FRIDAYS WITH DARYL
Good morning readers, welcome April and GAME DAY! This Final Four run has saved my sanity this week. My work schedule is picking back up again ahead of the summer months so I look forward to the Cards' biggest fight of the season tonight in the Final Four in Minneapolis. No fooling, today will be a tough battle for Walz and the Cards
FT% 72% 68%
South Carolina on the National Scale
-South Carolina is playing in its fourth Final Four in the last seven NCAA Tournaments winning their only title in 2017.
-South Carolina leads the nation with 12 wins over ranked opponents this season.
-Leading the nation in rebounding margin (+17.9), South Carolina grabs an SEC-best 45.9 percent of its own missed shots, turning 17.2 offensive rebounds per game into 16.4 points per game.
-The Gamecocks have allowed just 41.2 points per game in this NCAA Tournament. North Carolina (3/25) scoring the most of the group at 61 points.
-South Carolina has a +23.5 advantage on the glass through four games and has out-rebounded all four teams by at least 15. Aliyah Boston is six rebounds shy the program season record (434) set in 1977-78 by Katrina Anderson.
-In her 22nd season as a head coach, Dawn Staley has taken a team to the NCAA Tournament 16 times. She is 32-14 at the event, including a 30-8 mark at South Carolina.
The Tall Order of Aliyah Boston - AP & Naismith Player of the Year
The Good JuJu for the Cards - Some of my favorite stories leading up to this game
Excellent quotes in this transcript from Coach Walz presser
Some of my favorite ones:
In reference to a fan and her longtime commitment to the program.. "She was supposed to come before the game to talk to them, but unfortunately she got there a little bit late, and then the next thing I know after I meet with my staff at halftime, she's in there talking to them at halftime. I think she thinks she's on staff. She does a great job. Our kids love her. Just the passion that she has for life, not just for our team but for life, and her experiences that she's been able to share with our players, as well as many of our fans, it means a lot to them."
I picture Mrs. Green painting the picture of Shoni Schimmel running circles around Brittney Griner in 2013 (Bring Brittney Griner home) to the squad in the hotel lobby in between practice and film sessions. Hailey Van Lith was 11 years old when that happened, Payton Verhulst was 9.
Sidenote: I saw a video of the team walking through the hotel and they all stopped to acknowledge a woman, some even embraced her into a huge hug.... Does anyone know if this woman was Mrs. Green?!
In reference to the transfer portal and roster adjustments.. "Now you can look and say, hey, what voids do I have; what can I fill in; what areas can I look to increase or get stronger in? Now, I do think you have to be real careful because you've got to make sure you're getting kids that are going to fit into your program, fit into your culture, and make sure they understand what you're trying to do. It's not all about them, and I think that's what's one of the things that we have here is we have kids that want to win, and it goes a long way. I've said it before, when Emily went into the portal last year and we were going to call, the first person I talked to was Mykasa on my team. Mykasa Robinson was going to be the player who was impacted the most if Emily decided to come here because her playing time was going to be impacted.The first thing that she tells me is, Coach, I'm tired of guarding her. If we can get her on our team, let's get her. Because these kids like to win. I think it just speaks volumes for the character of the players that we have here, and their end game is to compete and compete for a National Championship."
In reference to his familiarity with Minnesota.. "Oh, yeah, it's exciting to be coming back. I talked with my wife and my kids, and I can show them my house I bought in Minnesota. I've actually -- I bought the house in a cul-de-sac. I still stay in touch with a few of the neighbors. They've emailed me. They're planning to come to the game."
Its awesome that Coach Walz has established roots all over the country and lifelong cheerleaders.
Warm fuzzies of the WBB squad going the extra mile 700 miles away
My favorite part:
But in the moments after scoring 22 points to lead her team to the Final Four, being named Most Outstanding Player in the Wichita region and delivering a post-game interview to the ESPN cameras, Van Lith chose to leave the celebration to hop over the barrier, even with a limp, to take pictures and chat with a group of local teenagers she didn’t know.
Two of those girls were Destiny Smith and Naomi White, a pair of sophomores who are up-and-coming players on the Derby girls basketball team that recently played in the Class 6A state championship. They both have Division I dreams of playing college basketball and they aspire to be like the Louisville players they watched on Friday and Monday. Even before the Cardinals were assigned to the Wichita regional, the girls said Louisville was their favorite college basketball team to watch. “I’ve been watching Hailey play since she was in high school,” White said. “I love watching her play. She’s so good. I love her so much.”
If you've been to women's basketball game in the last 15 years and stayed after the final buzzer, you would have noticed these squads delay their showers and media questions until every kid lined up the stairs of the KFC Yum! Center gets their picture and autograph from the players. And the lines get longer every season. It should bode well for the Cards to pay it forward.
Cards falls to Buckeyes 13-12 in 2OT
The Cards got off to a 3-0 lead before OSU went on a 9-3 run and dominated the second quarter 8-2 as the Cardinals trailed 9-5 at the half.
UofL was down 4 goals at the start of 4th quarter and were able to storm back and tie it up 12 all with 2:03 left in the game. Hannah Morris scored 5 of he Cards last 6 goals to get them there. Morris’ six goals marked a career-high, while her five second half goals are tied for the second most in Louisville program history.
The Buckeyes were held scoreless in the 4th quarter and first overtime period.
Nicole Perroni received a yellow card and was ruled out for the final 2 after her stick hit the head of the OSU player. She scored twice for UofL and had 5 of the team's 9 Draw Controls.
With a minute left and the rain picking up at Cardinal Stadium, J Pleck had a huge save to push it to OT. And then it went to 2OT.
UofL took huge shot off the knee near the goal, possibly saving a game winning goal and the Cards got the ball back and OSU got the yellow card.
However, UofL wasn't able to take advantage and the Buckeyes got the ball back when the Cards charge. OSU went scoreless for 21+ minutes and it looked as if Ohio State was content to head to a third overtime but Nicole Ferrara found Lindsay Epstein with less than a second remaining for the game-winner.
Jaws were on the floor after the final buzzer. That is one that Scott Teeter and the squad will lose sleep over, I'm sure.
With the loss, Louisville moves to 5-7 on the year, Ohio State improves to 8-4.
Cardinals bring an 18-13 overall record and a 2-4 mark in ACC play into the weekend.
• Logan Morris is ranked 3rd in the ACC with a .420 batting percentage and is tied for second with 10 home runs to lead the Wolfpack's offense. As a team, the Wolfpack lead the league with 62 home runs.
• Sam Gress leads NC State pitching staff with a 2.79 ERA and Aisha Weixlmann has earned 10 wins on the mound.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour -- As far as I know, the whole gang will be in tow for the show. Pleeeeease, Basketball Gods, let us have some F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C news to cover!