DESPITE DURR'S 31...CARDS FOLD AGAINST NOTRE DAME.
Durr and Moore combine for 49 in loss to #7 Notre Dame
Notre Dame used a second quarter 31-14 scoring advantage to take a 22-point halftime lead over the #12 Louisville women's basketball squad and went on to a convincing 85-66 triumph over the depleted Cards...who got only five minutes from Briahanna Jackson (back spasms) and a minute from Myisha Hines-Allen (knee injury). For the second-straight contest, the opponent shot 50% against Louisville and the Irish committed a scant three turnovers in 40 minutes of play Thursday night in South Bend.
Asia Durr turned in her second highest scoring performance of the season with 31 points..on 10 of 18 shooting. Mariya Moore, who was on the floor for 39 minutes along with Durr, was the Cards other double-figure performer with 18 points.
The Cards started this one pretty decently...holding a 10-6 lead with 5:38 left in the first...after Durr hit a jumper for her third basket of the game. Louisville would hold the lead until Kathryn Westbeld sank two straight jumpers from the home team to give them a 15-12 lead. By then, Jackson was on the bench with back spasms and Hines-Allen tried a minute of hobbling up and down the court before she was returned to her court-side seat. The Cards would never lead again. Notre Dame held a 19-14 advantage...going on a 10-2 run to finish the first ten minutes.
Notre Dame (22-3, 10-1) benefited from a 11-2 start to the second quarter to take a five point-lead to a 32-16 advantage after Lindsey Allen made a break-away layup with over six minutes left until halftime. UND would steadily increase than margin as the half wound down. Despite two threes and a eight-point quarter from Moore...the Cards found themselves behind 50-28 at the intermission buzzer. UofL had been outscored 31-14 in the second and had nine turnovers...Notre Dame had yet to commit one.
Durr tried to shoot the Cards back into contention with three third quarter threes and 13 points...she and Moore combined for 18 of the Cards 21 points in the quarter...but Louisville was only able to scratch the surface of the Irish lead and the Cards trailed 67-49 after three.
Durr, Moore and Ciera Johnson were able to cut the deficit in the fourth...twice the Cards narrowed the Irish advantage to 12 in the final frame. A Moore jumper set the tally at 73-61 with 5:30 to play in regulation...but Notre Dame would use a final 12-5 run to keep the Cards from getting any closer and get the 85-66 win.
Disappointing to see the Irish gather their 10th straight win over the Cards. Louisville actually held a 38-35 scoring advantage in the second half...but the damage had been done early and UofL could not come back from it.
HOW DID FRED DO?
Free Throws -- The Cards had nine chances and made 12 of them for 75%. Durr was 8 for 10 from the charity stripe and Ciera Johnson 1-2. If it's over 70%, we award the capital "F".
Rebounding -- The Cards lost the battle of the boards 35-33. A little more success from Johnson could have helped here...in 26 minutes, the Cardinal post only had two. A deficit usually mean no letter-awarded and that will hold true here.
Effort/Execution -- The Cards played pretty good and hustling basketball for about 28 minutes. It was the collapse to end the first and in the second where it looked like Louisville couldn't accomplish much of anything and Notre Dame could do not wrong. 45.5% shooting isn't bad...but 16 turnovers a bit too high. We'll award a small case "e"...mainly to the heroic efforts from Durr and Moore trying to save this game largely by themselves.
Defense -- Allowing 85 points on 50% shooting, forcing only three turnovers and getting only two steals are not impressive stats. Notre Dame seemed to be able to knock down the mid-range jumper whenever they felt like it. We can't award a letter for that effort.
FINAL FRED COUNT: F-_-e-_
WHAT WE LIKED
Asia on fire. An incredible effort from the Douglasville, GA sophomore. You can point to several aspects in this one on why the Cards lost...but her name doesn't come up in any of those. Mariya also showed some grit and gumption with four threes. They were 75% of the Louisville scoring offense last night. 49 last night and 42 against NC State for the duo.
Fighting back. It would have been easy for the Cards to just go through the motions when they were down 18 points going into the final period...but they showed a little pride and desire and got close a couple of times in making the contest a single digit affair.
WHAT NEEDS WORK
The "C" word. Consistency. We hate beating a dead horse here...but the second quarter effort was hard to watch. Will this squad ever be able to put together 40 minutes of solid basketball?
Diminished assets. Playing Notre Dame in South Bend is a daunting task in itself. Without two starters, it becomes a horror story. We hope that B.J.'s back gets better and Myisha's knee improves. Quickly.
Who wants that role? Certainly...there were chances for Cardinal reserves to step up last night. Besides Ciera Johnson and a bit of Taylor Johnson...no one was able to lay claim to those roles. Jeff Walz wants eight players that are willing to put in the effort and work on a nightly basis. By our count, as of last night...he's still four short currently.
Getting beat on the road in ACC play by the #7 team in the nation is certainly no disgrace. It's just the manner in which it happened. Notre Dame certainly laid claim to being a Final Four contender last night. Five players in double figures mirrors what we said in Monday's article...that they can come as you in many directions.
We hope the loss serves as a "wake-up call" to the Cards by showing them what is needed to be a national title contender. Yes, not having two starters definitely hindered the Cards chances. But...there is too much potential talent on this team for that to be a serious setback.
It comes down to this...who wants to be that step-up performer in the final five games, ACC Tournament and NCAA play?
THEY SAID IT
POST GAME MUFFET MCGRAW