Thursday, March 23, 2017
Wisconsin no-hits Softball Cards...more on Baylor -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
MENZ ENDS CARDS WIN STREAK WITH NO-HITTER
Louisville softball faced #21 Wisconsin yesterday afternoon at Ulmer Stadium and the visitors handed the Cards a 10-1, five-inning loss that featured Badger pitcher Kaitlyn Menz tossing a no-hitter against Sandy Pearsall's squad.
The Cards win streak ends at six. Louisville did manage a run in the bottom of the second to tie the contest. Tiarra Sanabria drew a base on balls and advanced to second on a Lillie Goetz fielders choice. Megan Hensley walked to load the bases for Jamie Soles...whose ground-out brought in Sanabria.
Other than that, the Cards bats were held at bay. UofL starting pitcher Maryssa Becker was touched for seven runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings...Hensley pitched 2/3 of an inning and allowed three runs and three hits. It was the first no-hitter thrown at UofL since Michigan performed the feat back in 2006
After 12 straight games at Ulmer, the Cards take to the road for a three-game series at Syracuse that starts tomorrow. Louisville is 18-8 overall and 3-0 in the ACC.
GOING BEAR HUNTING NO WALK IN THE PARK
When the Louisville women's basketball team faces Baylor late Friday night in Oklahoma City...they better (to borrow an old cliche) come loaded for bear.
These Texan Bears from Waco have plenty of players who can hang a loss on an opponent and when they are on their game...there may not be a better team in the country...except Geno's dogs in Connecticut.
Like many bears coming out of hibernation, Baylor started slowly against the Golden Bears from California in their last outing...but finished with a roar.
Baylor led just 17-12 after the first quarter, then cranked off a 15-0 run in the second quarter, including back-to-back three-pointers by Natalie Chou, and went into halftime up 40-20. Baylor had three players score in double figures, led by seniors Alexis Prince and Nina Davis with 16 points each. Kristy Wallace added 10 points and nine assists.
Down 20 at halftime is daunting enough...but with all Big-12 and starting center 6'7" Kalani Brown picking up two early fouls and watching 19 minutes of action next to head coach Kim Mulkey in the chairs...realizing that she would be back to add firepower to the Baylor attack had to be of great concern to California head coach Lindsay Gottlieb.
Quite frankly, California should have been placed in the WNIT instead of the Big Dance. They were 19-11 on Selection Monday, had gone 6-12 in conference play....were seventh in the Pac 12, got knocked out in the first round of the PAC 12 tournament by 22 points against Oregon St. and were 4-8 in their last 12 games. I'll say it again...Virginia got hosed.
Mulkey presented Gottlieb with a baby-shower type gift during the shoot-around the day of the game...since Lindsay is about seven months into term. She should have given her a couple of aspirin or a fifth of red wine for pain relief.
The Bears come at you with multiple threats and have complied some pretty impressive numbers. (This is where our Jeff McAdams moans...Paulie is about to start throwing stats out).
Brown leads a balanced attack with 15.1 ppg. She's has plenty of company in double figure scoring...Alexis Jones is at 13.4, Nina Davis 12.6 and Alexis Prince 12.1. . Prince and Davis are regular starters. Off the bench, Beatrice Mompremier adds 8.3, Lauren Cox 8.0 and Kristy Wallace 7.5. These seven, plus Natalie Chou, average anywhere from 15-28 minutes a game.
Baylor outscored opponents by an average of 89.4 to 55.0 during the season. They dismantled Winthrop 140-32. They scored over 100 points eight times.
Height-wise...they are impressive as well. Brown, as we mentioned earlier, is 6'7". Cox and Mompremier are 6'4" and Prince and Chou go 6'2". Out of the top eight...there are two red-shirt seniors, one junior, three sophomores and two freshmen.
The Bears have lost three games this year. Against UConn in a early season 72-61 loss at Storrs, they trailed by just three at the half. After being tied at 54-54 early in the fourth...Baylor went nearly four minutes without scoring, had five turnovers and missed seven out of eight shots.
They also fell to Texas...in Waco...during early February by a score of 85-79. Texas came out and "punched them right in the mouth" to start the game...according to Mulkey and led the Bears 47-35 at the half. UT shot 72% in the second quarter. Baylor fought back and tied the contest at 74-74 but the Longhorns hit seven free throws in the final 30 seconds to ice the win.
West Virginia provided a bit of a surprise to Baylor in the Big 12 conference tournament final with a 77-66 beating of the Bears. Leading 39-30 at the half, the Mountaineers extended that to 65-44 going into the final quarter and hung on for the win. WVU's Tynice Martin had 32 in the win.
Baylor. They can be beat. Not very often, but it is possible. Are they as good as the 2013 squad Louisville beat in the regionals. I will say "no". There is no Griner on this 2016-17 team...although Kalani Brown is pretty fearsome in the paint. No Odyssey Sims present...even though the Alexis duo does a fine job at the guard sports. Is Louisville as good now as they were in 2013? Another hard question, but I will say "no". There is no Shoni. Asia Durr can put up Shoni-like numbers...but isn't quite the on-the-court leader, driver and force on the court.
The Cards are close, though. If Hines-Allen, Moore, Shook and Ms. Durr can ignite that fire we saw against Tennessee late and get a solid bench performance....it could be another upset in the making. Taylor, Slaughter, Reid were key factors in 2013. Myisha, Mariya and Kylee have comparable skills...if not better.
A high scoring affair ahead? The numbers would indicate definitely...but Walzian defenses can...and have...limited some pretty powerful offenses to considerably less points than their season averages. Coach will tell you that defense and scoring more points than the opponent wins games. The Cards allow 60 points a contest. Accomplishing this against the high-powered Baylor attack will be a challenge...but Walz will have had four days to prepare, plan and scout these Bears. I like the Cards chances.
Or, they could follow the Sylvia Hatchell philosophy. After winning their first game in the ACC Tournament, Hatchell was asked what the Tar Heels needed to do to defeat Syracuse. She responded:
"I guarantee ya we're gonna be praying a lot"
We'll look more closely at what the Cards need to do to win in our Friday morning article.
WNIT and ACC?
The WNIT has a Sweet Sixteen now and two ACC schools are a part of it Georgia Tech knocked off UCF to get there and will face MTSU next. Virginia Tech downed Navy to advance and gets Penn St. next. Of local interest, Indiana also is a Sweet Sixteen participant .
The engineers move forward! Good job Techies and keep on rolling.