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Friday, March 6, 2020

ACC Tournament Down to Eight Teams -- Lacrosse Down to Eight Teams -- Softball Today -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


A day on Thursday where the better seeds, for the most part advanced to the quarter-finals of the ACC WBB Tournament in Greensboro. Only Wale Forest, out-performed their seed and upset Georgia Tech in the opener, barely squeaking by hard-luck Virginia Tech 58-55. We wave goodbye to Pitt, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Virginia. 


Raca n roll! 
The Hokies started well against VT, an 8-0 run had them in good shape early at 10-3 in the first quarter. Dara Mabrey had two three-pointers for the Hokies in the first two minutes. A Ivana Raca three for the Deacs brought them back within one, though, and the first quarter ended 17-14 VT in control. Wake continued to get production from Raca, though and she tied the contest with 3:52 until the half at 24-24. They led briefly, but a Taja Cole steal and layup tied it with 1:04 in the second quarter and that's how this defensive battle went to halftime -- tied at 26-26. 

Neither team was able to create much separation in the third quarter. Wake was getting the edge on the boards, and Raca broke a tie at the 2:31 mark to put Wake Forest up 39-37. Her three gave the Deacs a 42-41 lead to end the third. We had a tight one going, and the fourth quarter looked to be a barn-burner. 

The fourth didn't disappoint. Wake went up by seven early when they got a Maya Banks jumper. try as they might, VT could not regain the lead. Liz Kitley sank two free throws to get the Blacksburg school within three at 54-51 with 1:19 to play. Her jumper cut it to one with 19 second left, but Gina Conti sank her two charity attempts with eight seconds left and a VT couldn't make their final basket attempt. 58-55, the #13 seed Deacs advance to play powerful #4 seed Florida State today at 11 a.m.

Raca led WFU with 16 points and Conti, plus Alex Sharp, added 11 each.  


Emily will she be? 
Another school from the Commonwealth of Virginia fell out of the tournament in the day's second game. Syracuse put five in double figures and Virginia shot a horrible 1-17 in the fourth quarter to fall to Q and the Cuse by 17. 

It was a back-and-forth first quarter. Syracuse built a 12-8 lead on an Emily Engstler three but the Cavaliers used a 8-0 run to regain the lead 16-12 with 3:25 left in the first... a Dominique Toussaint three getting them there. Kiara Lewis' "and one" brought the Orange back to a 19-17 deficit and the quarter ended 20-18 in favor of the New York school. 

In the second quarter it seemed that every time Virginia would get close, Engstler had a response. She nailed two more threes in the second and Syracuse roared out to a 30-22 lead after the second one. They maintained the margin behind Lewis and went into half with the 38-33 advantage. 

A scary moment in the third when Engstler went down with a leg injury and had to be assisted off the court. Syracuse's lead had been trimmed to 47-43 at that point. Amaya Finklea-Guity and Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi picked up the slack, though, and kept the lead -- 53-47 after three sessions. 

Virginia fell apart in the fourth. A Jocelyn Willoughby three with 6:17 left in the game were the only points they could muster. The Cavs ended up with 25 turnovers, 28,8% shooting for the game and Syracuse rolled to the win. 

The Orange will test the Cards tody at 2 p.m. No word on whether Engstler will play or not. 


Pan can...
Pitt and their superb freshmen guards Day Harris and Amber Brown gave it the good fight but the fourth quarter  proved the difference in Georgia Tech's win. Francesca Pan lit up the arena for 26 points for the Yellow Jackets to send them to the quarter and a tussle against NC State. 

Pitt shot 63% in the first quarter and trailed by just one at 17-16. The Panthers grabbed the lead at 20-17 on a driving Jahsyni Knight layup and the quarter featured several lead changes until Pan finished the half strong with three points to give the Ramblin WRECK  a 31-26 edge at the half. 

It looked like Pitt might fold early in the third. Lott-Maj Lahtinen put Tech up 38-30 with 7:28 left in the third. Pitt tried to whittle the lead but a Kierra Fletcher bucket gave GT their largest lead of the quarter at 46-37 with 2:05 remaining.

Pitt was not toast, though. An 8-0 run, fueled by Harris jumper, Green three Isimi Prapa score cut the Tech margin to one at 46-45 with 16 second left in the third. A buzzer beater by Tech's Nerea Hermosa gave the Atlanta school a 48-45 edge at the end of the quarter, but the Panthers were back in the game. 

Sadly, the fourth quarter belonged to Georgia Tech. They were going inside and it resulted in a 8-2 quarter-opening run that gave them a bit of breathing room at 56-47 with 6:18 to play. Pitt could not cut that margin. It was 60-49 with 2:40 left in the game and despite Harris hitting her final two shots, it was Georgia Tech walking away with a 68-58 triumph. Only nine turnovers in 40 minutes for GT, Pitt doubled that number. Tech won the points off turnovers 20-7, points-in-paint 28-22 and rebounds 36-30.  

Buzz's ballers will face #2 seed NC State in the 6 p.m. Friday quarterfinal. 


Yeah, that just happened, my banjo-eyed pal. 
A lot of points in the nightcap but some incredibly long delays in BC's win. Clemson held a 8-7 lead in the first quarter, but, BC roared back to grab a 12-8 lead behind Emma Guy with 5:10 left. It stayed that way for three minutes until Clemson's Amari Robinson got a put-back to go to make it 12-10. BC ended up winning the first -- 15-12.

Clemson's Shania Meertens was the star of the second quarter, getting 10 of the Tigers 22 points and Clemson went on a 11-2 run to close within 25-23 with 5:09 until half. BC kept to the task, though, pounding the paint and dominated the final 1:36 to stretch the lead from 38-33 to 44-34 at the halftime buzzer. 

Clemson showed fight in the third. Three threes, two by Hannah Hank, pulled them back to a 49-47 deficit. Tylar Bennett tied it at 49 at the 5:03 mark. A 6-0 Clemson run tied it again at 55-55 when Meetens hit two free throws with 2:40 left in the third and Bennett gave Clemson a 57-55 lead a minute later. Boston College got huge play from Georgia Pineau to finish the quarter, however and they went into the fourth ahead of the Tigers 61-57. 

Two Cameron Swartz threes kept the Eagles rolling to start the fourth. two minutes had passed and school from Chestnut Hill stretched the advantage to 70-59. Clemson would give it one more try, they climbed back to within five when Meertens connected to make the tally 71-66 with 6:09 left in the game. The Tigers went cold, though, the next four minutes failed to produce ant Clemson points until Kobi Thornton sank a jumper with 2:13 to play, making the total on the scoreboard 76-68. That cold stretch proved to be the diference, the game slowed down considerably due to a couple of questionable reviews by the officiating crew and BC took the contest by 12 as the horn sounded. 

Well, we're waiting...
Boston College moves on. They'll try Duke in the Friday nightcap. 

We get to see the top four seeds today and the Louisville Cardinals today. UofL was watching Syracuse game intently, with Walz and his three assistants doing the scout work and the players in the end-zone watching too. 

My pleasure to sit with Cards Radio WBB play-by-play guy Nick Curran for most of the Syracuse-Virginia game. He is a font of knowledge, y'all. 

Our buddy Arthur and his wife Bea head home to Greer, SC today, thankful for the one win but hoping for a bit more. Good to see him again both days. He's a class dude and she's always so complimentary and friendly. Good folks, those Clemson-ites...

Let's play ball! 


Never easy, going onto the turf of #1 in the land. 

Louisville Lacrosse took on top-ranked UNC yesterday in Chapel Hill, and it didn't go smoothly for Scott Teeter's crew. A 1-1 early tie quickly evolved into a 10-1 UNC lead in the Cards 19-7 loss. 

Give the Cards credit, they never gave up. A second half rally got Louisville back to a 16-7 deficit, but they got no closer. 

This is life in ACC women's lacrosse. You face the nation's elite each time out. Louisville, who trailed 13-2 at the half, was competitive in the second frame and gained valuable experience for their players. 

The rebuild continues. They'll welcome Niagara Monday to the LLS. 


Holly Aprile's sluggers are back home at last! They take the field today against Illinois at 2:15, a time adjustment due to chilly conditions.

I'll miss not being there, but the Cardinal Couple crew of Jared and possibly Jeff will take in the action and keep you up on the results.

Louisville is 7-12 on the season and has had a up and down season, but still has power, pitching and prowess in the field. Bundle up and head out to Ulmer today!  


BRACKET Czar Jared Anderson sends this report after two days of games: 

In a improbable rise to the top, the Cardinal Couple Chimps are tied with Cardinal Couple Radio personality Daryl Foust for first place in the standings at 6-1. David Watson waits in the wings at 5-2 with our illustrious "Worldwide" Jeff McAdams at 5-2. 

My own highly unofficial research has the results for the other 14 chasing the prize. 

-- No one at 4-3
-- Six contestants at 3-4 (Case, Doug Anderson, Sonja, KStarksr, Joe Hill and Blue Lou) 
-- Four entries are 2-5 (We won't mention futility the rest of the listings...) 
-- Three entries are 1-6
-- One entry is 0-7

You got questions? Text or e-mail Jared. Or leave him a comment here. 

Good luck today and GO CARDS! 


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