In a tale of two halves, the Louisville women's basketball team defeated visiting North Carolina, 73-66. The reigning ACC champs start conference play with a victory.
Louisville started the game fast-paced and raced out to an early lead, scoring the first five points of the game. They outscored the Tar Heels 21-11 in the first quarter, shooting 44% from the field. More importantly, the defense halted North Carolina's advances, limiting the scoring to just two players and forced UNC to shoot 25%.
Things continued going in the right direction in the second quarter as the Cards pushed the lead to 40-23 at the half. Louisville's largest lead of 19 points came late in the second half following a Jaz Jones jumper. Louisville shot nearly 47% from the field during the period while holding the Tar Heels to 21% and silenced them from deep- 0-for-6.
It appeared the Cards got too comfortable with the lead as UNC went on a 22-13 run in the third quarter after Louisville had pushed the lead back to 19. The shots were still falling for the Cards, but the turnovers became more frequent and the defense stayed in the locker room. North Carolina won the quarter 24-17 and pulled within 10 at 57-47. Paris Kea started to find her rhythm and seemingly could not miss.
The fourth quarter turned sour early on. North Carolina pulled things within one score on four separate occasions up to about a minute left in the game. Panic struck the Cards and the Tar Heels capitalized on it, putting the pressure on late in the game. Louisville settled down as they found their way to the line on four different possessions in the final 43 seconds. The experience of the three seniors and veterans Kylee Shook, Dana Evans and Jazmine Jones helped Louisville grind out the game in the final minutes.
Jaz tied her career-high of 17 points that featured a pair of highlight reel alley-oops. Jones also pulled in eight rebounds and had three steals in 31:41 while limiting herself to two turnovers and three fouls. I can only give her credit for one turnover seeing that her second travel was called on a rebound before she even had full possession.
Kylee Shook had a big game for the Cards and recorded a double-double. She was one of three players with 10 points and her 11 rebounds were a team best. She added a steal and a block with two turnovers and four fouls.
Dana Evans got the start over Arica Carter (Walz discussed that in post game, stating that AC missed her flight back to Louisville and was late to the team regroup after having six days off) and made the most of it. She posted 10 points, three boards, two assists, and one steal to go with four turnovers and a foul in 29:49 played. Evans was all over the floor and disrupted the North Carolina offense during the second half. Her quickness caused frustration for the UNC post players for much of the half.
In the final two minutes, it was A.C. who had six of the Cards final ten points, on a three and three free throws.
|Contemplating taking the shot|
The lackluster second half was not good. The offense was poor and the defense was nearly non-existent. 16 turnovers was a bad mark and was a heavy point made by Walz during post game. The turnovers greatly contributed to the run North Carolina used to pull the game within a score.
|Freddy Kruger is today's Fred, the|
Cards survived the almost "Night-mare"
on Main Street.
F - Free Throws: 14-17 with at least one offensive rebound (maybe two) added into the mix. 82.4% alone is enough for a high grade an the rebounds are the icing on the cake. Capital "F".
R - Rebounds: UofL has struggled with rebounding this season and 45 is a leap up above average. They won the rebounding battle 45-30 and even if UNC isn't a strong rebounding team that differential is impressive. Capital "R".
E - Effort/Efficiency: This is where we see a tale of two halves. The first half would be a high mark and the second half would be a failing grade. Overall, the Cards shot well from the field despite a rough performance from deep. If you take away Asia Durr's 3-for-13 and 0-for-7 from three the rest of the team did rather well. AC and Jaz really stepped up. 16 assists on 27 made field goals isn't a bad ratio even though it could be better. The 16 turnovers are a whopper. You won't win too many games with a number like that and teams like Notre Dame and UConn will tear the Cards apart with that. Overall, they pull off a lowercase "e".
D - Defense: Once again, two different halves. 23 points allowed in the first half. 43 in the second half. Louisville forced 12 turnovers and recorded four blocks. The Tar Heels managed just four fast break points and were limited to 24 points in the paint. The first half would be a near-perfect score and the second half score should be shredded and burned. Averaging everything out Louisville still gets the lowercase "d".
F-R-e-d isn't too bad following almost three weeks of break and an ACC opener.
LINK: Jeff Walz Presser (His concession stand comment had us all trying not to laugh)
LINK: AC and Jaz Presser (listen closely for Paulie's sly technical foul question)
Other Basketball News
Usually the outcome of other games isn't of a major concern when we post articles on here and is more often discussed in the comments section but there were a few games that need some attention.
No. 10 Baylor 68, No. 1 UConn 57
Number one no more. The Huskies go down on the road to Kim Mulkey's team. It shows that UConn is not invincible but it makes trying to beat UConn that much harder for everyone else. We will find out Jan. 31. For now, how far will they drop? Notre Dame will surely claim the top spot but the question lingers if Geno and his team drop just one spot or will the Cards pass them?
No. 2 Notre Dame 100, Pittsburgh 44
This one was over after the first quarter. The Panthers were then held to four (FOUR!) points in the second quarter. Muffet McGraw's team has earned themselves the top spot in the rankings and now are even more of a front-runner for the ACC title.
Miami 68, Virginia Tech 61
Another unbeaten has fallen. The Hokies, who have high potential this year, were stunned on the road in their ACC opener down in Florida despite a double-double by Taylor Emery.
After a little bit of research it appears Louisville is one of four schools remaining that are undefeated. They are accompanied by NC State (14-0), Utah (12-0), and Ohio (11-0).
Caption this photo of Jeff Walz and Paulie will select the winner Saturday morning!
I believe the full "A-team" is set to be in studio on Saturday- a first for 2019 ;)
Happy Friday and Go (Hopefully now No. 2) Cards!
- Jared -