Louisville Flies Past Marist in First Round of NCAA Tournament
What started as a potential upset scare turned into a dominating Louisville victory as the Cards beat Marist 74-43. Louisville used a dominating third quarter to blow the game open and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
It was all Marist early on as they found themselves up nine in the second quarter. Louisville missed their first six shots of the game over the span of about three and a half minutes. The Red Foxes used the opportunity to go up 5-0 early. Despite the poor shooting, Louisville was able to cut the deficit to three on several occasions before the first quarter concluded with a 15-12 Marist lead.
In the first two minutes of the second quarter the Louisville woes continued. A pair of three-pointers gave Marist a nine-point advantage before Elizabeth Balogun knocked down a three to help lead Louisville on a 17-3 run to go into the half. It was Norika Konno and Mykasa Robinson energizing the Cards on defense with the duo contributing five steals and a block on top of a plethora of rebounds during the run.
The third quarter was all Louisville. The Cards won the quarter 26-9 and the light shining at the tunnel leading to the second round began to brighten. Louisville started the quarter rather slow and wouldn't score until two minutes in, but then turned on the jets. Over the next seven minutes the Cards went on an impressive 26-5 run, much of it with Dana Evans on the bench. Even without the two-time ACC Player of the Year on the floor, Jeff Walz continued to run with four guards.
Louisville went into the fourth quarter rocking a 55-33 lead and they pushed the lead even further, outscoring the Red Foxes 19-10. Evans made a deep three with a little under four minutes remaining to push the lead to 30 points. Malea Williams came in shortly after and recorded a block before knocking down a jumper to erupt the bench into celebration. Williams wasn't done as she drained a three for Louisville's final points and their largest lead of the game at 32.
Despite a rough night, Evans finished with 15 points but was bogged down by four turnovers and three fouls to go with one assist. It was Hailey Van Lith who carried the Cards on offense during times of need. The freshman put up 17 points on 7-11 shooting while adding four assists. Mykasa Robinson also recorded four assists to go with a team-high seven rebounds, two steals, and a block. Robinson even added seven points. Norika Konno provided a spark off the bench with five points, six steals, and three rebounds.
Louisville finished the game shooting 44.4% from the field and 33.3% from three-point range, but solid marks after a sluggish start. They didn't find themselves at the free throw line much but made the most of their opportunities going 8-8 at the charity stripe.
There was a pretty large margin in fouls with the Cards getting called for 23 and Marist just 10. Thankfully it didn't affect the final outcome but the disparity raises some questions on the officiating. Fans have already taken to social media about the poor officiating throughout the entire tournament and we're sure to see some examples from the Louisville game.
It's probably good that Louisville was playing a lower-tiered team that isn't a Stanford or UConn or NC State. Many of those teams could have easily been up 20 on Louisville in the first quarter. Maybe it was just a little bit of rust and nerves. Don't forget that only two active players on the roster dressed for Louisville in the tournament back in 2019. Either way, let's hope the Cards come out better in the second round.
Louisville advances to face #7 seed Northwestern on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the Alamodome. The rest of the region is as follows: 1-seed Stanford vs 8-seed Oklahoma State, 5-seed Missouri State vs 13-seed Wright State, and 3-seed Georgia vs 6-seed Oregon.
Free Throws- As previously mentioned, the Cards were perfect from the free throw line. Their opponents went 12-20 from the line, far exceeding the attempts Louisville had. But we're looking at how Louisville did and there's no doubt for a capital "F".
Rebounding- Louisville finished with 39 rebounds and only eight of those were on the offensive glass. They gave up 14 offensive rebounds to Marist, who finished with 41 total rebounds. No letter here.
Effort/Execution - A solid shooting performance when you look at the final outcome as well as 16 assists on 28 made shots is always a plus. The Cards also had 11 steals and forced 22 total turnovers. You could give a letter based on the efforts of Konno and Robinson, but overall the Cards earned their capital "E".
Defense- Defense was never really an issue last night. Despite the first quarter the Cards held Marist to nine points, nine points, and 10 points, respectively. Marist shot 23.2% from the floor. Louisville also added eight blocks on the game. It wasn't the defense that had us nervous early on. This is definitely a capital "D".
Final Fred Tally -- F-_-E-D will usually get you a victory, as it did last night. Let's hope to improve on this score Wednesday.
Field Hockey Wins in Shootout
The Cardiac Cards lived up to their name yesterday afternoon on a trip up to Miami (OH). The #2 Cards and #20 Redhawks were having so much fun they decided to play two overtime periods and even proceed into a shootout. Louisville would win the game officially 2-1.
Field hockey is a little different so we'll break down the score real quick. The Cards scored a goal in regulation. Miami also scored a goal later during regulation. The teams entered a sudden death "golden goal" overtime period. Since no one scored they went into a second one. The scored remained tied at 1-1 so the two teams went into a shootout period.
Typically, a shootout is a best-of-five with each team getting five shots at the goal. If a team is far enough ahead where it is mathematically impossible for the opposing team to tie then it can be ended early, which is what we saw yesterday. Charlie van Oirschot's shot went in to give the Cards a 4-2 advantage, winning the shootout. The shootout is what became the final mark in the 2-1 score.
Louisville's goal came in the second corner on a penalty corner. The set piece is often a high-percentage scoring play and the Cards capitalized. Alli Bitting fed the ball in from the baseline to Megan Schneider, halting the ball in its track, and setting up Emilia Kaczmarczyk for her third goal of the season.
The Redhawks found an answer 59 seconds into the fourth quarter. Lexi Nugent scored the equalizer for her third goal of the season.
The Cards had a pair of shots in the first overtime but could not find the inside of the cage. Miami had a chance for the win in the second overtime but Sam Minrath came up with a big save.
Miami was first up in the shootout but Minrath was able to divert the shot. Megan Schneider was first up for the Cards and her shot went in for the 1-0 lead. Miami's second attempt went in to even the score. Mackenzie Karl took the second spot for Louisville and sent her shot into the cage to retake the lead. Sam Minrath recorded a save on Miami's third attempt. Katie Schneider was next and gave the Cards a 3-1 advantage in the shootout. The Redhawks got one back in the fourth attempt. Charlie van Oirschot came up to give the Cards four straight made shots in the shootout for the win.
Louisville improves to 11-3 on the season. They stay on the road to visit Boston College on Saturday.
Cardinal Couple NCAA WBB Pick Em
After a busy weekend of photography (six games in three and a half days plus other photo duties) I finally caught up on the rest of the brackets yesterday. Thank you to Paulie for helping me the first day.
We have no more perfect brackets. Some of the games yesterday that made an impact on our 20 brackets were Wright State beating Arkansas, Alabama beating North Carolina, BYU beating Rutgers, and Belmont beating Gonzaga.
The race is still pretty tight with 32 games down and 31 games to go. Here's a breakdown of all the brackets:
29-3: Callie Blue
27-5: Kenny Schneider
26-6: David Watson, Jason Wyrick
25-7: Sonya, Jared, Worldwide Jeff
23-9: Arthur, Nole Knowledge, Blue Lou, Bea, Kenneth Stark Sr, Vivian McAdams
22-10: Curtis Franklin, Clemson Cuz, Case
21-11: Nick O
20-12: Joe Hill
18-14: Cardinal Couple Chimps
-- One bracket has lost their champion. One bracket has lost one of their finalists. Two brackets have lost a Final Four team.
-- Four brackets have lost one Elite Eight team while one bracket has already lost four Elite Eight teams (those poor Cardinal Couple Chimps).
-- Almost all participants have lost one or more Sweet Sixteen team. Only Jason Wyrick and Worldwide have all 16 of their Sweet Sixteen teams still alive.
We have 16 games over the next two days so plenty more basketball to come!
Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!