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Friday, March 31, 2017

Final Four, Softball and Comeford...FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


IS IT ANOTHER UCONN CORONATION THIS WEEKEND? 


Best mascot duo in the NCAA
We've come to the epoch and pinnacle of the women's college basketball season -- The Final Four. Four teams have survived the challenges, done the deeds and are currently on four-game win streaks in the tournament. The quest, of course, is to win your final six games of the year. Let's look at the participants. 

UCONN.  Is this another UConn coronation and Geno Invitational? The Huskies have certainly done nothing wrong in getting to Dallas. They did, if you recall, beat Mississippi State by 60 last year in the regional final. This is, though, an almost completely different UConn team than the Stewie, Moriah and Morgan bunch that delivered that beat-down. Katie Lou Samuelson, Gabby Williams, Napheesa Collier and Kia Nurse are the lead dogs in Geno's Husky sled and, although I don't forsee another 60 point romp across the tundra over the Bulldogs...it's not hard to see UConn winning a highly competitive game in this dog versus dog matchup and earning a Sunday berth in the final.  

MISS ST.  We all know how good Victoria Vivians is. The height factor definitely in the Bulldog camp with 6'7" Teaira McCowan and 6'5" Chinwe Okorie. Morgan William wowed college basketball with her 41-point spree against Baylor and won a lot of hearts with her emotional post-game interview. The key for them is getting the ball to the explosive guards and the bigs being on hand for any mop-up or putback work needed. You win the game by scoring the most points, right? The Bulldogs would like to see a high scoring affair here and this probably isn't going to be an intense defensive battle. 

THE PICK: Let's go with......drum roll, please.....UConn in a close win, maybe less than five points. 


STANFORD.  The West Coast representative gets it done by playing team basketball. Gone are the days of Candice Wiggins, Jane Appel and the Ogwumike sisters. This team had had six different leading scorers throughout the season. Yes, there is a Samuelson here also. Katie's older sister Karlie. Erica McCall and Brittany McPhee are the leading scorers and will do battle with the impressive South Carolina paint dwellers. Here's the thing about The Cardinal. Don't cont them out if they fall behind. They came back from a 16 point deficit in the second half to win against Notre Dame and they have trailed  by at least seven in five out of their last six games. 


"We're playing in THAT region? Again?"
SOUTH CAROLINA.  When Alana Coates went down with her season-ending injury...a lot of people put the Gamecocks chances of a Final Four bid on the bench as well. Someone, however, forgot to tell A'ja Wilson and Kaela Davis that they were supposed to stop winning. Some will argue the USC had the easiest path to the Final Four...with games against UNC Asheville, Arizona St., Quinnapiac and Florida St. Maybe so, but they won the games, they survived and advanced and they had to do the last two 2637 miles away from their campus.

I will tell you that this game just may come down to how well guards Allisha Gray and freshman Tyasha Harris play. This is a great contest that puts two very successful and demanding coaches in Dawn Staley and Tara VanDerveer up against each other.


THE PICK: South Carolina grabs an early lead and then fights to hold onto it late. Kaela Davis is on a mission and she guides to 'Cocks past the Trees. South Carolina by three. 

Speaking of coaches and women, check out this interesting read about women and coaching :  Numbers in women's coaching plummeting



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SOFTBALL STARTS THREE GAME SERIES WITH NOTRE DAME SATURDAY. 


We're previewing this series a bit early because tomorrow we hope to present you with an exclusive interview with future Card LORETTA KAKALA. 

The Cards and Irish square off for a three-game series at Ulmer Stadium that will feature coverage on the ACC Network Extra and ESPN on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Notre Dame (17-13) is in the midst of a five game win streak that saw them triumphant over Michigan State, Eastern Michigan and sweeping Virginia Tech in a three-game series. The Irish ae 4-5 in ACC play. 

Louisville (20-8) enters after defeating Indiana 2-1 Wednesday night. The Cards have a 4-0 record in the ACC...second best to Florida State's 12-0 conference mark. The Seminoles are having a super season at 32-1-1. 

The rain today should be long gone by Saturday and the forecast shows temperatures in the high sixties-low seventies for Saturday and Sunday...with a slight chance of rain Monday. 


Louisville will look to the hot bats of Jamie Soles (.370), Nicole Pufahl (.358) and Maryssa Becker (.321) to get them past an Irish pitching staff that features Rachel Nasland (9-5) and has a combined ERA of 3.58. In the circle, the Cards will hope Becker (15-5) can continue her strong performance against the Hoosiers against these other Indiana natives. 




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COMERFORD GETS ACC AWARD


Sophomore Mallory Comeford has made a big splash (sorry about the pun) in her two years as a Cardinal swimmer. She's an NCAA Champion and is now also the ACC swimmer of the Year. 

She was Freshman of the Year last year. We see a trend here. 

The sophomore made history at the NCAA Championships when she tied for first in the 200 freestyle. She had six other podium finishes, earning her All-America honors at the meet, and recorded two new conference records. At ACC Championships, Comerford had two first, two second and a third place finish


paulie
xxxxx

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Evans, Kakala in All-American game...Softball downs Hoosiers -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


KAKALA SCORES 11, EVANS 4 IN ALL-AMERICAN GAME


Loretta Kakala led the West in scoring with 11 points but it was Dana Evans' East squad that won the game in Chicago...an overtime 80-74 contest that showed us a couple of things. 

-- Don't mess with Texas. Rellah Boothe and Chasity Patterson led the East in scoring and both are headed to Texas. Boothe was particularly impressive in dropping several consecutive threes to get the East back into the contest and force the extra three minutes. 

-- Kakala a balla'. Loretta turned in a strong performance with 11 points (on 5-6 shooting), six rebounds and a couple of steals in her 15 minutes of action. She goes to the rim with power and showed some effective defense against the East front liners. 

-- Evans a distributor. Dana had just four points in her 13 minutes but ran the offense when she was on the court and primarily set up Boothe and Megan Walker's scoring efforts. She did show a nice pull up jumper and the ability to run the court. 

Unlike a lot of all-star games, both the squads were putting an active effort into playing defense. Evans had her hands full with trying to stop Michaela Onyenwere and Evina Westbrook...giving up  a decided height advantage...but acquitted herself well in her efforts. Certainly not her best performance but...she defends well, doesn't give an opposing guard a lot of room to work with and we know she's a scorer. 

Kakala was quite impressive and drew several rave reviews and comments from the announcing crew. She has impressive hands and footwork. Her put-back shot is smooth and soft and she isn't afraid to position herself for rebounding...mix it up inside, if you will, with the opposing bigs. 

An observer close to the Cardinal program approves: 

"She (Kaklala) did well. I'm excited for both." 

Get ready, CardNation. They're headed your way! 

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SOFTBALL WINS BORDER BATTLE OVER INDIANA 2-1


In what was a pitcher's duel for the majority of the game, the Cards broke through in the bottom of the fifth inning and loaded the bases for Nicole Pufahl with just one out. Pufahl patiently waited for her pitch and then lined a single up the middle which scored Morgan Meyer and Caitlin Ferguson. 

The two runs were all Maryssa Becker needed to get her 15th win of the season. Becker allowed just two hits in seven innings of circle duty. 

Coach Sandy Pearsall was pleased with Pufahl's production: 

"When we got some runners on, we were able to do something. I thought Nicole did a great job at that bat. She was calm in there, she took the pitches she needed to take and then she capitalized on it. She didn't try to do too much, she just did what she needed to do. A base hit up the middle that easily scored two runs for us. 

Indiana used two singles and a fielder's choice to plate their only run in the third. After that, Becker was in control...allowing no further hits and getting five strikeouts and allowing no walks. 

The infield roulette continued last night for Louisville. Alison "Mike" Szydlowski drew the start at third and Jamie Soles got the nod at second. The combination, with Tiarra Sanabria at first and Ferguson at short was effective -- the Cards had no errors in the contest. 

Louisville (20-5) faces Notre Dame next. The two ACC schools start a three game series on Saturday, April 1st at Ulmer Stadium. First pitch is noon.


paulie
xxxxx

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Softball Border Battle tonight and McDonald's All-American Game -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



CARDS, HOOSIERS AT ULMER TONIGHT

The annual Border Battle between Louisville and Indiana softball takes place tonight at Ulmer Stadium. First pitch is at 6 p.m. between the Cards and the Hoosiers. 

The Cards (19-8) come into the contest with a 4-0 ACC record. Their series at Syracuse was limited to just one game last weekend because of weather concerns..but Louisville got the win 7-4. Jenna Jordan had five RBI's for Louisville and the Cards used a big final two innings...scoring all seven runs in them...to take the win. Team Jordan showing Team Sid, Syd, Szyd the way in this one...

The Hoosiers took two of out three against Rutgers in their last series. At 16-15, IU showed some power in the series...with wins of 9-2 and 25-2 before losing 7-5 in the series finale. Louisville will look to shut down "the Blitz". Rebecca Blitz, a junior outfield from Birmingham, AL. leads IU with 33 hits. They'll also pay close attention to "the Trainer". Sophomore pitcher Tara Trainer is 8-8 on the season and has recorded 117 strikeouts, along with a 3.16 ERA. 

The Cards lead this series 15-3 and run-ruled the Hoosiers 12-2 last year in Bloomington. Maryssa Becker with the win...allowing no hits nor runs in 2.2 innings of relief pitching. Trainer took the loss for IU in last year's game. 

The contest will be shown on the ACC Network Extra. There is no broadcaster-assignment-official listing that we could find...but we'll venture that our pals Don Russell and Daryl Foust will handle the call. They do a wonderful job in the booth and, although we recommend you attend the game...admission is free...if you are unable to...give "Daryl and the other Daryl" a listen. (Sorry, Newhart sit-com fans...) 

Paulie will be on-hand to cover the action and cheer on Team Jordan. Whether Worldwide will show or not remains to be seen. Rumors are he hasn't left his new car since the Saturday purchase. Nothin' like that new car smell...we expect buddy Jared Anderson from River city Cards will be attending as well...he'll be joining Case and I in the studios Saturday morning for The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. Worldwide will be checking in via phone from spring volleyball coverage. 



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CARDS HAVE TWO "BURGER GIRLS" IN TONIGHT'S MCDONALDS ALL-AMERICAN GAME


Dana Evans and Loretta Kakala participate in tonight's McDonald's All-American Game at the United Center in Chicago. The 5 p.m. tip is on ESPN 2 and features "the best of the best" in the girls high school basketball realm. 

Evans, who will play for the East squad and wear #11, talks about the event: 


"I'm really excited and can't wait to meet back up with the girls I played AAU with and TEAM USA. That's the most exciting part to me, knowing I'll be around the best in the country and competing against them. I'm not really nervous, I won't get nervous until game day but I think the jitters will leave really quick. After the first couple of minutes, I'll be fine. I love the big stage. It's no problem for me." 


Kakala, on the West squad, 

" At the All-America game, I'm looking forward to the high level competition and seeing friends from the USA Trails. When I found out I made the team, I was so excited and super-humbled to be a part of it." 

Kakala is ranked the #2 post in the nation and the #25 best player overall in the 2017 class, according to HoopzGurls. 

Evans is ranked the #3 point guard and the #7 best player overall. 

The third member of the 2017 Cardinal recruiting class, Lindsey Duvall, is still listed as a point guard by Hoopzgurls. She won't play that position at Louisville...but is listed as the #7 prospect by position and #22 overall in the class.



Here's audio on Loretta and Dana: 

LORETTA TALKS ABOUT THE AWARD


DANA DISCUSSES THE AWARD


Burger Girls in the KFC YUM! Center. The Cards have had quite a few. On the current roster. In addition to Evens and Kakala:

2014 selections: Myisha Hines-Allen, Mariya Moore.

2015 selections: Asia Durr, Sam Fuehring. 

2016 selections: Ciera Johnson, Kylee Shook.


The Cards, with Loretta and Dana, have the most participants of any ACC school in tonight's game. 

Louisville has had 11 participants in the game in school history and nine in the last four years. We've given you a head-start above with eight of them...can you name the other three? 

Good luck to "Retta K" and Dana tonight! 


paulie
xxxxx




















Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Louisville women's basketball -- Durr honorable mention AP...Newbauer to Florida...WE have a Final Four--Tuesday CARDINAL COUPLE



Asia Durr was named to the AP All-American honorable mention team on Monday. A nice recognition for the Douglasville, GA sophomore...who led the Cards in scoring at 19.2 ppg and sank 119 threes during the season. Asia broke the previous record for threes...held by Shoni with 118 in the 2013-14 season. Asia was second in the NCAA in threes made. 

Durr led the Cards in baskets made for 2016-17 with 233. She also led the team in steals...with 46. 

Big things ahead, no doubt, for the Cards guard. When one looks back on the 2016-17 season...the image of Durr knocking down threes will certainly come to mind. 

Asia shot .424 from the field for Louisville this season and .405 from the three-point line. She was also one of the most productive from the free throws line with a 78% success rate. 

No Cards were selected for the Wooden Award teams. 

As a by-line, I was on the Louisville First show with Howie Lindsey and Matt Wilinger this morning. The topic turned to a starting line-up for Louisville WBB next year. (Is it too early to think of such things? We thought not...) Howie came up with Durr, Mariya Moore, Myisha Hines-Allen, Kylee Shook and Dana Evans. I can see that...but I think you may have to consider a healthy Arica Carter and Ciera Johnson....as well as the talented Jazmine Jones into that candidate pool. 

What say you, Cardinal Couple readers? 


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Cameron "Cam" Newbauer has been named as the next head women's basketball coach at Florida. Newbauer, who was an assistant at Louisville from 2011-13, is the first male coach in the history of the program. Another Walz protege gets a bump. 



Newbauer achieved great success at Belmont University...where he went after working with Walz...in his four seasons there. He complied a record of 51-14 (29-3 in the Ohio Valley) over the last two seasons and led the Bruins to the NCAA Tournament twice. 

The Bruins' athletic director...Scott Stricklin...seems pleased with the hire: 


“Cameron Newbauer brings energy, vision and an incredible work ethic to the University of Florida. In addition to developing well-coached teams, he’s a hard-charger when it comes to recruiting and fan engagement,” Scott Stricklin of his first coaching hire since becoming the Gators’ athletic director. “He’s coached in our league with Georgia and coached in the Final Four with Louisville. As a head coach, Cameron’s built the Belmont program and led them to back-to-back NCAA berths. I share his confidence that he can build Florida women’s basketball into a conference and national contender, and look forward to Cameron, Sarah and their family joining the Gators.”



Cam will have his initial work cut out for him. The Gators went 15-16 last season and graduates three players. Three of the top four scorers are gone...with the transfer of Eleanna Christinaki to Maryland. 

UF's new coach will have some tools to work with in three returning starters, led by All-SEC freshman guard Delicia Washington, plus the addition of transfer point guard Funda Nakkasoglu, who averaged 19.1 points per game at Utah State in '15-16 on her way to first-team All-Mountain West Conference honors. UF will return guard Simone Westbrook, a starter on the '16 NCAA tourney squad who missed the entire season following knee surgery last summer 

Prior to joining Walz, Newbauer spent four years with Andy Landers at Georgia as an assistant. Landers, now retired, has been seen on TV quite a bit recently as one of the analysts for the NCAA women's college basketball tournament. 


Congratulations to Cam! A great guy whose trajectory continues to soar. If anyone can draw talent to the Gators in the extremely competitive SEC...it's Cam. 



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The Final Four for NCAA women's college basketball was set last evening with UConn rolling over Oregon 90-54 and South Carolina holding off Florida State 71-64. 

Stanford, Mississippi State, Connecticut and South Carolina are your Final Four participants. Two #1 seeds and two #2 seeds. 


Not that hard a stretch to come up with these four...although no one in our Cardinal Couple contest had all four in the Final Four. Three people did have 3 out of 4. 


LEADERBOARD

51-9 The Deb Factor, Cliff


50-10  Curtis F. 


49-11 Charlie Mc., Kenny S. 


All five have UConn winning. Charlie Mc. and Cliff have three of the Final Four. Deb, Kenny S. and Curtis have 2 of the 4 finalist. 


Cliff has Stanford vs. UConn in the title game.


Charlie Mc has South Carolina and UConn


Deb had Florida St. vs UConn 


Kenny S. had Notre Dame and UConn


Curtis F. had UConn and Notre Dame. 





paulie
xxxxx







Monday, March 27, 2017

A crazy day of hoops...Lacrosse falls at Northwestern -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



(The misery loves company Monday Morning edition of Cardinal Couple...where the Cats join the Cards on the couch to watch the
Men's final four and madness reigns in four games) 



One of the best parts for me during the NCAA Tournaments is that several day stretch when 16 turns into four. No, I'm not introducing another Walzian Theorem to you and it isn't a new version of the Jimi Hendrix classic "If Six Were Nine" but when the Sweet Sixteen becomes a Final Four....it's a pretty special time of year.  

Your Monday morning musical selection here: IF SIX WERE NINE

Sunday was a great day for watching hoops. It started off with seeing if the Brianna Turner-less Irish WBB squad could make the Dallas dance against Stanford. After one half, that answer appeared to be "Why, Certainly!" Notre Dame had a 14 point-lead, Elizabethtown star Erin Boley was getting rave reviews and her Mom national TV exposure and all was well in the Muffet McGraw locker room...seemingly. An 18-0 Irish run and one wondered if the Cardinal was going to end up like the Cardinals. 

Someone forgot to cue the Cardinal in on the script. A 24-12 third quarter from Tara's terrors made this one a ball game again. A wild fourth quarter that ended up, so ironically, with...first... a lob pass into Alanna Smith for the go-ahead basket. a play that Stanford never tries if 6'5" Turner is on the court. Then, the Arike Ogumbowale fake and drive that ends up getting rejected by 6'3" Erika McCall to preserve the win. Why not take the jumper you've been nailing all game long? 

From a 56% shooting first half to a 33% number in the final twenty. The Irish go home and the Trees head to Dallas. 

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Switching over to the men's side. Florida vs. South Carolina. How many of you had those two playing in your office bracket. Yeah, thought so. Two SEC schools, a #4 seed and #7 seed. 


Frank Martin. If you're not familiar with the Cocks' coach...get ready. This guy is a gem. He just might make the Final Four on the guys' side watchable. He's kind of a white collar, subdivision doppelganger of Syracuse's "Q". 

Florida bombing threes in the first half. Seven of them. With the apparent ease of tossing oranges into a gathering basket. Like, the women's game before, though, you play all 40 minutes to determine a winner. 

Florida misses all 14 attempts from beyond the arc in the final twenty. South Carolina goes inside..22 of their 26 buckets in the paint in the final 20. I couldn't help but wondering several things as the Gators sunk into the swamp...What Would Billy Donovan Do?  How crazy would SEC fans would get if the Cats could get by "DadGummit Roy" and how did Duke and Baylor both manage to lose to South Carolina. Once again, that madness of March. 

Two names to remember:  South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell and Maik Kolsar.  Candidates for Worldwide's All-Name team, or a Tom Clancy action novel and the two main reasons that the South Carolina squad marches on with a 77-70 victory. The Gamecocks sank their final five free throws to secure the win. Florida had beaten USC 81-66 in a game 35 days ago. Ah, the madness of March...


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The Cats were up next in the sequence.  They held a earlier season win over UNC. (Yup, we've heard this one before...) They got a career game out of Issac Humphries . They made three threes in the the last minute. Malik Monk with the three to tie. Pandemonium next door at my neighbor's (who had a Big Blue watch party that I was invited to but politely declined). Then, stunned silence and a few minutes later...a girl staggering out of the front door and puking in my taxus bushes. (No, not at the game...next door, again). Thanks. Probably great fertilizer, right? At least she didn't fall into them...

Luke Maye goes Cool Hand Luke, Luke Skywalker...even Luke Hancock and nails the jumper. Nails the door shut on UK advancing. Nails a berth for the ACC in the Final Four and nails to the wall another example of why they play the game. 

Cats up by five with five to pay. Tar Heels up by five with two to go. CBS is calling it an instant classic. That moniker may vary depending on what part of the country you live in. 


Sit down and grab a seat on the couch, Wildcats. The Big Blue Mist just sunk into the Mississippi River. Oh, wait a sec...not that couch! Lexington news reports that numerous t-shirts, a television and a couch were burned in the streets last night.  Here's a little video below that shows some of the post-game UK fans antics. (I just love the girl dancing about 15 seconds in!) 


LINK HOW BOUT DEM KATS?

"Bring out the couch!"  (Somewhere, a former UK and NFL quarterback by the same name is still hiding in an undisclosed basement...unwilling to emerge). 


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While the silliness is going on in the streets of Lexington...in Oklahoma City there is work being done. Kim Mulkey's Bears and looking to send Mississippi State's Bulldogs to the doghouse. 

We'll be polite and just say that this one was a lot closer than the Cards effort against Baylor. And, hello and we love you, Morgan William! Mississippi St. fighting tooth and nail against Baylor. Leading the Bears by three at the half. Kim Mulkey bringing out all her best dance moves, facial expressions and favorite howls and screams for this one.

A one-point lead for the Bulldogs after three and down to the wire we go! Little mighty-mite Morgan ties it at 75-75 with 25 seconds left in regulation and both teams miss chances to win it. Extra ball! 

And...strictly no contest in those five minutes. Say it again. Morgan William. 

LINK: http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=19012340


41 points from the diminutive guard that had 14 made threes on the season before this game. Add six more to that total. Ten points in the fourth quarter and 12 in O.T. Playing on the day after that...three years ago...her father died. The feel-good story of this women's tournament...by far. 

A 5'5" guard. Qualifies for our "Attack Yorkie" designation and a game from her that all attack Yorkies everywhere can proudly point. School and SEC scoring records for an NCAA Tournament game. 

"Give the little gal a chance!" YES! That one was for you...Shelby Harper, Jessica Laemmle, Dana Evans and Taylor Johnson and all guards 5'6" or shorter.

Baylor goes bye-bye. 

Kim Mulkey may have summed it up best: 

"That one girl kicked our butts. I knew we were in trouble when they started banking in threes at the start of the game." 

Yorkie Power. Expect the unexpected. 

Vic Schaefer and Frank Martin at the same party? Forget about it...way out of control. Invite the dancing UK girl and turn up the radio. 


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LACROSSE FALLS TO NORTHWESTERN

Louisville Lacrosse loses 12-8 to Wildcats

#14 Northwestern scored the final five goals in the contest to erase a 8-7 Louisville lead and take the match in Evanston., IL. Kellie Young explains: 

" This was a tale of two halves. We executed our game plan in the first half and played well as a team. The second half was a different story. We have work to do. " 

Hannah Koloski had four goals in the Cardinals' loss while the Wildcats benefited from five different plays with two goals each. Louisville got goals from Madison Hoover and Meghan Siverson to break a 3-3 tie  in the first half and take a two goal lead to the locker room. 

The Wildcats responded with four goals to open the final session and grab a 7-5 lead. Louisville battled back...Koloski scored twice and Ashley Lynch found the net to put the Cards back in charge 8-7 with 11:36 remaining. The Cards would not score again. 

Five losses in a row to Northwestern...going back to 2012. 

Louisville (9-4) returns to action on April Fools Day for a Saturday 1 p.m. ACC contest at Virginia Tech. 


paulie
xxxxx

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring Without Basketball -- SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

We all knew that it had to come to an end, but it is not until the final whistle sounds on a Louisville basketball season that the feeling really hits. Last year, for the men's team, that whistle came all too early. This year, both the men's and women's teams seemed poised to potentially make a run before ultimately being snuffed out in drastically different fashions. The final scores of the games are unimportant, as are the narratives of the games. What matters is that we in the city of Louisville are without meaningful basketball for the next few months. The joy of being a Cardinal fan is that the spring seasons are just getting into gear, and that fall sports are just around the corner. Today, let's look at how the spring is going.

Lacrosse Travels to Northwestern


The Wildcats have had Louisville's number in the old Native American sport. Louisville's lacrosse
team has a bit of a rivalry with the team from Evanston, but it has been rather one-sided. Northwestern leads the alltime series 5-1, with Louisville notching it's only win last year in the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium. Northwestern was able to enact swift revenge by knocking the Cards out of the NCAA tournament in the first round. Though ranked 14/17, NU has struggled this year. The Wildcats are 4-5 overall and 1-0 in conference after a win over Michigan. This is an excellent opportunity for the Cards to get a quality out of conference win, but they will need to put together a great game to do it. The game will get underway at 1PM, but does not appear to be accessible on TV. Tune in tomorrow for how this game will turn out!

Softball Wins "Series" at Syracuse


After a series opening 7-4 win on Friday, Louisville will return home having sealed the series with only one game. After the schedule was shifted around repeatedly to accommodate a three game set, the brass at Syracuse ultimately cancelled the final two games of the series, giving the Cards a series win in conference and a couple of extra rest days before their next game. Turns out it is tough to play softball in the rain or on rain soaked fields. Louisville will be back in action on Wednesday when IU comes down the road. First pitch will be at 6PM. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra, but the early forecast indicates pretty good weather. Stop on by to root on the Cards.

Louisville has Fantastic "Rust Buster"


Down in Knoxville, the track and field teams were busy putting in work yesterday. Louisville
finished the day with wins in 6 events and a whopping 26 top five finishes. Winners on the women's team were Mia Ross (1500m), Raven Grant (100m), Kelsey Heyward (400m Hurdles -- Louisville went 1, 2, 3 in this event. They also won the men's race.), Alexis Gibbons (long jump), and Morgan Zacharias (pole vault). Emmonnie Henderson finished third in the discus and Dolly Nyemah finished second in the hammer throw. Overall it was a wonderful day for the Cards and they'll look to have repeated success next weekend in Austin.

Roundup


There are a few other things to mention, but I fear I am getting a bit long winded. Here they are in the lightening round.

The Louisville men's swimming team grabbed an 11th place team finish at the NCAA Championships. Texas won the event by nearly 200 points over second place. Though they've had higher finishes in the past, an 11th place finish is nothing to scoff about. Arthur Albiero said he was disappointed to not achieve their team goal of a top 10 finish (a mere ten points behind 10th place), but that he was excited for what it would teach them going into next year.

The Cardinal baseball team righted the ship after a couple of losses took the shine off of their historic start to the season. Louisville led NC State 6-3 in the bottom of the 9th inning before allowing a three run shot with two outs to tie the game. Fortunately, the Cards were able to buckle down and regain the lead in the top of the 10th and hold onto it for the 7-6 win. Louisville rounds out the series in Raleigh today. The game is a 1PM start and can be found on the ACC Network Extra. 

While the women's soccer team is in the midst of their spring schedule, as are the men. Louisville played a closed friendly against the Chicago Fire yesterday afternoon, which they finished with a 0-0 draw. Chicago played some of their first team players, which makes the draw all the more impressive. Louisville saw familiar faces in Daniel Johnson and Stefan Cleveland, both of whom were drafted by Chicago in this year's superdraft. Ken Lolla was very pleased with the result and said he loves to get his players exposure to pro teams.

Finally, we hosted the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour yesterday morning. In between the banter, we recounted the ending to the men's and women's basketball seasons and tried to keep Paulie, who took the loss quite hard, from throwing things across the studio. Unfortunately, the gremlins at WCHQ have struck again and the show was not recorded, so there is no rebroadcast available for listening. Please tune in next week, when we give all of the other sports the attention we've starved them of during March Madness.

Until next time, Go Cards.
-CH-

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CARDINAL COUPLE PICK 'EM

We have a Great Eight in the NCAA WBB Tourney. Congratulations to Baylor, Notre Dame, Stanford, IConn, Fla. St., South Carolina, Miss. st. and Oregon for getting this far.


In the contest, your top performers 56 games in and seven to go:

49-7   The Deb Factor
48-8   Cliff, Curtis F., 
47-9   Kenny S.
46-10 Charlie Mc., Paulie, Perry S. 
45-11 The Real Joe Hill 

Good games today! Enjoy! Have some!

~Paulie~

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Louisville women's basketball -- Baylor runs past Cards 97-63



CARDS SUFFER WORST DEFEAT OF THE SEASON


Louisville women's basketball picked the wrong time to produce a clunker. Shooting 30% from the floor and getting outrebounded by 16, the Cards fall to #1 seed in the region Baylor by 34 points in the contest Friday night in Oklahoma City. 

It was rough to watch this second half, quite frankly. And, that was after a first half where Louisville fell behind 25-9 after the first quarter and could get no closer than 10 point in the first twenty minutes. The Cards were the gang that couldn't shoot straight and couldn't guard the impressive array of talent on the Bears roster. 

That first quarter saw Louisville struggling offensively...with 25% shooting and no made threes. Baylor, on the other hand, shot 58.8% in that time frame and was punishing Louisville inside, mid-range and out. Down by 18, the Cards did put together a brief rally to climb within 10 near the end of the second quarter...and Baylor took a 43-31 lead into the locker room. A feeling of despair began to set in...could Louisville find a way to get the game under their control and stop Nina Davis, Kalani Brown, Kristy Wallace and Alexis Prince

The Cards needed to come out with intensity in the second half, sink some shots and find away to slow down the Bears offensive fireworks. Sadly, none of that ever emerged. Baylor dominated the third quarter 29-14...shooting 62% in those ten minutes and the Cards went 5-19 for a less that desirable 26.3%. At the end of thirty minutes, the Bears held a 72-45 advantage and showed no signs of slowing down. 

Baylor maintained in the final session and went deep into their bench as the clock ticked toward zero. Walz began to pull the starters...realizing that it just wasn't the Cards night and, outscoring the Cards 25-18 in the fourth, the Bears won...quite convincingly...97-63. 

I could probably fill up a few more pages on what Louisville failed to do Friday night...but we'll just leave it at this. Poor shooting, ineffective defense and getting dominated on the glass isn't going to give you a "W" this time of year.

Asia Durr finally broke out of her early shooting slump (0-10 at one point) to finish with 21 points in 35 minutes to lead the Cards. Myisha Hines-Allen fought very hard for her 12 points and nine grabs. Mariya Moore rounded out the Cards double-figure scores with 10. Between the three, they got up 48 shots and sank 14 of them. 29%. We'll leave it there. 

HOW DID FRED DO? 


"They scored again? Lily! Where's the remote?
Free Throws -- Louisville was 14-18 for 77.7%. That may be one of the few or only impressive stats for the Cards Friday night. We'll award the capital "F"

Rebounding -- Not one of the Cards better nights. Hines-Allen lead Louisville with nine and Jazmine Jones came off the bench to haul in seven in 18 minutes of play. Baylor had two players in double-figure rebounding and won the board battle 52-36. No letter here. 

Effort/Execution -- Once again, it wasn't a great night in this category either. The Cards came out slow, looked a bit confused and unsure at times and never could seem to get into a consistently good flow in the game. 12 turnover aren't so bad...but Baylor scored 21 points off them. The Cards forced ten Baylor turnovers and could only get 5 points from them. Points in the paints is the telling tale here. 46-16 inside advantage for the Bears. No letter awarded here either.

Defense. 97 points allowed. 50% opponent shooting. THe choice is pretty easy here. No letter.


FRED COUNT: F-_-_-_


WHAT WE LIKED


-- J.J came to play. The freshman from Tallahassee showed a little spunk and drive during her court time. The five fouls weren't a great feat but the six points, seven boards and overall hustle were a bright spot on a cloudy evening.

-- Free Throws. Over 70%. They certainly weren't a factor...but a building point for next season 



NOT SO LIKABLE

-- The Domination. Louisville got a first hand look at what they need to improve on to be considered a top five team. Both teams have excellent athletes...but Baylor's played up to their potential and more....the Cards were not at their best by any means.

-- Really? Lauren Cox getting chippy at the end and throwing what appeared to be a punch at Sam Fuehring. Maybe one of the weakest punch attempts I've seen but...still...why? Boos to the refs for not tossing her. 

-- Technical. Walz is a dramatic and flamboyant coach and he was correct on the blown call by the refs but he took it too far. Four free throws to the Bears at a point of the game when it looked it might still be remotely possible for the Cards to come back. 

SO...

The Cards's season ends with a thud. A good season overall, yes. This loss will give the players, coaches and fans a lot to think about in the off-season. Louisville is a talented team but needs to develop some strengths...especially inside and at the point. Help is on the way and the freshmen will get better...but to be a top five squad, they should just put this game video on a endless loop and play it non-stop so that what happened last night never happens again to the Cards. Domination is never pretty when it's happening to you and the objective now is to become the dominator in big games and not the dominated. 

Motivation. Execution. Following the game plan. Defense. All areas that the Cards should strive to excel in for 2017-18. 


THEY SAID IT

link:  WALZ AND CARDS DISCUSS BAYLOR LOSS


PAULIE
XXXXX

Friday, March 24, 2017

Louisville women's basketball -- Cards vs. Baylor tonight



WBCA All-Region Honorees Durr, Hines-Allen lead Cards into Sweet Sixteen play vs. Bears


Asia Durr and Myisha Hines-Allen are two of the 52 all-region selections for the WBCA All-America Team. They'll be in consideration for the 10-member Division I Coaches' All-America Team, that will be announced during the NCAA Women's Final Four in Dallas. A wonderful honor for these two. Our hopes are that they make that final ten list and are playing in Dallas when the announcement comes.

Kalani Brown and Nina Davis were also selected for the honor. The play for the Baylor Bears...who will play#13 Louisville tonight in the NCAA Regionals. The game will be on ESPN2 around 9:30 p.m. or so tonight. It'll follow the Washington vs. Mississippi St. contest in the Chesapeake Energy Center arena in Oklahoma City, OK. 

The Cards go into the contest a decided underdog against Baylor....according to the so-called "experts, talking heads and analyst gurus".  Baylor was the #1 seed in the Oklahoma City region. The Cards were the #4 seed. So, far...the rankings for this region have held to form...with Mississippi St #2 seeded and Washington at #3. Looking quickly at the other three regions...Bridgeport has the #1 seed UConn facing #4 seed UCLA and #3 seed Maryland against upstart #10 Oregon. In Lexington, the #1 seed Notre Dame gets #5 Ohio State and #2 Stanford battles #3 Texas. Finally, in Stockton...#1 South Carolina has surprising #12 Quinnipiac on their slate and #2 Oregon State will tussle with #3 Florida State. 

What must the Cards do to beat Baylor? 

(Say it in unison with me.....score more points) 

We'll look at (5) key factors in the contest that could determine whether Louisville will play on Sunday or not: 


1) "Durr"ection. Louisville has to have a big night out of the Douglasville, GA sophomore. Lately, that hasn't been a problem...she's averaging 19.2 points per game and has 114 threes on the season. Against a Baylor defense that will probably start guards Alexis Prince and Kristy Wallace...with Wallace being the most likely to draw the assignment on her...she'll need to move efficiently without the ball to get open looks and hope that Mariya Moore, Briahanna Jackson or whoever is running the assists counter is open for business and distributing. 



2) Close the bakery! Simply put, Louisville can not afford to have a turnover number in double-digits. When it comes to creating turnovers, the Bears run a part-time operation. They forced California into 24. Texas Southern coughed up 21. In the Big 12 Tournament, though, West Virginia committed only seven and Kansas St. was guilty of eight. Having Jackson back and available at point should help the Cards limit the miscues. Interestingly, Moore and Hines-Allen have committed the most turnovers on the Cardinal roster this season. It's time for those two to hang up their baking smocks and shut down the oven.

3) Let "Threedom" reign.  It was the turning point and factor in putting away a pesky Tennessee squad. Moore needs another 5-5 performance or better. Durr needs to be on the mark with her trifecta offerings. Anything that the Cards can get from Kylee Shook, Syd Zambrotta or even Jackson would be a benefit. The Bears allowed 5.5 made threes during the season and a .272 average on attempts. Louisville will need to blow those stats out of the Chesapeake bay tonight and have the ref crew raising both hands over their heads similar to when the Cards last played Baylor. 

4) Defense, defense!  It is the factor that Coach Walz stresses with great importance this time of year. Louisville has allowed 60 points per contest this season. Their opponents have averaged 36% shooting success. Defense starts with communication. Talking. Shouting out the switch, covering the outside shooter, making inside play difficult and preventing the dribble-drive and run-outs. Against Baylor, the inside game that the Bears use quite successfully has to be shut down. In the Cards seven losses this season, they allowed the victors an average of 76 points a game. South Carolina and Notre Dame (twice) scored over 80. We'll call the line of success at 70. If the Cards hold the Bears to that and score more than that, they'll win.


5) Free throws. Charity tosses are the 500 lb. Bears in the corner that everyone is certainly tired of talking about but can't be ignored. The Cards are at a 68% success rate on the season. They allow 70%. Louisville averages going to the line 11 times a contest. If that trend holds, we'll need to see the Cards sink at least eight of them. On the season, opponents have gone to the line 35 more times than the Cards and made 34 more. Durr, Hines-Allen, Moore, Taylor Johnson and Zambrotta are all above 72%. BJ and Walton are at 50%. Sam Fuehring at 65%. If it comes down to late fouling by the Bears, the Cards need to make sure they are getting the ball in the hands of the right player(s) and having "makers, not shooters" on the floor.  

I expect a close game tonight. I think the Cards will be able to slow the Baylor offensive juggernaut down and keep this one in the seventies. I don't think the Bears will have much success trying to stop Hines-Allen inside or Durr from outside...but Louisville will need to curtail what Brown, David and even Cox and Cave can do inside. 

Louisville will need production from "the Big Three" and freshmen Shook and Jazmine Jones would really help the win chances if they "are on".  Hopefully BJ is back to her old "flying around the court and making incredible plays" self and if Louisville can get contributions from Fuehring, Taylor Johnson and a few Syd bombs tossed in for good measure...they should be able to pull off the win. 

Walz and the staff have a plan. They are masterminds at getting a scenario together that will bring success. What they need is for the players to follow it and execute it properly. 

Will we see a repeat of the biggest upset in the history of women's college basketball? Will Louisville continue the quest to go dancing in Dallas? We'll know in about 14 hours (from the time of this article submission). Get in a nap if you need to, put on the coffee and hunker down by the TV or radio tonight and get ready for the game. 

If you're in Okla City and reading this, get loud, get crazy and pull the Cardinals through! 


Success is failure turned inside out.

The silver tint of the clouds in doubt.

And you never can tell how close you are.

It may be near when it seems so far.

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit.

It's when things seem worse that you must not quit.


****************************************************************


THEY SAID IT: 

Walz, Myisha and Asia talk about the game, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant at the link below


twitter.com/VoXPz4vO5z



paulie
xxxxx