We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2022


It has been all quiet on the Cardinal front other than women's basketball in the middle of their season. The Cards are fresh off a road win against Boston College over the weekend and gear up to take on #4 NC State in Raleigh on Thursday. Road wins are important when it comes to conference play and road wins against ranked opponents are even more crucial when it comes to the NCAA Tournament resume.

Louisville has started ACC play hot, going 5-0 with three home wins and two road wins that are highlighted by a win at a ranked Georgia Tech team. The wins have come against 8-8 Syracuse, 10-7 Pittsburgh, 13-4 Georgia Tech, and 12-5 Boston College (twice).

Between games getting rescheduled and whatnot, the ACC standings look a little funky.

7-0 NC State

5-0 Louisville

4-1 Notre Dame

4-1 Virginia Tech

4-2 North Carolina

4-2 Georgia Tech

3-3 Boston College

2-2 Miami

2-3 Duke

2-5 Wake Forest

1-3 Florida State

1-5 Pittsburgh

1-5 Syracuse

0-3 Virginia

0-5 Clemson

The Cards and Wolfpack remain the only undefeated teams in the ACC. That will change when the two leaders meet up.

Notre Dame is quickly back near the top of the conference after just a couple down seasons following a coaching change. Virginia Tech is a team that typically hangs around the top of the conference but is known to falter down the stretch. Perhaps this is the year Kenny Brooks and company will finish strong. North Carolina has also looked impressive so far with their two losses coming to NC State and Notre Dame. Georgia Tech is the final four-win team and have proven to be one of the best in the country based off their defense alone.

Boston College has shown signs of being a good team with the duo of Soule and Swartz, but still has a hump to get over. Miami is sitting middle of the pack too and has been a team that can beat the top dogs at times but will then drop a game they shouldn't, historically. Duke is riding on new coach Kara Lawson and several new players, including former Card Elizabeth Balogun, who is averaging 10.9 ppg.. They started hot before losing four of their last six games.

Wake Forest is one of four teams with five losses this year, but is the only of those teams to have multiple wins so far. Based off win percentage, Jen Hoover's team sits about half a game ahead of Florida State, who has surprisingly struggled this year with Coach Semrau back at the helm.

Pittsburgh is down near the bottom, and after their game against the Cards on Jan. 6, it's easy to see why. Syracuse, who is running on a new coach and a mostly new team, has struggled quite a bit this season, as their record has shown, but they have good reason to struggle this year. Virginia has only played three conference games due to COVID-19 issues and is having a downright awful year. Clemson is the other winless team in the ACC but with two more losses than Virginia. Sorry, Arthur, but your Tigers are on pace for a third straight losing season and don't have much fight left in them.

It looks like the ACC regular season title will come down to either Louisville or NC State. Still, you have about four other teams that could sneak into one of the top two spots. If a team does sneak into one of those spots I would put my money on Georgia Tech or Notre Dame.  North Carolina continues to surprise, though, yes, NC State throttled them pretty easily when they met, but Courtney Banghart has developed some very good talent.  

If the NCAA Tournament started today, roughly nine or 10 teams from the ACC would make it, making this an up year for the ACC. Personally, I'm all for it. Unlike football, women's basketball in this conference is strong and ready to dominate.

After a road game this Thursday, the Cards close out January with three straight home games.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!

Monday, January 17, 2022




A day today where we remember the works and efforts of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr and his works and efforts to battle racial discrimination and injustice in our nation. One of the early pioneers in the civil rights movement, King strove to make America an equal land of opportunity for all. Besides looking at today a just a national holiday, let us never forget his efforts to battle injustice. 


What a difference a quarter can make. 

Louisville women's basketball stumbled out of the gate in the first quarter Sunday afternoon against Boston College as if they'd had one too many at Roxanne's on Beacon Street Saturday night. I'll call it the worst quarter of the season for the #2/3 team in NCAA DI WBB, and I'd dare you over a shot of Jameson's to find one worse. The Cards trailed the Eagles 20-10 and were allowing way too many Boston easy baskets and shooting just 33% from the floor. 

If the Cards are known as one of the best defensive teams in the country, it was way overdue in displaying that in the Conte Forum. So, Jeff Walz decided to go "small" (without Olivia Cochran or Liz Dixon on the court and try to convince his troops to pick up the man-to-man defensive pressure. 

And, the strategy worked.  The Cards went on a 11-1 run in the first four minutes of the second session, and a Hailey Van Lith jumper tied the contest at 21-21. The Cards were not through yet, either. They soared to a 30-23 lead after another Van Lith jumper, and had pulled off a 20-3 run on their hosts, forcing nine Eagles turnovers in the quarter and just 20%.shooting.  When the halftime buzzer sounded, it was 32-25 Louisville and the Eagles players were probably wondering if anyone caught the license plate number of the truck that has just hit them. A 22-5 Cardinals quarter. 

A quarter where Hailey Van Lith had six points and Ahlana Smith came off the bench for five of her seven points. 

Credit the Eagles for going in at halftime and gathering their wits somewhat. And credit Louisville for not relapsing into their first quarter ways. The Cards would build their lead to 12 in the quarter, and see it shrink to four. A strange turn-of-events with two seconds left in the third, when a technical foul was called on BC's Jaelyn Batts for running out onto the court from the bench in celebration after the Eagles came up with a loose ball. Van Lith sank the ensuing two free throws and the Cards held a 48-39 lead after three quarters. 

Boston College would never get closer than nine points in the final quarter and Louisville led by 15 at 62-47 with 1:04 to play after a Kianna Smith jumper. A 63-53 win for Louisville, one where they outscored BC 53-33 in the final 30 minutes of the game, 

An unexpected 21 turnovers for the Cards and Boston College did get 10 steals. But, BC shot just 38% from the floor, despite Taylor Soule's heroics with 17 points. 34 combined points from Kianna Smith and Hailey Van Lith sends Louisville to 15-1 overall and 5-0 in the ACC. Van Lith and Smith got scoring support from Cochran (8 points), Ahlana Smith (7 points) and Kasa Robinson (6 points). Emily Engstler was limited to four points but had six steals and seven rebounds.

It wasn't a classic nor very pretty at times. but Louisville did overcome the sluggish, staggering start and remains tied for the lead in the ACC with NC State, who rolled Duke 84-60 on Sunday.


The late Sen. Fred Thompson's expression
probably mirrors how most Cardinal fans felt
after the first quarter of this one... 

Free Throws --  7 for 11 from the line for Louisville, a 63.8% effort for Louisville which doesn't quite meet our 70% standard to earn a letter. only four Cards attempted them, and only Olivia Cochran was perfect from the stripe. NO LETTER HERE. 

Rebounding -- Louisville won the battle of the boards 38-36. Engstler led the Cards with seven in 24 minutes, An interesting stat where 11 Cards rebounds were credited to "TEAM".and I'm not sure why so many went undesignated to a player.  BC had nine team rebounds.  But,, not bad for Louisville, in a game where the Cards played "small ball" quite a bit and Cochran and Dixon played just 26 of the 200 total minutes. CAPITAL "R" HERE.

Effort/Execution -- The Cards had 13 assists on 26 made baskets (Kasa Robinson 4 but she lead Louisville in turnovers with five) and did a much better job moving and throwing the ball accurately after that horrendous first 10 minutes. But, those first ten minutes would have sunk a lesser team for the game. I liked the way the Cards battled back, but 22 fouls are a bit too high, so I can only award a lowercase "e" here. 

Defense  -- Defense got Louisville back into this one and ultimately helped them win the game. BC was 2-15 from three-point range and had 24 turnovers. The Cards got 10 steals and had four blocks. I'll award the CAPITAL D" -- they did hold Boston College to 53 points and just five second chance points.  


I've said it before and I'll say it again, road wins in the ACC are worth their weight in gold and this was a much improved Boston College team from the one Louisville played on Dec 30th. But, if the Cards start out this poorly at NC State on Thursday, they'll lose by double digits. Louisville didn't panic, slowly and methodically worked their way back into this one and pulled away. What is sad is that barely over a 1000 attended this one?. Maybe the city was still in a post-game New England Patriots depression and hangover after they got throttled by the Bills, but the Eagles are only drawing in and averaging a little short of 800 per game this year. 

Nevertheless, the Cards roll on and let's hope they got home without too many problems, based on the wicked weather headed Massachusetts way Sunday evening. The big one awaits Thursday, in Raleigh, a battle of two top-five teams. Cards and Wolfpack.


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Basketball on a Hill - Sunday Cardinal Couple


There was a basketball game yesterday, but that's a bit outside of our normal coverage here on Cardinal Couple.  There was a good bit of fun with a Cardinal Couple favorite in anticipation of it, so an opportunity to share it.

Lucius "Too Tall" Winston with Emina Ekic:

Yes, the Harlem Globetrotters were in town yesterday with a game at the KFC Yum! Center.  You were thinking of another game, perhaps?  In the lead-up to it, Racing Louisville attacker, and former UofL Soccer player Emina Ekic matched up with "Too Tall" in a game of Horse.  Ekic showed off some of her skills, both with her feet, and on the hardwood, demonstrating that she does have a bit of shooting range in the process.  No results are available, but presumably the Globetrotters were victorious over the Washington Generals.

But back in our wheelhouse, the Louisville women's basketball team has made the trip to Chestnut Hill, arriving safely and ducking a bit of incoming winter weather while they're at it.

The Cards and the Eagles will match up today at noon.  The Eagles are currently about mid-pack in the ACC, though with the conference season as young as it is, there's still plenty of time for some re-arranging of the standings.

At 12-4, 3-2 in conference, the Eagles aren't quite in the discussion for "Best Team in the Nation", but they are showing some respectable numbers.  Losses are to cross-town Boston University, VCU, a then undefeated UNC team, and of course, the earlier meeting of the Cards and Eagles here in Louisville.  Notable wins are in-conference with solid victories over Syracuse, Clemson, and Pitt.

In the previous matchup with Louisville, the leading scorers for the Eagles were Taylor Soule, Cameron Swartz, and Maria Gakdeng.  The Cards should also be wary of Makayla Dickens and Marnelle Garraud as high point producers, though they weren't much of a factor in the first meeting. Cameron Swartz went off for 39 a few games back at Clemson. It'd be surprising if she duplicates that today against UofL.  

BC did play the Cards competitively in the first quarter of the previous matchup, with a score of 12-11 after the first 10 minute segment.  It didn't last, though, with the Cards holding Boston College to 13 or less in each of the quarters of the game, while the UofL production climbed to 20 or more each of quarters after the first.

The paint play should be interesting, both Maria Gakdeng and Olivia Cochran are listed at 6'3", and similar builds.  Beyond that, Soule and Swartz line up at 5'11", Dickens measures up at 5'8", and Garraud at 5'7".

Garraud, Dickens, and Swartz are the only significant three point threats on the team.

The big question of the day will be the Louisville defense.  Highly touted all year, it all but vanished in the return from the Covid pause.  While the offense took a big step forward, hopefully we can finally see the Cards perform well on both ends of the court today.

The game will tip-off at noon, and is on the linear ACC Network today.  Of course, if you want to catch it via streaming, that's available as well.  ESPN's site doesn't have commentator names listed for the game, yet, so that will be a game-time discovery for us all. Nick and AJ have the call on Cards Radio  WKRD 790 AM.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

A real treat for the CCRHP yesterday, with all five of the regular crew able to come together for the show.

It was a basketball heavy show, as you might expect, though some mention was made of track and field as they pursue their indoor season, and swimming in their dual meet against Indiana.

The show is available via Youtube as normal:

but you can also check out the lightly edited version at:

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Successful Days in the Pool and On Track -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Swimming Defeats 10th-Ranked Indiana

There's been quite a bit to talk about with the other primary sports this season, so some of the more off-the-beaten-path sports have taken a back seat. With only swimming and track in action yesterday, they'll take the spotlight in today's column. Yesterday saw a major top-15 dual meet with Louisville heading up to Bloomington as the 11th (men's) and 15th (women's) ranked squads in the country to take on the 5th and 10th ranked teams from IU. While the men were roundly rebuked for their efforts (95-208), the women's team came away with the upset, winning 182-118.

The Cards came away with 10 event wins in total and had five different swimmers win individual events. Gabi Albiero (hey, that's a familiar last name) led the way with four wins as she took the 50 Free and 100 Butterfly and swam on the teams that won the 200 Medley Relay and 400 Free Relay. On the distance side, Liberty Williams won both distance events and set a school record in the 1000 in the process. Abby Hay won the 200 Fly and the 400 Individual Medley, and Arina Openysheva took the 100 Free. In a rocket start to her collegiate swimming career, Rye Ulett beat her sister Tristen by 0.21 seconds to win the 100 Back. 

In addition to winning the events and the meet, Louisville swimmers set 17 B-cut times and an A-cut time in the 400 Free Relay. Those times will put Louisville swimmers in positions to swim for titles later in the season, so they're important to grab at meets like the one yesterday. Louisville women's swimmers were on fire collectively, and it's good to see positive energy feeding off of itself in that way to elevate everyone. The Cards will host Kentucky in the Ralph Wright Natatorium next Saturday starting at 1PM.

Indoor Track Sees Five Wins and 20 PBs

After opening the indoor season in downtown Louisville, the Cardinal track and field teams headed down to Birmingham for the Blazer Invitational. The event played host to athletes from all sorts of collegiate teams, and Louisville was one of the more successful teams overall. The men's team saw three victories with two for the women.

One of those victories, perhaps unsurprisingly, went to Gabriela Leon in the pole vault. She had to go to a jump-off to secure the victory, but she's made a habit of winning that event. The other win was quite the different story. In her debut in the high jump, Styliana Ioannidou set a mark that tied the fifth all-time jump in program history and took the win. Quite a day for debuts between Ioannidou and Ulett in swimming. 

In addition to the victories, Louisville got podiums from Katie Martin (2nd, 500m) and Aliyah Welter (3rd, pole vault). Individually, the meet brought personal bests for Je'Nyia Burton, Taylor Boggess, Katie Martin, Styliana Ioannidou, Soledad Jean, Claire Bushur, Katherine Coffey, and Zoe Yeast. In a meet that brought personal bests in positions as far down as 16th, it was clear that Louisville was up against stiff competition, and that makes their winning and podium performances even more impressive. 

Louisville will get back into a sports complex next weekend in Blacksburg when they're hosted by Virginia Tech at the Hokie Invitational.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Could it be? Will we really get all five panelists back on board on the CCRH Podcast for the first time in months? You'll have to tune in for yourself to find out. We'll cover the return to action for the women's basketball team and what to expect in the upcoming weeks. Plus bracketology, engagements, and more. As always, you can check out the live stream of the show by going to the Cardinal Couple YouTube page and clicking on the live video. Jeff usually creates that about an hour before the show, which officially starts at 11 AM Eastern. If the live time doesn't work for you, there are plenty of playback options, so be sure to check out whichever is best for you!

Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link
Anchor (podcast host): Link
Apple Podcasts: Link
Breaker: Link
Google Podcasts: Link
Overcast (free account required): Link
Pocket Casts (free account and app required): Link
RadioPublic: Link
Spotify: Link

Until next time, Go Cards!

Friday, January 14, 2022

WBB wins 84-71 over the Orange -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


 Happy Friday morning to all !

Photo: Jared Anderson

Louisville WBB moves to 14-1 on the season, 4-0 in ACC play after a 5 day COVID pause.  UofL returned to the hardwood to face familiar ACC foe, Syracuse on Thursday evening. The Cards won the opening tip and immediately turned on the jets but Syracuse would not make it easy for the Cards as the Orange impressively operated with only six players.   

This game had a lot of great drama but I will admit, I was still not comfortable with 1:00 min left on the clock for the game.  This had the potential to be a bad loss for Louisville.. one that the tournament committee would've really knocked the squad for.   Luckily a huge back half of the fourth quarter from the Louisville starters pushed the Cards to victory and back on the quest for a national championship.  

UofL was lead by Kianna Smith and Hailey Van Lith's 20 points each.  Emily Engstler also led the charge putting 15 points and 8 rebounds on her former squad. 


End of 1Q 23-18 Cards
FG %
10-20 50% Cards
8-16 50% Cuse
Reb. 10-8 Cards
3-pt %
1-4 25% Cards
2-4 50% Cuse
                                                                         Photo: Jared Anderson

Chelsie Hall grabbed 2 offensive rebounds and a steal, the guard's presence immediately felt on the floor in the opening possession.  Cards defense pressed harder, as Emily Engstler gets a steal at the right from her former squad to Hailey Van Lith for the layup in transition.  HVL follows that with a three pointer after Cards absorb the offensive foul. Kianna Smith goes for the 2 point floater,  Emily grabs the rebound off of a Syracuse miss and then Olivia Cochran shakes off a defender to put it up and in and make it 9-5 Cardinals.

 At the media time out, UofL was shooting 45% on 5-11 attempts while 'Cuse managed to shoot 57% on 4-7.  Syracuse also leading from beyond the arc at this point Cards going 1-4 and 'Cuse 1-2.  The Cards were up 11-9 with five of their points coming off of 3 Orange turnovers and used a 4-2 run to make it 15-11, before forcing another turnover.  With 3:39 left in the quarter, Liz Dixon comes up empty on good look under the basket as well as the second chance attempt.  With the teams trading baskets, Emily goes to the rim to make it 17-13.  A travel turnover by Dixon on a pass to her underneath would be back to back bad possesions for Liz.  Notable, she was also wearing-ish a mask for the game.  Coach Walz takes Liz, HVL and Hall out of the game and puts Olivia back in as well as Payton Verhulst and Mykasa Robinson.   HVL was 4-5 to open the game with 9 points in 9 minutes. 

End of 2Q  17-17 All

FG %
8-16 50% Cards
4-12 33% Cuse
Reb. 9-7 Cards 
3-pt %
1-4 25% Cards
1-4 25% Cuse

                 Photo: Jared Anderson

A minute into the second quarter and Mykasa Robinson was taking the charge.  Literally.  She drove to the basket, missed it but Verhulst followed it up for the second chance points and then she was taking the offensive foul to give the Cards the ball back as HVL knocked down the jumper to make it 27-20 Cards. With 5 min left in the half, the quarter was tied 8-8 with UofL still up 31-26.. but the Cards did go cold for almost 3 minutes.  With 3:30 left in the half, several baskets were exchanged before the Cards pushed it to an 11 point lead before Engstler commits the foul and recieves a technical - Cuse gets the 4 points at the line to make it 40-33 with a minute left and Cuse gets the ball.  The Orange take advantage as the clock winds down to the break,  Hall and Dixon miss their 2 final attempts to finish the quarter with the Cards lead 40-35.  Cuse finish the half on a 6-0 run over 1:11 span of time. 

HALF 40-35 Cards 

End of 3Q 21-19 Cuse 

FG %
8-14 57% Cards
8-12 67% Cuse
Reb. 4-8 Cuse 
3-pt %
1-5 20% Cards
4-6 67% Cuse

                                                                           Photo: Jared Anderson

Kianna Smith opened the half with a 3-pointer but two UofL turnovers allowed Syracuse to pull it within 4.  The Cards offense went on another cold streak until Cochran scores on back to back baskets makes it 47-42 before the media time-out with 5 min in quarter.  Dixon and Engstler go for back to back baskets underneath to make it 53-46.  But Syracuse was not going away... in fact, they turned it up.  They went on a run of their own to make it 53-51 before K.Smith slashed to the bucket for jumper to make it 55-51.  A 'Cuse 3-pointer would pull the Orange to within one, 55-54.  HVL missed the 3 point attempt and Cuse drives for the go ahead layup 56-55. 

Tensions grew as Engstler blocked a 3 point attempt and gets fouled, making both attempts to take the lead back for the Cards, 57-56.  Kianna Smith lead the quarter for the Cards with 7 pts going 3-6 from the field, Hyman leading the charge for the Cuse having a 9 point quarter of her own going 4-5 from the field.

End of 4Q  25-15 Cards 

FG %
8-16 50% Cards
6-14 42.9% Cuse
Reb. 8 All 
3-pt %
4-4 100% Cards
 1-3 33.3% Cuse

 It was sloppy to open the quarter but the Cards would not be intimidated.   Kianna Smith  hit the 3, her third of the night to push it to 62-58.  Both squads trade turnovers as Engstler attempted the pass to Olivia but it went right off her fingertips and out of bounds.   By this point, Cuse finds a way to get to line again, now 11-14 FT attempts compared to the Cards' 4-5 attempts.  With 8 min left in game,  the Orange ties it up 62 all on a fade away jumper while Cochran airballs it at other end.  The Cards again went scoreless for another 2:45 stretch with just 6 min left in the game.

Kianna Smith again comes in clutch with her second 3 pointer of the quarter.  HVL gets her 2nd 3 pointer of the game and the Cards are up 68-64 with 5 min left in the game.  The Cards dominated points in the paint 38-18 by this point in the game.  HVL does 4th quarter HVL things and drives to the basket to push it 70-66 in favor of UofL.  The Cards defense forces shot clock violation with 3:45 left in game but then commits a shock clock violation of their own when HVL couldn't connect.   Luckily, UofL gets the ball back when Syracuse cant inbound correctly and that's when Walz breaks out the dry erase board with 3:10 left.  Kasa comes out and takes the charge, HVL dishes it to Kasa underneath to make it 79-68, just like Walz drew it up, I am sure!  But a three pointer by Syracuse's Carr with 45 second left make you think there's a chance..?  Her basket made it 79-71 Cards but former Orange forward and regular three point threat, Emily Engstler responds with one of her own to make it 82-71 with 35 seconds left.   UofL finished the game on a 22-9 run to seal the victory at home.



Louisville AT Boston College
Sunday, January 16th at 12 p.m. 

Nightmare on Main Street avoided
thanks to Hailey and Kianna


FREE THROWS --  The Cards were losing the battle at the free throw line 4-5 compared to Cuse' 11-14 attempts early in the 4th quarter before the Cards went 5-5 to finish out the game 9-10 overall.  It always amazes me how the whistle seems to disappear when a team is operating off of a short roster.  The Cuse didn't experience foul trouble in this one, Cards were successful when they got to the line.  CAPITAL F

REBOUNDING --  The Cards and Cuse matched for 31 rebounds each.  UofL was outrebounded 22-20 on the defensive glass, behind the effort of Engstler's 8 boards.   It worked out for the Cards this time but I'm afraid of future matchup issues if the Cards cannot get more scoring opportunities than their opponents.  lower case r

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- Louisville forced 20 turnovers, including 11 steals. 24 points came off of turnovers.  Engstler received a technical after committing a personal foul which gave Syracuse 3 free points and the ball and allowed the Orange to make it close before halftime.  Word on the Cardinal Couple street is that she was also pretty emotional while resting on the bench. CAPITAL E 

DEFENSE -- Syracuse tied it up 62 all in the 4th quarter before Walz put the starters back in.  Kianna Smith and HVL both hit 3 pointers to put the Cards ahead for good but this was a scary match for the #2 Cards pretty much the whole way.   The team could be coming off of COVID affects and just winded easier which allowed Cuse attempt to come back late in both halves, but we hope it was just a little rust the team was able to work through to seal the victory. lower case d 


Cardinal Couple Radio - As far as I know, we have a full house scheduled for the Cardinal Couple Saturday Radio Hour!  The gang will have much to catch up on. 



As always 

Go Cards! 


Thursday, January 13, 2022


 Louisville Hosts Syracuse

In a semi-surprising move, Louisville Women's Basketball will be playing their scheduled game tonight against Syracuse at 7:00 p.m. The Cards are back after a one-game pause from a COVID-19 outbreak.

You can catch this game online on ACC Network Extra and it is rumored our favorite attack Yorkie, Jess Laemmle, will be on the call tonight. Let's hope those rumors are true! You can also tune into 790-AM WKRD to hear Nick Curran and AJ give you the most brilliant basketball radio call in these 50 states.

What we currently don't know is everyone available for the game. It's a long shot to see the full roster on the bench and active for the game in such a quick turnaround. We also don't know which players will be on limited minutes as they are still on the recovery process.

We don't know too much about Syracuse either. With a roster that's made up of mostly new faces for the Orange and a brand new coach, this is a much different team than we've seen in the past. The Orange are 8-7 on the year and 1-4 in conference play. They dropped 116 on Central Connecticut State and have won five games by 30 or more points as well as beating a ranked Ohio State team by six. They also have some really bad losses with four losses being by 20 or more points. Inconsistency has been their theme.

Syracuse has a strong offense, averaging 76.1 points per game, second in the ACC. They also rank last in the conference in points allowed per game at 69.0. They average a lot of steals (10.9), shoot well from three (8.2 made three-pointers per game), and have been fantastic from the free throw line (78.6 percent).

The Orange have four players averaging double figures in scoring. Teisha Hyman (14.8) and Chrislyn Carr (14.2) have been the top two scorers. Seven different players average 3.0 rebounds per game or better. Their assist-turnover ratio is almost 1.0 exactly.

It's hard to say how this game will go due to the fact of uncertainty on who is available for the Cards as well as the up-and-down season Syracuse has had.

Louisville's defense has been incredible this year and I expect will be the difference maker. The Cards have almost two starting lineups worth of players who can step in on a moments notice on defense and be fine.

Offensively, Louisville has still being trying to find themselves. We've seen many different players step up with hot shooting nights including Emily Engstler, Hailey Van Lith, Kianna Smith, and Payton Verhulst. Finding fast break opportunities from a strong defense will help the Cards get a rhythm going on offense.

If you choose to avoid going to the game due to your own COVID-19 concerns- numbers have skyrocketed since the holidays- we certainly understand and won't blame you. If you do choose to go, although masks are not required, I highly recommend wearing one. It's not just members of team that have been dealing with COVID-19 situations. Multiple members of the media/photographers and several spirit squad members have been dealing with issues too.

Let's see what happens at tonight's game and hope for a win!

Hailey Van Lith

The NIL regulations have afforded student-athletes great opportunities. Hailey Van Lith is one of those student-athletes. She is the first Louisville player ever to be able to sell and profit off her name on a Louisville jersey while being an active student.

HVL has her #10 jerseys for sale in a partnership with Retro Brand. At $135.00 for the hand-stitched numbered jerseys, it's a bit out of my price range, but to cover the Louisville Cardinals copyright, the price has to be high. She does have some t-shirts out there too for a much cheaper price.

Whether you plan to buy HVL's shirts/jerseys or not, it's cool to see this step taken for student-athletes to be able to take control of their own lives.


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

On playing, rescheduling, postponing and waiting -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


With the word out (from multiple sources) that Louisville women's basketball will probably practice Wednesday and play Syracuse Thursday at the KFC YUM! Center, one has to speculate that the squad's "dance with Omicron" wasn't at severe as some programs and people have experienced with the Corona virus. At least Jeff Walz hasn't had to become a part-time communication specialist this season -- calling coaches to discuss the possibilities of games in a 48 hour window on days WBB doesn't usually play.

At least for now. 

As far as what the remainder of the season brings, your guess is as good as mine. One has to wonder if a sizable crowd will show for hosting Syracuse, given that that infection numbers seem to be spiking rapidly over the past few days and schools and such are reverting to stay at home classes, work and such. It'l be interesting to see if we'll once again get a mandate of limiting attendance to sporting events. And, how many get sick after the big attendance at the college football National Championship Monday night in Indy? . 

Jared will have more on how Syracuse has fared this season. During a cursory look at them, they strike me as a team of mystery. They put a 40-point beating on Clemson but lost to UNC by 36. They knocked off Ohio State but lost to Buffalo.

I don't envy new head coach Vonn Read in his role of having to come in and clean up and try to rebuild the mess that we saw unfold up there when Quentn Hillsman was dismissed. It seems just about every other ACC school ended up with someone out of the transfer portal from Syracuse...that they are 6-7 this season mirrors the ups and downs of their season. I tease about herding kittens here at Cardinal Couple from time to time, but Read is trying to gather up loose Oranges on a downhill slope.

If Omicron continues to spread like wildfire, will we see a return to conditions -- where crowds are diminished and mandatory masking is put into play? It may not be a bad idea. When one out of every four people are testing positive...and there's no guarantee that your shots, type of mask you wear and booster are going to protect makes for nervous times in crowds. 

But, they're still playing and scheduling games and we'll report on the joy and excitement they bring. Three days a week for contests as we approch Feburary in the ACC may come to fruition if more schools go on pause.  

I was asked "what constitutes a situation where a team can't play, in regards to personnel" recently and from what I've found, a school must have seven players who are able to play and one member of the coaching staff available. A look at the 'Cuse box score against Duke shows that they had seven play against Duke, although one player played just one minute.



So, how will the Cards WBB squad look after a week off? Will it be a game where Walz will have the luxury of going deep into the bench? Or will we get a news break that Syracuse has gone into COVID pause and there won't be a game at all?

It's just beginning to get interesting for the #2 or #3 team in the nation (depending on which ranking serving you believe)  If 13-1 wasn't exciting enough for you, hang on...there are plenty of challenges ahead and not all of then are from opponents. 


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

AD Honor Roll -- Miscellaneous -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

 Athletic Director Honor Roll

We love to report on all the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports, including the off-the-field accolades. Well, especially the off-the-field accolades. There is much more to a student-athlete and their life than playing sports.

In April 2020, the NCAA released a study that there are over 480,000 student-athletes at the various levels of DI, DII, DIII, etc, and as one of their slogans says, "A majority of student-athletes will go pro in something other than sports."

Succeeding after college is important and part of that begins with passing classes and graduating. In the fall 2021 semester, 511 UofL student-athletes were named to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll. The only qualification is to have a 3.0 or better for the semester. As a whole, UofL student-athletes averaged a 3.359 collective GPA for the fall of 2021.

At a team GPA of 3.760 for the fall of 2021, UofL Field Hockey led all teams.


Although we like to report the joyous side of things, sometimes we need to call out the negative, including Louisville's interim president Lori Gonzalez. The Courier-Journal released a report yesterday focusing on Dr. Gonzalez threatening to discipline faculty and staff for trying to hold online classes and sessions if they're scheduled to meet in person.

In a time when sports are going on COVID-19 pause, JCPS has transitioned to online temporarily, and multiple universities in the state of Kentucky have postponed the start of the semester or transitioned to online temporarily, why does it make sense to threaten your employees for wanting to take of their own well-being and the well-being of the students?

Many UofL community folks are stuck in quarantine due to a positive test or from contact tracing. It's not exactly easy to stay caught up with schoolwork and assignments when you physically can't be in class.

Many faculty and staff have already pushed back with multiple department chairs making statements that they will support their employees and go against the University's wishes, even if it results in disciplinary action.

Like hellooooo, COVID-19 is far from over. We all want it to be over, but it's not and cases continue to grow on a daily basis. We have to take precautions to protect people.

But let's move onto something on the brighter side. I typically just share UofL sports photos on here, but my photography skills go well beyond that. Occasionally, I do work with some UofL student-athletes on personal photoshoot work, often times when graduation season rolls around, but some of them also want other photo work done. Over the weekend, I got to work with another UofL student-athlete. I'll share a couple photos below and let you guess who it is before telling you.

Did you guess her name right? Here's some hints: her team recently won another ACC title and advanced to the Final Four. She's a defensive specialist. She hails from Assumption High School. If you give up, here's the answer: Alexa Hendricks. Hendricks, who is #4 for UofL Volleyball, just finished her junior season with the Cards.

Our wonderful athletes really do clean up nice off the field/court/pitch and it's nice to see them and interact with them in a setting outside of NCAA competition.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Monday, January 10, 2022

While We Are Away...Sunday ACC Scores -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


A Couple of Surprises in Sunday ACC WBB

With Louisville (and Notre Dame) off, sidelined by COVID protocols, and Pitt with the "bye" day (and probably thankful for it) there were six ACC WBB games on Sunday. Let's have a look at the going-ons and results 


Wake Forest traveled to Florida State, with a previous win over the Noles in Winston-Salem this season in the "Battle of the Spear" Round II. We're referring to, on the Demon Deacon's side, Jewel Spear and on FSU's side, the weapon Chief Osceola's carries. Would the Noles close late to make a game of it, like they did in Winston-Salem?

No need for that late-game heroics nonsense. FSU threw down the gauntlet early and never let up on Jen Hoover's Deacs, winning 87-46. a 44-28 halftime Noles lead exploded with FSU winning the third quarter 24-6 and probably scalping the Demon Deacon's hat in the process. Jewel Spear had 10 points on 4-15 shooting and she looked the best of all the Deacons. FSU played 12, they all scored and Chief Osceola and Renegade probably would have gotten on the board if they had gotten in. Jen Hoover has to be leaving Tallahassee wondering what hit her. 

Virginia Tech went to Chapel Hill as one of three still undefeated ACC schools. North Carolina was trying to get it back together after suffering their first loss of the year the game -- to NC State. Should be a good one, right?  Someone forgot to tell the Hokies to make a game of it . North Carolina shut down the rest of the Hokies beside Elizabeth Kitley and roared to a 35-17 halftime lead over the hapless Hokies. It was the Deja Kelly show for UNC with 15 points and Eva Hodgson came off the TarHeels bench to add 19. 

Surprising that UNC had so little trouble with a VT squad that got very little out their other star Aisha Sheppard (two points). Sheppard did have to be assisted off the floor late in the contest and we hope she's OK. Kenny Brooks might be wondering what in the heck is up with achools travelling to Florida on Sunday. How would it turnout for NC State, who traveled to Miami?


Miami was without a Sunday foe after Louisville went on COVID protocol. North Carolina was without an opponent after Notre Dame went on COVID protocol. You had to wonder how long it would take the ACC WBB moguls to put 1 and 1 together and get 2....but they succeeded in matching up the Wolfpack and the Hurricanes and even moved the game to 2 p.m. to give Ms. Wuf a little extra travelling time. NC State did not run away with this one, it was 35-32 at halftime and "Big Smile" Elissa Cunane wasn't doing much grinning for Wes Moore's bunch of canines. 

Still a game after three quarters, with NC State up just 56-51, but tired legs and lack of games lately caught up with Katie Meyer and her Ibuses and NC State got the 76-64 win. Cunane ended with 19, but what about Rutgers transfer Diamond Johnson for NC State with 16 and 4 steals? Kelsey Marshall is "all that" for Miami and ended with 17. 


Georgia Tech
 hosted winless-in-conference Virginia, and to make matters worse foe the Cavaliers, they were without three starters. I figured blowout and that's what happened, a 67-31 win for Nell Fortner's Bees. At least UVA made a game of it for a half...trailing just 14-13 after the first quarter and still kinda close at 26-19 at halftime. 

UVA could muster only 12 second half points, though and  Cubaj and Hermosa were a powerful 1-2 punch for GT. Tech only had seven players available, like they did against Louisville last Sunday, but they had a much better run of success and sent the Cavs home still winless in ACC play. 

Duke headed to Syracuse to see if they could hang a loss on the Orange and did so 74-65. One had to figure Syracuse would try and defend the home venue as best they could and they did win the first quarter 18-17. A rough outing for former Card Elizabeth Balogun, with four fouls and just one point in 19 minutes. 

Syracuse did win the boards battle, if that counts for anything, 47-35. They also shot a chilly 31.9% from the floor, while Duke fared much better at 45/3%. The Orange played just seven players (and one of them just one minute) so the COVID protocols continue to plague the squad. It's a Syracuse program on the rebuild obviously after just about everyone but Otto the Orange transferred out during the Q debacle.


Boston College is probably very glad Cameron Swartz is on the Eagles roster. And, she probably wouldn't mind playing the rest of the season in Clemson's Littlejohn Arena. Swartz went for 39 points against the Tigers in a 80-74 BC win. The Colorado transfer probably is glad she headed east also

BC needed them all. I didn't see this one actually going to be this close, but, it appears the Tigers are still fighting for Amanda Butler. A 40-31 lead for the Eagles at the half in this one, Clemson did get a huge game from Amari Robinson with 25. 

0-4 now in the ACC for Clemson and three other schools are winless also in conference -- Miami, Virginia and Pitt

We do not know when Louisville will return to action, but, as of now, they are one of undefeated-in-conference play, along with NC State. 


Sunday, January 9, 2022


Not a Gameday

As has been covered here in Cardinal Couple already, UofL Women's Basketball has entered a Covid pause, so there will be no gameday today.  The Cards were slated to play Miami, in Miami, but Covid spread within the program put a stop to that.

Incidentally, Notre Dame was set to play NC State today and Notre Dame has also started a Covid pause.  As a result, NC State will travel to Miami and play Miami instead.  Well done by the ACC to at get a game set up for NC State and Miami so that those two teams are not, or are at least only minimally, impacted by these situations.

With these pauses and rescheduling of games, it does make one wonder what that will do with the previously scheduled Miami vs NC State game and how it will otherwise affect scheduling later on.  I was not familiar with the Wolfpack's or Hurricane's scheduling before now, but apparently they were slated to play on January 27th and that game is the one that is moved to today.  That will leave an open Thursday for those two teams, but there are still questions about when will games be scheduled to make up the lost games for UofL and Notre Dame.  I don't envy the ACC in having to juggle dates like this.

WBB Stats Digging

So, while we've got a break, let's take a bit of a dig through the Louisville stats so far this season.

Starting with the basics, if you had asked me who I thought was the scoring leader for the Cards this year, I would've said Emily Engstler.  Not so, in fact, she's third behind Kianna Smith and Hailey Van Lith.  And here I was commenting about how HVL made changes to her shooting stroke in the off-season and really hadn't gotten back to form, yet.  The three are neck and neck, though, 157 for Smith, 155 for HVL, and 149 for Engstler.

Most rebounds?  Olivia Cochran, right?  Nope, Emily Engstler leads in this category, and by a sizable margin.  118 to 70.  A cohort comes in all really close after that, with Liz Dixon, Kianna Smith, Chelsie Hall, Mykasa Robinson, and Hailey Van Lith pulling down between 52 and 46 rebounds.  Give Cochran some credit on the offensive boards specifically, though.  She's gotten 35 second chances for the Cards vs 29 for Engstler.

With the Cards stout offense, how about the steals category?  Yeah, Engstler, I don't think there was much doubt there, again by a significant margin, 39 with Chelsie Hall in second with 22.

We just came out of a giving season with Christmas, so who's the most generous?  Chelsie Hall takes the top spot in the assist category, but not by much, here.  Hall's 32 are followed by Kianna Smith's 30, and Mykasa Robinson's 28.

How about some offense?  Most 3 pointers probably won't surprise too many people with Kianna Smith dropping 27 from range.  Second place may surprise some though, Emily Engstler has 17.  This may be where HVL still needs to get her shooting form put back together with only 11, and about halfway down the list on the team for 3pt shooting percentage.

Playing around with the stats a bit more, one thing I did notice that I want to bring out, here.  Payton Verhulst, may not be getting the playing time she deserves.  She has played 167 minutes, while HVL tops this category at 383, with Kianna Smith at 367.  But when you sort the stats by just about any other category, Verhulst jumps up the list (unfortunately that also includes for personal fouls and turnovers).  But in field goals made, 3pt shots made, free throws made, total points, rebounds (both offensive and defensive as well as total), assists, steals, and rebounds Payton has out-stat'ed her playing time.  You can't say she's only seen the court against "bunny" teams as a reason that her stats are so much better than minutes played as she's played in 13 of the 14 games the Cards have played this year.  Maybe she should be playing more minutes?

Some interesting data to be found in the stats, got any that you think are intriguing?

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Jared orders four more sloppy Joe's 

After a couple of weeks off due to holiday scheduling, the crew was back at it again.  We had a late scratch as Case has been having Internet outages at his place, so he wasn't able to join the call, but Jared, Paulie, and myself got on the line to record the first CCRHP of 2022.

Lots of basketball talk, as you would expect, including obviously the announced Covid pause and some discussion of the impacts that will have.  We also recapped the Pitt and Georgia Tech games.  And finally we talked a little bit about Elle Glock, a transfer from USC (Southern California) joining the Cards volleyball squad for the sprint semester and beyond.

Jeff interviewing a potential new CCRHP panel guest/

At the moment the recording is only available on Youtube as Case does the light editing and addition to the podcast feeds, which has been disrupted by his Internet access troubles.  So you can check out the Youtube stream at: