Cards Earn Come From Behind Victory at SDSU
For the second time in eight games, Louisville has had to handle business in an extremely hostile, tough road environment. The Cards passed the test with flying colors when they dispatched then No. 2 Ohio State, but appeared to have their hands full early in yesterday's game against the Jackrabbits (great nickname alert) of South Dakota State. Perhaps they felt the relief of the men's team getting into action in with a rough start of their own from 900 miles away, as the second half turned in favor of the Cardinals. Or perhaps it was the turnaround of Asia Durr after halftime that pulled the Cards up by their bootstraps to get to victory. Given that this team has shown that it generally goes the way Durr goes, I'm going to go with the latter.
Full disclosure from here on out: like most, I was unable to watch this game. However, I was also unable to listen live to the radio broadcast. My statements and analysis come only from the stats sheet, play-by-play, and what I could glean from Twitter during the game. The women's basketball account and Paulie both do a great job of tweeting updates, mostly filling in the holes left by one another. Now that we know that, let's move on to talk about some goings on.
The first quarter was rough. Louisville made only one of their first five shots and committed two fouls before finding themselves down 6-2 in the first two minutes. Over the next four minutes, Louisville was able to go tit for tat and stay close, trailing only 13-10 with 4:05 remaining in the first quarter. Then it got a bit ugly. Over the remainder of the quarter, SDSU went on an 11-2 run to stretch their lead to 24-12. I don't have the official statistic, but that sounds like the largest deficit for the Cards so far this season. Louisville owned the early part of the second quarter, going on a 9-0 run to close the gap to only 3. The defense loosened its grip a bit for the remainder of the half, unfortunately, and the Jackrabbits extended their lead to 31-23 by halftime.
The good thing for Louisville was that, at halftime, someone found the real Asia Durr hidden in her locker by some impostor. Durr was 1-6 from the floor in the first half. She was 0-2 from beyond the arc and had 1 rebound, 1 foul, 3 assists, and a turnover in 14 minutes. In the second half, the play went through Durr. She shot 6-14, still not a great percentage, but much better. She went 3-5 from beyond the arc and added 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal with just one turnover. Durr played every minute of the second half.
The Cards came storming out of the gates after halftime, led by Asia Durr. Durr scored 12 of the first 19 points of the half, leading Louisville on a 14-5 run over 5:40 to take their first lead of the game at 37-36. SDSU quickly regained that lead and stretched it back to 4 before Louisville could recover. The two teams then traded baskets through the end of the quarter to go into the final stanza tied at 46. Louisville scored the first point of the fourth quarter just nine seconds in with an Asia Durr free throw. Louisville would not yield the lead for the remainder of the game, despite consistent pressure from South Dakota State and held on to win 68-64.
Durr was joined in double figures by Arica Carter with 14 and Myisha Hines-Allen with 10. Bionca Dunham led the team with 7 rebounds. The Cards were plagued by foul trouble with Hines-Allen and Dana Evans having four apiece and Sam Fuehring was entirely uneffective on the day, fouling out with 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 turnovers in only 17 minutes. Looking at the stats of several key players would not inspire confidence in a Louisville win, but the Cards got it done.
South Dakota State is a mid-major, this is true, but that should not discredit the difficulty of this true road win for UofL. SDSU was ranked number two in the mid-major rankings this past week, receiving 2 first place votes. They defeated then No. 23 NC State over Thanksgiving, and were previously undefeated at home. The crowd was undoubtedly excited for the chance to defeat a top 5 opponent. For Louisville to go into a hostile true road environment and come out with a tough win, especially in the manner in which they did so, is impressive. The Cards are back in action in the safety of the Yum! Center on Tuesday when UT Martin comes to town. Tipoff is set for 7PM and the game will be on the ACC Network Extra.
The C-A-S-E Report
Let's take a look at how the Cards did in some major statistical categories. As a reminder for how this works: Louisville's performance is measured against the opponent (but mostly themselves) in turnovers, assists, steals, and shooting efficiency.
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C-Care: Louisville turned the ball over 14 times. Off the bat, that doesn't look like a great number. Upon further analysis, it isn't. Louisville only forced one more turnover, with SDSU committing 15. SDSU also forces an average of 15.71 turnovers per game this season. That mean's Louisville committed 89.1% of the average. That's not good enough, as we desire Louisville to play crisp, clean, and better than the opponent. Fewer turnovers is worth half a letter, though, so that's a lowercase 'c'.
A-Assists: The Cards finished with 14 assists. As we just learned, they also had 14 turnovers. That's an assist to turnover ratio of 1. That's not good. Louisville did assist on exactly 50% of their shots, though, so they'll also be awarded a lowercase 'a'.
S-Steals: Louisville finished with 10 steals and South Dakota State finished with 7. I'm going to push the benchmark to 7.5 (to prevent pushes), but Louisville still achieved both goals. That's an uppercase 'S'.
E-Efficiency: The Cards shot only 35.5% in the first half, but followed it up with a blistering 58.6% in the second. That gave them a final line of 46.7%, just over the 45% benchmark. They weren't so good from the charity stripe, shooting just 7-12. That 58.3% is well below the 75% goal. They'll earn a lowercase 'e'.
Louisville finishes up with a c-a-S-e in the CASE Report. I've noticed that Louisville generally does much better in the CASE Report than they do in Paulie's FRED reports. What do you think, comment section? Does the CASE Report need to be tougher? Let me know!
Until next time, Go Cards!