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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Short numbered Cards fall to Syracuse 64-58

Becky Burke played all forty minutes of the game today for Louisville. It appeared to be something she enjoyed as she totaled a career high 24 points in the 64-58 Louisville loss. Running mate at guard, walk-on freshman Shelby Harper was headed for forty as well but fouled out in final minute. And, there you have it. The only two guards available for Jeff Walz today in the Syracuse game.

Rachel Story? Might be serving a one game suspension for her actions in the pregame brawl at Georgetown. Problem is, she wasn't on the bench in street clothes, selling popcorn in the concourse or sitting with the Fort Knox troops in the North endzone.

Other guards in attendance at Freedom Hall today but unable to play...

-Dez Byrd (at least she was yelling loud from the bench)
-LaToya Johnson (down to one crutch now..a good thing)
-Nikki Burton (out for three weeks with a hip injury)
-Tia Gibbs (sitting out the transfer year from Vandy)
-Kayla Faulkner (leading cheers from the seats behind the bench. Hasn't been on the court in the Jeff Walz era)
-Tise Wright (OK, that's a big stretch...Tise isn't the prototypical guard)
-my wife Sonja. (Yeah, there's a little mileage on her, but she's still got a jumper)

Fact is, and I've said it before, the 'unable to play' players might give those who dress a good run for their money in a intra-squad scrimmage.

I'm tired of hearing, though, that Syracuse (or insert next opponent) used the numbers effectively and wore the Cards down today. Louisville led several times in the first and second half. They played eight players. So did Syracuse. Eight players. Theirs were just a little better than Louisville's. The Lady Cards led this game a good stretch of the first half and also until under ten left in the final half. No disgrace to lose to a 16-3 team...not when you are 10-9. Especially when Erica Morrow buries three straight jumpers beyond the arc in a row.

Scary stuff when 'Cuse head coach Quentin Hillsman dropped to the floor late in the game. Some nervous moments while he lay there and EMS and team doctors hovered over him. A EMS guy dashing back into the tunnel on the north end of Freedom hall a bit disconcerning as well. Finally, "Q" was escorted to the Orange locker room, with a look on his face that was a "WTF just happened here?" expression. He never returned to the court. They never needed him.

Louisville had a chance to win or at least tie this one late. Down by six with about a minute left, the Cards miss a running layup, pretty much uncontested. They foul, Syracuse misses the "1 and 1", the Cards drive down, hold the ball way too long before Monique Reid launches an ill advised three when all she needed to do is drive to the hoop. They weren't going to foul her. Syracuse blows another chance at the foul line...this time Reid drives to the hoop but bowls over a Syracuse defender and misses the shot. Finally, the Cards get a buzzer beater shot by Burke waved off by the officials at the end of the game.

Sometimes, it just goes like that.

Don't fret the eight or nine that will finish the season for Louisville. It's the time of the year when coaches start to whittle down their rotation to seven or eight players. Problem is, some of these probably wouldn't be the ones Walz would choose first.

Written by Paul

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