THREE IN DOUBLE FIGURES IN WBB WIN OVER UK
Another close affair, the Cards having to overcome a 54-53 UK lead with 3:37 left in the game, but...to the delight of 12,167 fans in the KFC YUM! Center...the Cards ended the contest on a 11-4 run and #7 Louisville improved to 8-1 on the season.
Chelsie Hall led UofL with 15 points and Ahlana Smith and Hailey Van Lith added 13 each in the win. Credit a Cards 32-28 point edge in the paint, 21-9 edge in points-off 21 UK turnovers and holding UK star Rhyne Howard to just nine points on 3-13 shooting to give Louisville their fifth straight win over UK. The Cards won the battle of the guards on a night where Olivia Cochran left in the third quarter with a blow to the head and Liz Dixon saw just seven minutes and had just two points. In a game of runs, it was Louisville's final one that spelled the difference.
A tightly called contest where 36 fouls were whistled, three technical fouls were issued and Kianna Smith fouled out with eight minutes to go. The "over-attentive" refereeing drew the ire of the Cardinal faithful -- Cardinal favorite Eric Brewton seemed to be on a mission to call the slightest hint of any contact and UK, for all their determination to hang with the Cards, seemed intent on giving the ball back to Louisville. The Cats had 23 turnovers and the Cards 10 steals.
Louisville did build a 19-13 first quarter lead, but managed just two points in the final five minutes of the second quarter to go in down by one at halftime 33-32. A final five minutes of the first half that started with the Cards holding a 30-22 lead, but 1-5 shooting and a questionable technical foul called on Olivia Cochran after blocking a UK shot and looking at a UK player led to two Howard free throws. Let's order a set of horse blinkers for "O", I guess.
It wasn't the best of nights for UK's potential ALL-American. She went 3-13 from the floor, had just seven rebounds in 39:30 minutes. Constantly frustrated by the Cards switching defensive tactics, she failed to score in the second half.
Louisville used a withering defense to hold UK scoreless for the first six minutes of the final half. During that strettch, the Cards built a eight point lead (43-35) and outscored UK 12-6 in the quarter. UK shot 1-13 in the third and one had to be optimistic that Louisville had this one if they could continue the defensive pressure.
UK wasn't having it.
With the Cards leading 49-42 after an Engstler steal and layup, UK got a timeout and started to chip away at the led. A 5-0 run had them within two at 49-47 with 6:26 to go and they tied it 30 seconds later on two free throws from the aptly named Treasure Hunt. A Hall steal and layup put Uofl back ahead but UK gained a 54-53 lead after a Howard block and Dre'una Edwards layup on a fast break.
3;37 remained in the game. How would the Cards respond?
The answer is...impressively. Ahlana Smith knocked down a jumper and Van Lith sunk a fast break layup to put UofL back up by four. Smith nailed another jumper to make it 59-54 with 1:41 to play. Cardinal fans started breathing a bit easier. UK's final points came with 84 seconds to play on an Edwards jumper. A clutch bucket by Van Lith (she had eight fourth-quarter points) and three Hall free throws... after a technical on UK coach Kyra Elzy (who was a bit upset that a foul had not been called on Kasa Robinson after a Howard missed shot).secured the win.
A win that sent Cardinal fans home happy. A win that UK tried to prevent, but, ultimately, fell out of their reach, despite 7-14 fourth quarter shooting. Turnovers will get you almost every time and the Cats six miscues in the fourth were a key factor in sending them back eastward on I-64 after the game with a loss and 6-3 record.
THE FRED REPORT
Free Throws -- The Cards went 8-12 from the charity stripe,...getting four of them from Hall. 66% does not meet our 70% standard for a letter, though, so no letter here.
Rebounds -- We had a 37-37 tie in the board grabbing category/ Engstler led Louisville with 10....no one else had more than five. We didn't lose the battle of the boards, so I'll award a small-case "r" for the effort/
Effort/Execution -- A 40% shooting night for Louisville (26-65) and just 13 turnovers. I'm not thrilled about the 4-13 three point effort, nor just nine assists -- but the overall effort got the Cards the win and I'll award a small-case "e" .
Defense -- I liked what I saw on the defensive end. UK shot 38.9%. They had 21 turnovers. The Cards had 10 steals and six blocked shots, winning both those categories handily. I have.no hesitations in handing out a CAPITAL "D". Our defense won this one for us.
FINAL FRED TALLY: _-r-e-D
We spoke at length at the start of the seasson about the Cards depth at guards and that was the area that UofL excelled in Sunday afternoon. Ahlana Smith and Chelsie Hall had 28 points, add in Van Lith's 13 and those three guards had 64% of our scoring. And none of the three are over 5'8".
Louisville brings in Eatern Kentucky next -- on Thursday at 8 p.m. A game scheduled when Samantha Williams was still coaching the Colonels. A nice tune-up for UConn next Sunday.
(PHOTOS BY JARED ANDERSON)
THEY SAID IT: