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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

15 comments:

  1. Excited to hear that you have Kakala for an interview! Love her game!

    Curtis "never could block out" Franklin

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    Replies
    1. Yes! We'll have it here on the website and will play it tomorrow on THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR as well. This should be fun

      Paulie

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  2. Good morning cards fans love seeing the new Burger girls play.My picks NCAA WBB UConn over Msst,South Carolina over Stanford.

    MLW

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    1. Wow what a game Miss. state is ballin tonight playing UConn tight


      MLW

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  3. U and Mrs. Wolf. SMH

    ReplyDelete
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    1. We all have pour favorite mascots I suppose. Got to put her right up there with Don the Mastadon, Big Red, Otto the Orange and Louie.


      Such a cunning and elusive lass....
      Paulie

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  4. Paulie...seriously???? UConn in a close one???

    The spread is 21 1/2 and I'm giving the points all day long.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I know, Mike, it sounds crazy but I've just got a feeling about this one. If Vivians and Wiliam are "on" from outside, UConn will have to respond and that'll open up the inside for Okorie and McCowan.

      Wouldn't touch that betting line with a ten foot pole. Miss.St. remembers last year's beatdown all too well and is carrying a chip on their collective shoulders the size of Dallas itself.

      But, I've been wrong so many times before...as plenty of readers would attest to.

      Paulie

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    2. Mike D. Give me those 21 1/2 points and Miss. St all day long for as much as you want. Sell the house, mortgage the kids, raid the investment fund and rob a bank. This one will be close.

      Blue Lou

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    3. Paulie and Blue, I hope you both are right about this. I'd love to see a close game (and would love even more to see MSU upset UConn). If MSU can limit turnovers like they did against Baylor they have a chance. Like Walz said earlier this year, UConn's is a great defensive team but in addition their ultra-efficient offense works as defense since it puts so much pressure on the other team to score.

      I sold our six Final Four tickets to an MSU fan. I had six or seven serious inquiries about the tickets. This is obviously a huge deal for MSU and I hope they get a good game.

      Delete
    4. WOW....glad I didn't mortgage the house to bet on UConn!

      What a great game! Best thing that could have happened for WBB.

      William rocks!

      Delete
  5. Both games are on ESPN 2...starting with the So.Carolina v. Stanford contest at 7:30. Maybe they'll bring in Charles Barkley for some spot-on analysis work.

    "That's turrible!"

    Paulie

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    Replies
    1. And, he would be talking about the officiating. IMHO

      Delete
  6. I read the article on women in coaching earlier this morning and realized what a complicating issue it is. I strongly support women's issues but i certainly support Jeff Walz.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This issue isn't resolved until some athletic directors hire some of the very talented women's coaches to run the men's teams.

      Delete

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