Louisville WBB Tops UT Martin
Coach Jeff Walz took a backseat role as the Louisville women's basketball team rolled past UT Martin on Tuesday night, 102-62. There was plenty to enjoy from the win, but most importantly it was Ugly Christmas Sweater Night.
Of the 7104 fans in attendance at least a good quarter of them were decorated in holiday fashion. As usual, the entire coaching staff joined in on the fun, ranging from sweaters, to vests, to full outfits. Several members of the media also joined in on the fun. Paulie and I agreed that this event is one of our favorites in Louisville women's sports so we will have quite a few Christmas sweater photos at the end of the article.
Steph Norman took over as the acting head coach for the night. Walz chilled further down the bench with the players and spent more time observing and breaking down the game with the players who had just come out of the game and players on the bench. With Walz set to face a one-game suspension in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, he figured they should prepare for that early on to see how things will go. Norman found out a few hours before the game that she would take over the head coach duties for the night and she did a fine job at it.
We were privileged to have Norman at the post-game press conference. She shook off the nerves and a recent illness that had her visiting the hospital to give a memorable first post-game Q and A with the media. Norman was complimentary of her colleagues. She mentioned how each one plays their own role and all the pieces get put together perfectly for a well-oiled machine. Her and Sam Purcell were named as some of the top up-and-coming coaches prior to the season and we had a first-hand experience as to why last night.
The Cards trailed early in the game 6-5 before a pair of free throws by Sam Fuehring helped the Cards gain a lead they would not lose. It was the start of a 13-0 run that helped get Louisville to the opening media timeout. They went onto more than double up the Skyhawks at the end of the first quarter.
UT Martin started to utilize a rare form of substitutions in the second quarter. Unlike the normal one- or- two-person subs the visitors subbed four or five players each time. This method is good for deeper rosters when running a fast-paced offense or using a full-court pressure. However, it seemed to hurt the Skyhawks as no one could get a rhythm going. Midway through the period Louisville went on an impressive 18-0 run that featured several forced turnovers by the defense.
Louisville's substitutions grew more in the second half as the coaching staff tried out different groupings on the court. The Cards continued to test the four guard lineup we've seen some this year. It worked as the more athletic Louisville team found their largest lead of the night with a 43-point lead following an Arica Carter fast break layup.
The fourth quarter was trial and error time for Louisville. Norman tried out a 3-2 zone, something outside of what we normally see on defense. With many of the starters riding the bench to give them rest and putting bench players in to get playing time things got sloppy. The Cards turned the ball over 10 times while tying UT Martin 23-23 in the final quarter.
Fuehring appeared frustrated at times, including yelling at UT Martin's Maddie Waldrop on the floor during the first quarter. Despite her frustrations, the senior finishing with nine points and 10 rebounds while adding a pair of assists and blocks.
Asia Durr seemed to be a tad off on her shooting but still posted a game-high 25 points, including a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. She recorded three steals and three assists.
Bionca Dunham had another big game, going 7-10 from the field with 14 points. Her performance was quite needed and meaningful, since the Cards were down a post player.
Carter had the hot hand on offense, going 5-9 from the field and 4-4 at the free throw line for 16 points. She added five rebounds and four assists on just one turnover.
Jaz Jones filled all categories of the stat sheet including a team-best six assists. During post-game, she was more critical of her four turnovers though. Jones also finished with eight points and six rebounds.
Kylee Shook was seen on the bench but did not play. Norman told us that she has had a nagging knee pain and the staff decided to rest her tonight although she was ready to play if need be. The extra rest should be beneficial as they prepare for a big game on Sunday.
|Director of Bands at UofL School of Music Dr. Fred Speck (right)|
Rebounds: Louisville won the rebounding battle 45-39. The only downside is that the Skyhawks had 21 offensive rebounds that gave them 21 second chance points. Still, to win the rebounding battle by six with your tallest player and one of your best rebounders out of the game is a good sign. Capital "R".
Efficiency/Effort: The Cards finished with 25 assists on 36 made baskets. They shot 52.9% from the field on the night. Even without Shook Louisville had a whopping 54 points in the paint. They ran the floor with 26 fast break points. If you take away the trial run fourth quarter with different defensive reads and different lineups on the court there were only eight turnovers in the other three quarters combined. Louisville scored 21 or more points in every quarter. Capital "E".
Defense: Although UT Martin scored 62 points, 23 of those were in the third quarter. One thing noticeable on the game was how many tipped passes and shots there were. Louisville disrupted the Skyhawks' offense nearly every trip down the court. They forced an incredible 27 turnovers. There were also six blocked shots, even without Shook. A capital "D" here.
For the second straight game Louisville gets a perfect score: "F-R-E-D". Look for the "C-A-S-E" report in the comments.
(Note: There is a story behind the FRED picture today, but it is unrelated to UofL sports. Keep an eye on the comments section and I will add it in later on today.)
LINK: POST GAME UT-MARTIN WITH COACH NORMAN
LINK: JAZMINE AND ARICA
We continue our fun game of captioning a picture of Jeff Walz with a shot from last night. As always, have at it with the captions in the comments or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Football's Big News
After Jeff Brohm turned down the head coach offer speculation on who the new head coach would be was up in the air. Rumors spread on Monday that Scott Satterfield of Appalachian State would take over the duties. Yesterday, before the women's basketball game UofL made their official announcement and had their press release to welcome Satterfield and his family. Please welcome the Satterfield family with open arms as we look forward to a new era of Louisville football.
Christmas Sweater Pictures
Happy Wednesday and Go Cards!
- Jared -