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Saturday, March 4, 2023


With the weather that rolled into the region yesterday, lacrosse canceled their previously rescheduled game against Cincinnati last night. The cancellation notification was brief and didn't include any information about a second rescheduling, so it seems fair to say that this one just won't happen. Another impact of the weather and the resulting power outages is that we will not record the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast this week. We'll be back next week to discuss the upcoming week in Louisville women's athletics and take a look at the WBB tournament prospects after the conclusion of conference tournaments.

HVL Outshines Jewel; Cards Thump Wake 74-48

Louisville used a hot first quarter from Hailey Van Lith to jump out to a large lead yesterday before the Demon Deacons clawed their way back into the game late in the first half. Despite the 8-0 scoring run, Louisville held a 10-point lead at halftime. After Jeff Walz ripped the team in the halftime interview, he presumably did so in the locker room as well, as the Cards opened the second half with a 13-2 run to effectively put the game away. The Cards would stretch the lead to 25 in the third quarter before Wake brought it back to an 18-point deficit at the end of the quarter, but an 18-point quarter deficit is very different from a 20-point halftime deficit. That, along with the fact that Louisville was playing fresh and Wake was entering their 12th quarter of basketball in 50ish hours, was proven by Louisville extending their lead in the fourth quarter up to 30 before the game ultimately ended with the 26-point difference, Louisville's largest margin of victory in an ACC Tournament game.

Louisville's leader on the floor in this one was none other than Hailey Van Lith. After scoring just eight points against Wake Forest on January 26th, HVL doubled that output in the first quarter of yesterday's game when she tallied 17. It was an inauspicious start for Louisville, with Olivia Cochran committing a shooting foul on the game's first possession. Fortunately for the Cards, Demeara Hinds missed both free throws on the only foul she would draw in the game. It wasn't the cleanest start offensively, either. HVL missed a mid-range jumper, but Cochran was fouled on the rebound. On the ensuing play, Cochran had a driving attempt in the lane miss, but Nyla Harris (part of a brand new starting lineup of HVL / Cochran / Harris / Carr / Robinson) got the offensive rebound. Harris's putback was also off the mark, but a team rebound bounced to Van Lith, who finally hit a pull-up jumper to score the game's first points. After a block by Harris on the other end, CC Carr hit a spot-up three to give the Cards a quick 5-0 lead and Wake called their first timeout. 

The timeout broke up the momentum greatly, and the game stuttered. Wake hit a three in their first possession before covers magically appeared on the baskets. The next five possessions saw seven missed shots before a jump ball stopped play. Liz Dixon entered and must have given HVL some of "Michael's Secret Stuff" from Space Jam. HVL scored all of Louisville's next 15 points, giving her a lead over Wake Forest of 17-8 at the end of the quarter. The team led 20-8. Van Lith was 6-8 from the floor, 4-4 from beyond the arc, and 1-1 from the free throw line. Not to be outdone in the quarter statistically, Nyla Harris matched the entire Wake Forest team with seven rebounds. She was 0-5, but shooting can practiced in the gym. The intensity with which Harris played in yesterday's game is something innate.

As the second quarter started, the announcers were ready to discuss the Wake Forest comeback against FSU and HVL's performance. Louisville's best scoring performance in an ACC Tournament game belongs to Asia Durr with 28 points. With 17 in one quarter and showing no signs of slowing down, everyone was quite confident HVL had the record in her sights. There was even some discussion of the overall ACC single game record. Well pump the brakes, folks. Van Lith scored just four in the second quarter as Louisville's lead began to evaporate due to cooled off shooting and boneheaded mistakes. On his way to the locker room, Walz made it clear that the team needed to remove their heads from their rear ends in order to win the game. 

The quarter began as if things would continue swimmingly for Louisville. Wake made a few baskets but Louisville matched pace to maintain their advantage. A three pointer cut the Louisville lead to nine with seven minutes left, but two offensive rebounds saw the next possession result in two points to get it back to 11. The next sequence prompted me to tweet "If Kasa is doing that, WF can just hang it up." The "that" in question was leaping for a one-handed snag that looked like it belonged at an NFL skills challenge before calmly hitting the mid-range jumper like it was automatic for her. Was I a little nervous about jinxing things when I tweeted it? Sure, but Louisville had given me many more reasons to be confident than reasons to be nervous. The Cards even backed up that confidence after the media timeout. A pair of HVL free-throws extended the lead to 15, and two Cardinal baskets were split by a free throw from Wake moved the score to 34-16. 

Then things unraveled a bit. A missed three was collected for an offensive rebound and Josie Williams went to the line on the put back. She missed both free throws. Louisville recovered another offensive rebound to try to salvage the possession, but HVL missed the ensuing three. No matter, a Wake layup meant Louisville still held a 16-point advantage. Then Mykasa Robinson had an extremely uncharacteristic lazy pass across the top of the key. As lazy passes across the top of the key are wont to do, it was stolen for a breakaway. Merissah Russell hustled back to impact the layup and it was missed. Unfortunately for the Cards, she was the only one in the area. As Jeff Walz put it, "The rest of the team was on a Sunday stroll; too bad it's Friday." Wake was there for the offensive rebound and it was a 14-point game. You might think that the result of that play would make an impact on Louisville's mindset. I certainly would have. Walz apparently thought it would have, because he didn't call a timeout to make sure they understood. Naturally, they did the exact same thing. 

This time it was Carr with the lazy pass across the top, but it was Alyssa Andrews jumping into the passing lane again. Once more, Russell sprinted back to cover the layup, and, once more, she was the only white jersey in the general vicinity of the play. This time, Andrews couldn't quite make a layup happen, so she kicked it out to Jewel Spear (quiet so far) who buried a three. Walz called a timeout. The Cards would miss four shots over the final 1:44 of the half but they would give up just one attempt to the Demon Deacons, a missed 3-pointer from Spear as time wound down. A single free throw cut the halftime lead to ten, and Louisville headed to the locker room, surely prepared to hear it from Walz for the clunker of an end to the quarter. However, while Louisville has struggled with collapses like that in quarters throughout the season, they are usually isolated, and they are usually more damaging. For the Cards to still hold a 34-24 lead at halftime was encouraging. 

Out of the break, Louisville went big. They subbed out Merissah Russell and Morgan Jones to bring in Liz Dixon and Olivia Cochran. After the Hailey show in the first half (she finished it with 21), O was ready to remind people that if your game plan is "everyone cover HVL," you might have other problems. Cochran scored the first six points of the quarter on Louisville's first three possessions. The Cards forced two turnovers from Wake to quickly turn a 10-point lead into 16, and Wake head coach Megan Gebbia wanted another early timeout. While the Deacs were able to draw up another play to get Spear a look at a three, she was unable to convert. Louisville finally missed on their fourth possession, but their momentum was not so easily derailed this time around. Another Wake miss gave the Cards a look at extending the lead once more, so they took it. Again, it was Carr with a big basket (she had Louisville's only other first quarter points, remember, on the first three of the game), as she pushed Louisville's lead to 19. She then matched Spear's driving layup with one of her own to maintain the lead. After a pair of missed baskets, Robinson grabbed a steal and made the fast-break layup herself to make it 47-26 Cards.

The next minute and a half saw three jump balls before the media timeout, which was more than made baskets. Two Carr free throws answered the Wake jumper to keep the lead at 21. Three minutes of back and forth missed baskets were followed by a flurry of scoring. Louisville came out the worse, scoring three points for Wake's seven, but still held on to the 18-point lead at 53-35.

The fourth opened with the same familiar characters pulling the hands of the clock toward midnight on Wake's small Cinderella run. Cochran opened with a layup, HVL hit a three, and a Carr layup capped the quick 7-0 run. Down 25 with just eight minutes left, the Deacs wilted. While they would score 13 more points over the remainder of the game, much of it would come against Louisville's bench, as Walz pulled the starters to rest for today's game. Louisville, for their part, scored 14 over those last eight minutes, including a Norika Konno catch and shoot three, to close out the 74-48 victory.

Van Lith finished the game with 26 points. She needed one more made basket to tie or break AD Durr's record, but I think she's probably happy just to come away with the victory. While the record seemed assured after the first quarter, it was good to see her able to keep her head in the game when the going got a little tougher as Wake clamped down the defense on her. She had just two turnovers in 33+ minutes and added three rebounds, an assist, and a steal. She committed no fouls and drew two, though going 4-12 from inside the three-point line may suggest she didn't get a couple of calls she would have liked. 

Mykasa Robinson was everywhere. In just under 33 minutes (second most on the team, 35 seconds shy of HVL), Kasa had ten assists, eight rebounds, and three steals. She had an uncharacteristic four turnovers, including the rough first half pass we discussed, but also added four points. Importantly, she was decisive on offense. She took four shots, making two, which is pretty much on average for her, but the ten assists show that she was passing on opportunities to shoot because they were better team chances to score, not just because she was being hesitant. More of that from Kasa and Louisville will continue to be dangerous.  

Louisville's biggest +/- came from Liz Dixon. Despite just one point and two rebounds, her presence on the floor was felt, as the team was +34 in her 27:40 of floor time. Dixon added an assist and three blocks, while committing no turnovers. Cochran was limited by early foul trouble, picking up a pair in the first quarter. She ultimately played just nine more minutes after that first quarter, but she was 5-5 from the floor with a rebound, just one turnover, and two fouls drawn in those nine minutes. Critically, she committed no more fouls. Her time was more limited by Louisville's smaller lineups in response to Wake's foul trouble and lack of depth at the post positions. She finished with 11 points.

Chrislyn Carr was the second leading scorer on the team, adding 16 points for the Cards. She was 2-6 from three, but both makes were clutch, and she was 5-6 from inside the arc. Five rebounds, a steal, and two assists rounded out CC's stat line, while she committed just two fouls and one turnover. Morgan Jones and Merissah Russell were the only two other players to earn double digit minutes, and both put in decent stints. Jones had five points, two rebounds, and an assist. She turned the ball over once but drew three fouls while committing just one. Russell had four rebounds to go with her four points, and was the only player with more than ten minutes to commit no fouls or turnovers. Her hustle prevented two fast breaks from scoring, though the stat sheet doesn't reflect it as the rest of the team was lagging on those plays. 

Josie Williams struggled a bit under the lights, missing three free throws on her two drawn fouls, but her -9 in 6:45 was more a reflection of when she was on the floor than of her play. She was quiet, with just two points on 1-2 shooting and no other stats, but with no fouls and no turnovers, you can't be too mad at the effort from what was effectively the fourth forward up. When all was said and done, all but one player for Louisville ended with points. That player was a starter (Harris) who still contributed with nine rebounds and a block and finished with a +/- of +8 in 15:36 on the floor.

Louisville held up defensively, fearing no Spear in this one. Jewel finished with 15 points, but shot just 5-16 from the floor and 4-10 from three. While she drew three fouls, she took just two free throws. Elise Williams was big for Wake as well, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, but she committed seven of the Demon Deacons' 15 turnovers. The Cards effectively neutralized the bigs for Wake Forest with early foul trouble. Olivia Summiel and Demeara Hinds both had four fouls and both played about 23 minutes. The pair combined for four points, quite a bit fewer than their average of 12. Critically, their non-presence on the floor opened things up for Louisville to win the rebounding battle and avoid the major blockers.

The FRED and CASE Reports

F-Free Throws: 8-12 is just 66.7% for the Cards, which isn't winning any awards. Critically, three of those four misses came from Williams around the big Wake Forest run. The starters were 6-6, but drawing 16 fouls, you'd like to see a few more free throws. Wake, for comparison, shot 14 free throws on 13 fouls. No letter.

R-Rebounding: I award a capital R for this one. It's not cut and dry as free throws, but Louisville won the battle 40-29. They doubled up Wake on offensive rebounds, and, while they could only turn that into a 7-4 second chance advantage, it's still important to keep the opposing team off the glass. 

E-Effort/Execution: It's tempting to see just the big run by Wake and think that Louisville could be docked, but I can't ignore the rest of the game and the response directly to that run out of the half. Plus, the Cards won by almost 30 against a team that beat them up the road from this gym just over a month ago. Eleven turnovers isn't ideal, but it's fewer than the opponent. Outside of the blip in the second quarter, Louisville never appeared to let off the gas, and the Cards never trailed. Capital E.

D-Defense: The Cards had just seven steals in this one, though they forced a total of 15 turnovers. A couple of those were shot clock violations caused by actual lockdown defense and not lack of awareness. Adding four blocks and holding Wake to 35.4% shooting isn't bad either. Add all that into the fact that Wake's 48 points is the fewest allowed to an ACC opponent this season and I have to credit that with a Capital D.


C-Care: Louisville committed 11 turnovers in this one, like I mentioned, which is not great but is actually 4.6 fewer than their per game average. It's also fewer than Wake's 15. Wake turns opponents over at a clip of 14.25 per game (good for just 279th in the country) and 11 is more than 75% of that. Lowercase c.

A-Assists: Again, those 11 turnovers will hurt this category. While it's low, Louisville didn't have that many assists, despite 10 from Kasa. The Cards finished with 17 on 29 made baskets, giving them a 59% assist rate, which is pretty good. It's not an ATO of 2, though (just 1.54), and perhaps I should tune that number down. I'm not doing so today, though, so it's a lowercase a.

S-Steals: Sadly, seven is below 7.5 (obviously), but it is above the five that Wake snagged. Short and simple stat. Lowercase s.

E-Efficiency: With no letter in the F of the FRED report, we're starting at a lowercase e here. The Cards were just one made free throw away, but one free throw can make the difference in a game. They shot 43.3% from the floor, about on pace with their 42.1% from three, and that's not quite the 45% we're looking for. So no letter.


The slightly more subjective FRED report was friendlier than the CASE report, but both are decent showings in the tournament opener for the Cards. They'll get Notre Dame for the third time today at noon, and they'll have their work cut out for them. The Irish were still without Olivia Myles yesterday against NC State but held on to defeat the Diamond Johnson-less Wolfpack 66-60. Coverage for this one is on ACC Network, with the winner advancing to tomorrow's ACC Championship game.

Tournament Recap and Bracket Update

Hiya. Paulie here with yesterday's quarterfinal recaps and our contest (and ACC bracket) updates. 

The day started, as you'd no doubt read, with our Cards shaking Wake all the way back to Winston Salem.  Jewel Spear returns for them next year, and that's about all I'm going to say about that one. I also like the Hailey Van "Lethal" tag that folks are using when talking about our blonde bomber. Let's go out and beat ND, now. 

Notre Dame 66 - NCST 60

Apologies here, to my wife Sonja, who was getting confused every time I'd shout out something about ND's Sonia Citron yesterday, while I was watching this game.

 "Sonia, quit fouling her!" 
"What did you need, hon?" 

 The Irish managed to shut down an NCST squad that didn't have Diamond Johnson. Notre Dame was missing "Miles of Smiles" and "Lil Cindy Boo Hoo" -- who were nursing knees. Inconsistency is thy name, NCST -- I guess it does matter if you lose four starters from last year, Wes? 14-point leads are tough to overcome, and compliments for cutting it to six late...but YOURE GOING HOME, Used Car salesman. I-40 should be fairly clear for travel this morning.  

Duke 44 - UNC 40

That horrible sound on your TV was Deb Antonelli growling about lack of offense (again) in the rematch between these two. I think they were playing "first to 50 wins" and neither squad could get there, so they just let the clock decide.  We did see that former Card Elizabeth Balogun is continuing to fit in pretty well with Kara Lawson's bunch and she can still drill the three. UNC's Deja Kelly went, like 4-30, or some ridiculous number from the floor and that probably hurt the Heels. Yes, shooters are great...but coaches (and people watching the game) prefer makers. And, you probably needed Makers, if you watched all of this one. Duke moves on to get VT. TV worth watching today after the Cards game, I hope. This one wasn't.  I guess both squads were just resting up for the NCAA Tournament. 
Virginia Tech 68 - Miami 42

A 20-5 lead in the first quarter pretty much describes it all....VT came ready to play and Miami stayed on the bus. Cavinder Magic and Ktie Meyer Mastery were not to be found and the Canes will fly back south. When you get a bird battle between a Gobbler and an Ibus, go with the land animal if it's a turf war. The fact is, VT hed coach Kenny Brooks has a helluva arsenal assembled, including two-time ACC Player of the Year Liz Kitley, and some very good players to compliment her.  They just might send Duke home today. 


With three games to go, Case holds a tenacious 10-1 success mark and is ahead  of six participants at 9-2 (Paulie, Jared, Thomas I, Karen J, Jeff McA and Daryl. 

At 8-3:

Katy, Vivian, BJ, Nick O. K.Stark, David Watson, Jo. Spivey

At 7-4

Joe Hill, Sonja, JA. Spivey, Jason, Lilli D.

We also have two at 6-5, three at 5-6, two at 4-7 and the Cardinal Couple Chimps can see 'em all at 2-9. Thanks for playing and better luck next time  I expect I'll do a final and complete listing in my Monday column. 

We cannot allow Case to win, y'all. His ego is way too big already. He has Louisville beating Notre Dame today and Duke beating VT. He has Duke as champion. We shall see...



Until next time, Go Cards!


  1. Big game today against archrival ,cards need to not turn the ball over and shoot the ball well the third time is a charm.
    Go Cards

    Muffet in the house you know she'll be talking crap today if the Irish wins.
    Ps I like Muffet McGraw I think she a good coach.

    1. Stuffy actually gave Louisville props.
      Kinda HAD to after the top two games they've played this year, demolished Wake yesterday and put an old fashioned a$$ whooping on those Irish today😋

  2. Yes she did talk highly of the Cardinals today but the third time was the charm.


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