NCST 58 - LOUISVILLE 56
The University of Louisville women's basketball squad saw an early fourth quarter eight-point lead over NC State disappear and fell 58-56 to the WolfPack yesterday in the finals of the ACC women's basketball tournament yesterday in Greensboro Coliseum.
Transfer guard Raina Perez hit a jumper with 2.1 seconds left on the clock to give the Raleigh, NC squad the final, two-point lead that held -- as the Cards missed on two attempts to tie or win the contest after Perez's shot.
Louisville held a eight-point lead with 8:58 left in the final quarter after a Dana Evans three, but NC State methodically climbed back into the contest and regained the lead at 55-54 after two Elissa Cunane free throws with 2:23 left in the final quarter. The Cards went back up with 1:59 to play 56-55 after a Evans jumper, NC State tied it at 56-56 after one Cunane free throw with 47 seconds remaining, but Perez's jumper gave the Pack their second straight ACC Tournament title
A tough loss, no doubt for Jeff Walz's squad, but Walz went for the win on the final play of the game, after an attempted lob to Hailey Van Lith on the right side of the court failed and went out of bounds. Kianna Smith's inbounds pass to Evans resulted in a three-point attempt that grazed the front of the rim but would not go in.
Evans led the Cards in scoring with 15 points, another slow start for Dana, but her 13 second half points (nine in the fourth quarter) kept the Cards in the fray and had them leading -- as the final ten minutes wore down. Cunane took over for Wes Moore's squad late and she was named MVP of the tournament.
The NCAA Tournament still looms large for Louisville (although just where the NCAA Bracket folks will seed the Cards is anyone's guess) and the Cards need to develop a short memory, focus on the task ahead and take care of business in the Lone Star State, beginning March 21st.
For the Cards, Kianna Smith carried the load before Evans hot-hand took over, Kianna had 13 points for Louisville. Olivia Cochran added eight points and eight rebounds for UofL, who goes into the Big Dance with a 23-3 mark.
THE FRED REPORT
|(Yeah, we weren't too pleased with the final score either, Fred Thompson.)|
FREE THROWS -- Once again, we saw a scarcity of Cardinals getting to the stripe. The officiating crew of Joe Vaszily, Eric Brewton and Dee Kanter called 22 fouls in the contest, 15 on Louisville. Formulate your own thoughts on that discrepancy. The Cards got four free throw attempts and dank two of them. Only three Cards went to the line in 40 minutes. NC State, on the other hand went 10-12 from the charity stripe. We cannot award a letter here for the 50% mark by Louisville but have to raise an eyebrow on Cunane for NC State getting eight attempts.
REBOUNDS -- The Cards did close the gap from the first time these two met back on Feb 1st and lost the boards battle by just four. Besides Cochran's eight, Hailey Van Lith nabbed seven and that ridiculous "team" entry had six grabs -- all on the defensive end for Louisville. I cannot award a letter when you lose the rebounding battle, despite the improvement from the previous meeting.
EFFORT/EXECUTION -- Louisville shot 42.4% from the floor (25-59) and had seven assists on those baskets. A sub-par 4-16 (25%) from three-point range didn't help the Cards chances, but the Cards did fight their way back into this one from a seven-point deficit with 6:44 left in the third quarter to that eght-point lead in the fourth, so the effort and execution was certainly there for awhile. and, Louisville won the points-off-turnovers battle 16-7. I'll go smallcase "e" for this category --no win means no capital letter.
DEFENSE -- You really can't come down too harshly on the Cards "d" yesterday. They held NCST to 58 point, 43.1% shooting, forced 13 turnovers and had five steals. The 18-13 NC State edge in the fourth quarter was fueled by NC States 5=6 from the foul line, the Cards were not awarded a free throw in the final 10 minutes. Dixon and Cochran picked up four fouls each in their efforts to contain Cunane and Ramani Parker had two fouls in 10 minutes. I'll go smallcase "d" here because of the Wolfpack point total and fact they had just one double-digit scorer.
FINAL FRED REPORT: _-_-e-d
So, not the best result in Greensboro yesterday, but what's the use in dwelling on it. To use the overworked phrase: "it is what it is".
You move on.
It could have been a joyous celebration, if Perez's final shot bounced off the rim and/or Dana's three attempt went in. You congratulate NC State, learn from the defeat and now turn the focus in planning for The Dance.
FIELD HOCKEY BLANKS BALL STATE
It was a bird battle in Indiana yesterday and the #7 Louisville Field Hockey Cardinals soared over the Ball State Cardinals 5-0 yesterday
"Meche" (Mercedes Pastor) recorded the first "hat trick" of her long and illustrious time as a student-athlete with Louisville Field Hockey in the Cards 5-0 win at Ball State Sunday. With the win, Louisville goes to 9-3 in the split season.
A defensive struggle early, Louisville taking a 1-0 lead into the locker room in Muncie at the half. Pastor was involved in that lone score, her shot on goal bounced off the keeper and Aimee Plumb was there to collect it and fire it onto the back of the net.
The Cards pushed the lead to 2-0 when Pastor connected in the third quarter on a shot from the right side of the circle into the bottom left corner of the goal. It was Pastor again (twice) in the final quarter, getting goals off penalty corners. Katie Schneider completed the Cards scoring with four minutes left in the contest.
The Cards defense allowed just five Ball State shots in the match. Goalie Sam Minrath recorded the shutout and had three saves. Louisville took 18 shots, 13 on goal and Pastor had 12 of those attempts and nine of the ones on goal.
Louisville gets their spring home opener Saturday when Virginia visits.
VOLLEYBALL SWEEPS WAKE FOREST SUNDAY
On Senior Day in the L&N Federal Credit Union Arena on the Louisville campus, the VolleyCards swept the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 25-19, 25-18, 25-18.
Sophomore Aiko Jones had 15 kills for the Cards and two block, as Louisville sweeps the weekend matches over the Winston-Salem visitors.
Louisville hit .337 for the match and 48 kills to WFU's 29. The Cards also got strong play from seniors Piper Roe and Alexis Hamilton, Roe had five kills and six blocks and Hamilton produced 13 digs. Also stepping up big for the Cards was Anna Stevenson, with 10 kills and three service aces.
The Cards are now 7-2 on the split season and travel to Clemson next, where they'll face the Tigers on Friday and then take on Duke on Saturday in Clemson's arena -- part of the pod format being used this season.
SOFTBALL SHUT OUT BY MIAMI (OH) 4-0
It wasn't a Sunday to remember for Louisville softball, the Cards managed just four hits against Miami (OH) in the final day of the Cardinal Classic. The Cards ran into a strong performance by RedHawks senior pitcher Courtney Vierstra, who fanned 12 Cardinal batters in her fourth win of the season.
Miami used a three-run homer in the first inning from Adriana Barlow's bat to register all the runs they'd need in this game.
The Cards had chances.
In the bottom of the sixth, Carmyn Greenwood smacked her second double of the affair and advanced to third on Taylor Roby's single...but both were left stranded. In the bottom of the seventh, the Cards filled the bases when Greenwood, Jennifer Leonhardt and Jordan Wolfe all reached safely but Celene Funke was caught looking at a called third strike to end the game and Cardinal late rally.
Bellarmine comes to Ulmer for a Tuesday night contest next for Louisville
CARDINAL COUPLE ACC TOURNAMENT PICK 'EM CONTEST
David Watson won the Cardinal Couple ACC Tournament Pick 'Em contest, by successfully choosing NC State in his bracket to defeat the Cards.
It's the second straight year for a win for "Dave-O" in the contest. Cardinal Couple columnist Jeff McAdams finished second, choosing the Cards in the final game. Both contestant went 10-2 over the five-day event, Watson getting the win by turning in his entry earlier than McAdams. Only three of the 22 contestants had NC State as their winner.
Full order of finish:
10-2: David Watson, Jeff McAdams
9-3: LouavulFan 35, KStarksr, Case, Jared
8-4: Arthur, Vivian, Daryl, Clemson Cuz
7-5: Nick O, Paulie, Blue Lou, Kenny S, Phil, Doug A., Sonya
6-6: Ramblin Eric
5-7: Curtis, Joe Hill, Nole Knowledge
4-8: Cardinal Couple Chimps
Knowing Watson, I expect he'll pop in here sometime today with a celebratory remark or two. He wins the $25 gift card to Cracker Barrel and we're going to recommend he give it to one of his three kids. A concession speech from "Worldwide" probably won't occur -- he rarely comments on articles.
A huge "thank you!" to all who participated (it was our largest ACC Pick' Em ever -- entry wise -- with 22 participants) in the history of the contest, and we'll probably offer a NCAA WBB Pick 'Em as well, if our Bracket Czar Jared is willing to compile the entries and results. We'll keep you updated on that.
have a menaingful Monday!