LATE SURGE FALLS SHORT IN LOSS TO HUSKIES
It is always hard to write about the last Louisville women's basketball game of the season and it hasn't gotten any easier over the years. It means the Cards have lost. Lost the game, lost the chance to gain a national championship. The season is over and that a group of seniors have played their last in the Louisville uniforms.
For the Cards, it was an afternoon where they seldom enjoyed a lead, made a huge run at the end to climb with two with 26 seconds to go but ultimately saw the Huskies go 5-6 from the free throw line to close out the scoring and end the 2018-19 season end for UofL at 32-4. The fourth-most wins in the history of the program but two games short of where they wanted to be.
Losing does suck...to use a term Coach Walz and many others have. Losing to UConn makes it even more "sucky" and, once again, thanks to the NCAA for making it quite easy, convenient and possible for the Huskies to have the advantage in location ,crowd attendance and game-time scheduling.
This one was a game of runs. The Huskies started out on a 7-0 one to begin the game. Louisville came back with a 9-0 run to take a 16-12 edge and UConn put together a 10-0 run to grab a 22-16 advantage. All in the first quarter. Connecticut would go on a 11-3 second quarter run in the first five minutes of the second quarter to take a 33-23 lead -- buoyed by the 4-4 three-point shooting of Megan Walker -- then, it was Louisville's turn and a 6-0 run had UofL back within four at 33-29. Arica Carter busted a 8-2 half-ending Connecticut run with a three as the clock ticked down to 17 seconds to make it 41-34 -- your halftime score.
This was a position the Cards were unaccustomed to. Trailing at the half. The normal early blowout of a foe didn't happen. Asia Durr was struggling to find her shot. The Cards were just 3 for 11 from three-point range and UConn was 9 for 16 from the deep.
Score. Stop. Score. The simple but relevant halftime directive from Walz was Louisville's objective in the second half. It kept the Cards hanging around in the third frame and got them within four at 57-53 with a 4-0 run in the final 45 seconds after a Durr steal and layup and Dana Evans steal and layup.
Louisville had momentum. UConn's Katie Lou Samuelson was on the bench with four fouls and one had to love Louisville's chances in the final 10 minutes. Cardnation had hope rekindled and it was shaping up to be one heck of a final quarter.
Back and forth that fourth quarter went.
64-57 Huskies at the 6:21 mark. Louisville comes back to make it 64-61 after a couple of Durr baskets. Samuelson re-enters and nailed two threes to push UConn to a 74-63 lead and 1:47 on the clock, in the game. These were two heavyweight fighters, standing toe-to-toe in the center of the ring, slugging it out -- giving each other their best shots.
Just when it looked like UConn had Louisville down for the ten count...the Cards fire back with a 10-1 run over the next 1:24 and it's 75-73 UConn after a Carter layup. 26 seconds on the clock. A memorable, incredible rally. A chance, where there wasn't much hope of one a few minutes earlier.
I'd like to tell you that UofL kept that momentum flowing and regained the lead and took the win. but it would be a cruel April Fool's prank on you if I did, though.
The Huskies hit the forced free throws and advance to Tampa. 80-73. All five Husky starters in double figures and those starters accounting for all of UConn's 80 points. Katie Lou leading all with 29 points.
Durr recovering nicely in the final twenty to end with 21 points and nine rebounds. Sam Fuehring having another strong NCAA performance with 15 points and seven grabs. Jazmine Jones providing countless sparks and tallying 10 points and six assists.
I have to wonder a bit about Kylee Shook seeing no second half court time, but, I've never professed to have any coaching skills and the UConn post weren't stay-at-home-in-the-post types...like the Cards previous two opponents. Could she have helped the Cards 0-4 three-point shooting in the fourth quarter?
This Louisville squad, these Louisville seniors will live in my -- and I'm sure your -- memory for a very long time. Here's hoping Asia, Arica and Sam go one to compete in the WNBA. To go on and have happy and productive lives and come back to visit the campus often. They leave behind a squad that has promise and a lot of potential excitement for the 2019-2020 season. You can't keep them forever and what these seniors and this unit accomplished here in their time was incredible, record-setting and so much fun to watch and cover.
Three incredible players, from three different places in the nation and portraying three different personalities came here to help form and lead a nucleus that won't be forgotten anytime soon. Going into less-than-favorable conditions as a #1 seed in basically the #2 seed's home turf, they fought with their teammates until the clock stopped them from playing. These seniors pass on that competitive spirit, that drive and desire to the underclassmen -- who exhibited a lot of the same this year.
We can only thank them for what they did, what they brought and how they thrilled us -- as we say....not good-bye... but "we'll see you further on down the road".
The greatest test of courage is to bear defeat without losing heart. My heart remains with Louisville women's basketball. How about yours?
THE FRED REPORT
|Fred Willard says, "Turn the TV off, I don't want to see|
anymore of this."
REBOUNDING -- 42-36 in favor of the Huskies, but UofL did win the offensive boards 12-11. Asia and Sam corralling almost half the Cards grabs. Another case where if you don't win the battle, you don't get a letter
EFFORT/EXECUTION -- Louisville never quit fighting, despite the rough edges and periods of less-than-perfect execution stages. They had only five turnovers. After the slow shooting start in the first, they shot 23-49 (47%) in the final thirty minutes. we normally see numbers like these equated with a "W" for the Cards. It wasn't a "W", though...so we'll award just a small "e".
DEFENSE. The Cards allowed the second-highest point total of the season -- Notre Dame had 82 in their win over UofL -- but Louisville did force 13 turnovers and had nine steals. The killer was the Huskies 14-26 (53.8%) three-point proficiency. I will give the Cards credit for tightening the game up late but can't award a letter after a loss.
FINAL FRED TALLY OF THE YEAR: _-_-e-_
So, we shed a few tears and move along. A season to remember. So many fond memories of the 36 games. Three wonderful seniors and the promise of a very talented and deep squad for next year.
Despite the controversies, playing conditions and less-than-satisfying final game...I still enjoyed this season immensely and we'll continue to bring you tons of news and reporting on Louisville WBB here at Cardinal Couple in the off-season.
The future of Cardinal women's basketball still burns brightly, under the direction of one of the best coaches in the nation and I encourage you to be an even bigger part of it next year.
LACROSSE DROPS A CLOSE ONE TO DELAWARE
At the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium Sunday afternoon, the Cards and Delaware Blue Hens were involved in a close match that was tied late but ultimately ended up in the visitors' favor 9-8.
A game of runs, as well, in this one...the Cards going up 2-0 early but Delaware going on a 4-0 run to end the first half.
Louisville trailed 5-3 at the half in chilly but clear conditions on Floyd Street and found themselves down 6-3 at the start of the second half, but, thanks in part to some excellent goalkeeping work from Rachel Florek, the Lax girls battled back and forced a 9-8 affair....Caroline Blalock getting the goal with about a minute left in the contest. The Cards could get the equalizer, though, as time expired.
Florek had 13 saves in the contest and Louisville head Lacrosse coach Scott Teeter commented after the match:
"If it wasn't for Florek's work in the cage, it definitely could have been worse."
Ally Hall with the hat-trick in scoring for Teeter's team and Tessa Chad and Blalock added two goals each, as the Cards go to 4-9 on the season.
Louisville Lax brings UNC into "the Ellis" Saturday , April 5th. for a Senior Day ACC match that'll start at 1 p.m. The Tar Heels are 9-3 after yesterday's 9-7 loss at Notre Dame and are ranked #4 in the nation as of Friday.
We encourage you to come out and cheer on these hard-working LAX women.
SOFTBALL OUT-SLUGGED IN BLACKSBURG
In the final contest of the three-game series against Virginia Tech yesterday, the UofL Softball squad managed five runs on five hits but it wasn't enough of an offensive output to match the 13 "home plate touches" the Hokies ended up with.
Falling behind 11-0 after three innings, the Cards did tally four runs in the fourth inning. Doubles by Madison Cousineau and Charley Butler got four Cardinals home, but Louisville couldn't produce enough fire-power to make up the deficit and the Hokies two-run, bottom of the sixth effort ended the contest.
UofL takes one of the three in Blacksburg and the 22-12, 4-5 Cards come home to face Lipscomb Tuesday, April 2nd, with a 5 p.m. opening pitch planned. Plenty of great softball to be played in Ulmer this year, make sure and be a part of it!
LOUISVILLE TENNIS FALLS TO B.C. ON SENIOR DAY
In their final home match of the season and on Senior Day, the Louisville women's tennis team got wins from Raven Neely and Ola Mally, but the Eagles captured the day with a 5-2 overall performance.
The Cards, won one of the three doubles matches...losing the doubles point there... and four of the six singles matches.
Louisville women's tennis ends the regular season on the road with four matches in the next 12 days...at Virginia Tech, Virginia, Miami and Florida State.
(THANKS TO JARED ANDERSON FOR THE LACROSSE AND TENNIS PHOTOS USED TODAY)
Happy April Fools Day and, if you want to prank someone, buy them a package of Oreos but replace the filling with toothpaste...an oldie but goodie pulled on Paulie many moons ago.