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Monday, January 6, 2020

WBB Cards overcome slow start to turn back Duke 60-55 -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Despite a slow start Sunday against Duke, that had Louisville WBB trailing by 13 at one point in the first quarter, the Cards eventually put it together and scored the last five points in a 60-55 win over conference foe Duke in the KFC YUM! Center in front of 10123 fans. 

It was hardly the start Cardinal fans nor players probably envisioned. Duke jumped out to a early 10-2 lead and held their largest lead of the contest at 20-7 with three minutes left in the opening quarter.

Senior Duke guard Haley Gorecki was hitting from all over the court, spurring on Duke's 64.3% shooting (9 for 14) in the opening period, Jade Williams was mastering the board at both ends of the court and the Cards were having trouble offensively, except for Jazmine Jones, against the highly aggressive Blue Devil zone defense. "Jonesie" was keeping Louisville from total humiliation with 10 first quarter points, and Louisville did cut the lead to 10 -- to trail 22-12 after the first ten minutes...but it was obvious that the Cards needed some answers and a response to the visitors defense. 

They began the comeback by switching to a four-guard offense. Yacine Diop joined Dana Evans, Jazmine Jones and Elizabeth Balogun on the hardwood for the next ten minutes and Bionca Dunham and Kylee Shook rotated at the post. The switch in tactics also proved valuable on defense, as Louisville held the Duke squad to just nine second quarter points, and the Cards did trim the Blue Devil lead to five at one point in the stretch before hitting the halftime break behind 31-25 to Joanne P McCauley's crew.

I'm missing the Saints v Vikings for this?" 
Jones led all scorers with 14 points in the half, Diop turned in a strong second half, relatively speaking, with six points...but Evans, Dunham and Shook were still scoreless. Duke was still shooting over 50% (13-25) and the Cards weren't quite at 40% from the floor yet. Duke was dominating the paint offensively with 20 points inside, compared to Louisville's 12. Evans had missed six threes and the immediate fix that the fans were hoping for after the slow start was beginning to look like it might be a lengthy work-in-progress. 

Things did began optimistically in the third, when "J.J." canned a three to start action. Duke recovered though, and still held a 37-31 lead with seven minutes left in the period. 

How would the Cards respond? 

Louisville made a run to get back within it two to close the quarter. Two Jones free throws, followed by an inside jumper from her, a timely Mykasa Robinson bucket and another Jones jumper led to a 8-2 run that pulled the Cards within two.

Liz Dixon tied the contest with 3:10 left in the third session with a strong inside score and "E" gave the Cards the lead 20 seconds later....cashing in on a jumper. Unfortunately, a sprain ankle after just five minutes prevented any futher court action for her. But the bucket was big. because...

It was Louisville's first lead of the night at 41-39. 

Duke managed to nail three jumpers in the final 2:30 of the third, and Dana Evans tallied her first score of the night with 16 seconds left in the session. After three quarters, it was 45-43 Blue Devils, but the Cards were coming back. Jaz had 24 points after 30 minutes, still leading the Cardinal charge. 

Dana Evans took control of the fourth quarter for the Cards. A huge three pointer from her three minutes in the final quarter put Louisville ahead 49-47. Two Jaz free throws increased it to 51-47 . It was starting to look good for the Cards, but..

Duke was not done.

They kept pace with Louisville for the next several minutes and then went on a 4-0 run that had them tied up with the Cards, following a Azana Baines jumper and Kyra Lambert mid-range connect. 1:06 showed on the clock. It was 55-55 and it was crunch time for both squads. 

Louisville was deliberate on the following possession. Working the shot clock down, the Cards found Dana open for a three after a nice Dunham pick and she delivered another huge three with 36 seconds to go to give Louisville a 58-55 advantage. A very clutch bucket that sent the KFC YUM! crowd into a frenzy.

That shooter's mentality, whether the night was going good or bad, came through for the Michael Jackson fan from the same hometown and Dana's "make" forced the Duke squad into a retaliatory situation with a diminishing clock. 

A three from Duke following the Cards score fell short and into the hands of Jaz. Duke fouled but the Cards were not in the bonus yet (something that Duke's coach "P" deliberately touched on the post-game presser, these lack of fouls called on the Cards) Another foul, this time on Bionca...with 16 seconds left...sent her to the line and the "Philly force" sank both attempts. A desperation three by Duke with 10 seconds missed, Jazz corralled the miss (for her tenth rebound). It was over and it was a "W" for the Cards. They stared "the Devils" directly in the eyes and didn't shy away. 

The Cards had found a way to win to go to 14-1 on the season and 3-0 in the ACC. Another Cardiac Cards performance, yes, but the "Dookies" deserve a lot of credit for coming in to the YUM!, giving Louisville fits most of the game with Gorecki, Baines, Lambert and Odom's efforts and never giving up. 60-55, in a comeback effort from the Cards that was three quarters in the making.

 A 17-10 scoring edge by Louisville in the fourth and 35-24 second half advantage indicates that the Cards put on the defensive clamps and got a strong performance from the bench in Diop and Robinson. 


Cards like Fred Astaire, dancing their
way out of danger with drama. 
FREE THROWS --  Veteran ref Billy Smith's crew laid off the whistles yesterday, with just 20 total fouls called. 14 on Duke and only six on the Cards. It led to 9-11 free throw shooting (81.8%) for Louisville (Jaz going 6-7) and 4-4 for Duke. I'll award a Capital "F" for Louisville's efforts, Louisville made 5-6 in the pivotal fourth quarter....Bionca hitting the "insurance-type policy" two at the end. 

REBOUNDS -- Duke won the battle of the board 34-33 but let's give huge props to Jazz, who had 10 rebounds to solidify her "double-double" for the afternoon. Duke is "long", jumps well and aggressive in the paint. Credit "E" for eight grabs and I'll go with a "small case "r" here based on the effort. No other Cardinal had more than three. 

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- Louisville played good basketball for the final three quarters but the disappearance of Kylee being a huge factor and early "less-than-spectacular" court performance from everyone but Jaz was disappointing. Yes, Dana rallied to have a decent fourth quarter, but I can only offer a lower-case "e" here, the fantastic finish the saving grace for a team that looked to be in deep trouble after 10 minutes.

DEFENSE -- When you consider that the Cards created 14 turnovers, got six steals and allowed just 33 points in the final 30 minutes, it doesn't look all that bad. Louisville got punished in the paint, though, by Duke's offense (34-26), so it's a mixed bag. I'll usually award some kind of letter if the Cards hold an opponent to less than 60 points for the game, though, and I'll offer a small-case "d" for doing that.  



We got the post-game audio-video from Jared Anderson for Coach Walz, Jaz Jones and Dana Evans for you. Our wayward "photog" was too busy watching the Saints lose in the break room after the WBB game to capture a very revealing post-game presser from Duke head coach Joanne P. McCauley and star Haley Gorecki. So you'll have to settle for my audio-only on that, or go to another link I found on You Tube.

It is what it is, and, I'm going to have to start keeping Jared on a leash post-game to ensure we can provide both parties for you in full form. 

Louisville post-game link:  WALZ, JAZ and DANA

Duke post-game audio link:  COACH JOANNE P AND HALEY

Duke post-game video:  COACH P AND HALEY POST-GAME VIDEO



Some of the WW II veterans honored were sitting behind
Sonja and I. They were loud and having fun ! 
An old Navy air force saying might be appropriate on an afternoon where war veterans were honored and vetted. It goes 

"Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing". 

It applies to Sunday's contest. Tough conditions early, turbulence throughout the flight but a safe and happy landing for the Cardinals. It may have been Jazmine Jones' best game of the season and fitting that she reach and pass the 1,000 career points milestone with yesterday's effort. And, she was unware of reaching the milestone until after the game. 

Just when I boldly stated Saturday that it had appeared the Cards had "jelled" after their win at Clemson, it looks like they may need to go back in the freezer for additional jelling. The comeback and defensive effort for the last three quarters strong and admirable, Jones's dependability great to see, but, I...and probably you...want to see 40 minutes of positive consistency for several games in a row. Louisville needs a re-appearance of Kylee Shook in the paint, too. Four guards against Miami probably isn't going to work. 

Jeff Walz warned after the Syracuse game that there would be a lot of these nail-biter types of contests for Louisville inside the ACC schedule this year. And, Coach is right, so far.  Two out of the first three ACC tilts could have gone either way for his squad. 

Miami, on Thursday, will be another test that will probably raise blood pressure in some of you. The Canes will be looking to avenge a home loss Sunday to FSU 73-62 yesterday when they bring the Cards to Coral Gables. At 9-5, a solid season for Katie Meyer's bunch and they have the preseason ACC Player of the Year in Bea Mompremier.

At least the dynamic Dutch duo of Corneilus and Hof have moved on.Those two were huge in Miami's defeat of Louisville last year. 

Get out the parachute and life preserver for this one. It might be a bumpy flight for JJ Airlines and crew down South, but, if anything...this Cardinal team has learned how to weather rough conditions and score more points than the opponent, which, of course --is the basic concept of the game. 




  1. Grinding out wins while not playing their best is becoming this teams identity.
    While it's working right now, I prefer they get on the same page so they can win some games without having to grind so hard.
    It's coming.
    Mykasa played her best minutes so far this season, Diop played good minutes, even Liz gave some good minutes, now, if we can get them playing like that with and E a little more consistent, we'll be in better shape to withstand Dana struggling in the first half and Kylee not producing much at all.
    Still a work in progress, but I'll take it.

  2. Ugly win, but we'll take it!

    This is not a Top 10 team right now. Too much inconsistency. Need to get four or five players to show up every game. Otherwise most games will be like yesterday's.

  3. Per Paulie's request, I'll do my best to bring more CASE Reports to the comment sections.

    C-Louisville had just nine turnovers yesterday, five fewer than their opponents. Duke typically forces 16.57 turnovers per game on the season, so the Cards had just 54% of that average. For the first time in awhile, that's a capital 'C'.

    A- A low turnover number is usually good for this stat. The Cards finished with 13 assists, which is a bit short of the desired 2.0 ATO. However, with a low made baskets number (23) the Cards did have a 50% assist rate. Lowercase 'a'.

    S- Only six steals for the Cards, but just five for Duke. Lowercase 's'.

    E- As evidenced by the low score and low made basket number, the Cards didn't have a great shooting night. Louisville shot just 39.7% from the floor, paced by a rough 5-22 (22.7%) from three. They did shoot 81.8% from the line, though so lowercase 'e'.

    So Louisville was solid with passes for the most part, and the lack of turnovers may have saved the game C-a-s-e for yesterday.

  4. Hello Friends !

    Arthur here !

    What an exciting win for the Cards after an inglorious start. I wish you had started like that against my Tigers, who were off last night.

    Dana Evans and Jazmine Jones are your new Batman and Robin this year. I kinda wondered why Konno didn't play more and I'm sorry to her about Liz's sprained ankle, but, I walked away from a few landings in "Nam" that were pretty scary and you won, you survived and that is the main thing.

    What has happened to Kylee? I know the four guard theory of Walz's last night but I would have expected more from her. I'll give Duke credit, though, they were rough and tumble and Gorecki and Baines are legitimate ball players.

    we get them the 19th at home. They might well wreak havoc on us like the Cards did.

    Your friend
    #1 Clemson Fan
    Greer, SC

    1. Thanks for checking in guys nd gals ! Wondering where Curtis is today? Did he fall out of his lazy-e-boy?

      Some reports indicate Kylee was "under the weather" for last night's game. Hoping she feels better soon


    2. Listening to the coach's radio show where he said Kylee wasn't feeling well game day and yesterday as well.

  5. Curtis fine and well! Watched the broadcast and went through the predictable ups-n-downs emotionally.

    I think the team needs dependability and consistency but they sure can find a way to win.

    Curtis "Look at the scoreboard" Franklin

  6. I'm calling this one a win-win.

    We get an entry in the win column, and the team gets plenty of fodder for video review.

    Win-win! :/

  7. This was a lucky win for the Cards. Their execution early consisted of standing around and watching Jones. Evans was intimidated by the larger Duke guards and that just can't happen in ACC play or you end up like Pittsburgh.

    You can call it a win-win but I call it getting a comatose patient out of a war zone just in time to start treatment while the rest of the troops retreat. All they needed was Forrest Gump running players off the court on his shoulder while yelling "I gotta find Dana !" Cards narrowly avoided the napalm.

    Grow up, Cards WBB and take some pride, excitement and responsibility into games. Otherwise, you'll end up like the men' squad -- only with better guards.

    Nick O


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