CARDS AND CAVS FACE (AGAIN) TODAY IN CHARLOTTESVILLE
At stake is a share of the conference lead. Two teams, at 8-1 in ACC play, do battle at 7 p.m. tonight in Charlottesville, VA when the University of Louisville women's basketball squad takes on Joanne Boyle and the Virginia Cavaliers.
Most expected the Cards to be in the thick of the conference battle at this point of the season. Not nearly as many thought ol' Wahoo would be in the top tier. The preseason predictions placed Virginia at sixth in the Blue Ribbon Panel and fifth in the coaches considerations.
(I'd like to get on that Blue Ribbon Panel. It's usually $1.99 for 24 oz. of it at most grocery stores. Oops, wrong Blue Ribbon...)
Virginia has gotten to the top the same way the men's team on the Cavalier campus has...with tough, shut-down defense. Through games of 1/26/18, they were fifth in the ACC in scoring defense (59 points a game), fourth in Field Goal Pct. defense (.367) and fourth in 3-Point FG Pct. Defense (.301).
Their wins in conference have been against Pitt, Syracuse, NC State, Clemson, Boston College, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Georgia Tech. Louisville has faced but one of these ACC schools so far...getting a win in Atlanta against the Ramblin Wreck. Virginia's lone conference loss came at the hands of Duke...in Durham.
Louisville starts a killer stretch for Boyle and her Cavs. They go to Florida State after hosting Louisville, and then to Blacksburg for a rematch with the Hokies. Notre Dame and Miami visit John Paul Jones Arena in a couple of weeks before they come to Louisville on Feb. 22nd for a rematch.
Overall, there are some questionable losses that lace the Wahoos schedule. We do understand the falls to Mississippi State and Georgia early on...but losing at Dayton and at home to Duquesne raises an eyebrow. At 15-7 so far this year, UV also lost on the road at Rutgers and when playing host to Maryland.
(Hey, that music doesn't sound half bad...) Who can forget this classic from House of Pain?
The Cavs come into the game off a 62-56 win at Georgia Tech on Sunday. They had an impressive 13 blocked shots in the game and shot 51% in the McCamish Pavillion. We could see seniors Aliyah Huland-El and Lauren Moses reach the 1000 point-club in the contest...Aliyah needs eight points and Lauren 21.
Also impressive for the Wahoos is sophomore shot-blocker Felicia Aiyeotan. The 6'9" center (no, not a misprint, she's 6'9"...) had five blocks against GT and could give Sam Fuehring and Myisha Hines-Allen more than they want inside on defense.
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It's the ACC and anything can happen. Hopefully, the Cards will revenge the loss Wednesday night by the men's squad to Virginia 74-64.
Louisville will rely on their powerful 1-2 punch of Hines-Allen and Durr again in Virginia...plus the talents of Jones, Carter, Fuehring (who leads the ACC in Field Goal Pct with .717) and a strong bench. It looks to be the Cards would best be served by doing what they normally do to win...out-running the opponent and putting up points. Consider that Virginia averages around 65 points per game and the Cards have a +22 scoring margin over opponents on the season. They holding opponents to 57 points a game.
The key is, the Cards can hit an opponent from multiple directions and from multiple players. If Durr is off, Hines-Allen and Jones pick up the slack. Myisha had what some consider to have a less-than -average outing in the Cards last game but Durr and Jones were "on". If it turns into a track meet, Louisville is undefeated in those. A knock-down, slug-fest? The Cards have lost just one of those.
Let's hope a decent officiating crew gets the assignment for tonight's game. (If one still exists in the ACC...) A crew that will let the players play. What women's college basketball has been hampered by at times this season is that someone forgot to tell the referees that the attendance numbers aren't increased by fans flocking in to hear whistles and watch huddles by the monitor. They are attracted by offense and scoring. Free throw shooting, while ultimately beneficial for point totals, is dull and boring when compared to fast-break layups and deep three-pointers.
Let 'em play, stripes. It's why were there, you know. Not to watch you.