Thanks for checking back in with us this Sunday morning. We are all still shuffling around... so the post today is coming from Daryl. Jeff is unfortunately traveling back to Louisville instead of heading to Tampa this morning so I will cover yesterday's disappointing loss to the Pitt Panthers.
We also have a huge rivalry matchup downtown this afternoon which Paul and Jared should be in attendance for.
The Cards suffered a reverse sweep at the hands of the Panthers for a second straight time this season. At Fitz Arena. Louisville came out looking much stronger and smarter than Pitt did in the first two sets but Pitt was able to make them competitive. Which is the opposite of what the final 3 sets looked like for Louisville. The Pitt defense was able to stuff the Cards as UofL scored only 16, 19 and 7 points in the final 3 sets. Aiko Jones started 7-7 before she cooled off and Pitt adjusted their blocking to prevent the Cards from finding any gaps on the floor beginning at the end of the 2nd set. Pitt's Olivia Babcock also turned up the heat and was able to find her rhythm and completely knock the Cards off balance.The Cardinals finish their season 27-5 overall. They hit .213 overall against Pitt with five aces and 13 blocks in the loss. Middle blocker Phekran Kong tied her career-high with 13 kills while hitting .600 along with eight blocks. Outside hitter Anna DeBeer tallied 13 kills, eight digs, and three blocks, middle blocker Cara Cresse recorded nine kills, five blocks, and an ace, and middle blocker Aiko Jones added nine kills, six blocks, and five digs in her final match as a Cardinal. Setter Elle Glock had 39 assists, four digs, and a block, while libero Elena Scott totaled 10 digs, four assists, and three aces.
Panthers advance to their third straight Final Four by hitting .286 with 11 aces and 14 blocks. Torrey Stafford led the way with 18 kills, 11 digs, and two blocks, and Olivia Babcock was right behind her with 16 kills, eight digs, five blocks, and three aces.
Heading into this one on a four game winning streak, the Cardinals have held opponents to 59 points or less in five of their nine games this season. Louisville has forced 20 or more turnovers in seven-straight games and in eight of their nine games this year. The Cardinals rank 16th in the country and have averaged 22.8 turnovers forced per game this season. Louisville has won the last six meetings against UK. The last time the two met, the Cardinals kept the state red as they defeated Kentucky, 86-72.
Kentucky fell to Minnesota 76-57 the other day. Ajae Petty is coming off back-to-back games scoring at least 20 points and grabbing at least 12 rebounds. In fact, she earned Southeastern Conference Player of the Week. Petty is leading the team in scoring (15.9) and rebounding (10.0), while she also ranks second in the league in field-goal percentage (61.2) and rebounds (100). Maddie Scherr, a senior guard from Florence, Kentucky, is second on the team with 14.0 points per game, despite missing four games this season.
With Walz at helm, Louisville leads the series 9-6 (5-2 home, 4-4 away).