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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cards "Mo" prevails...Louisville 56 - Rutgers 45

REID HAS 17 in 11 point

In a game that could have been pre-billed as the 'battle of Mo'...Louisville's Monique Reid scored 12 second half points and Louisville went on an improbable but exciting ten minute 17-0 run late in the second half to defeat Rutgers in the KFC YUM Center Saturday night before 15061 fans.

Monique Oliver, talented post for C.Vivian Stringer's Rutgers squad, was held to eight points...two in the final twenty minutes of play. Stringer is pictured here, dejectedly leaving after the loss.

Louisville trailed 42-39 with 11:21 to go in the game, following an April Sykes 3 pointer. The Scarlet Knights would not score again until 1:33 remained in the contest...another Sykes three that pulled Rutgers to the final margin of 56-45. The ball simply wouldn't go through the net for they missed seven shots in the almost ten minute span...six of them 3 point attempts. They also committed five turnovers in that stretch.

It was the 3 ball that had Rutgers rolling and in the lead prior to that. Using a three from Erica Wheeler to take an early lead...the Scarlet Knights went a torrid 11-17 from the field in the first twenty minutes (64.7%) and led by as many as seven during the first half before a 11-4 Louisville run gave the Cards a 19-18 lead with 6:20 in the first half. The half found the Cards down by two...Shoni Schimmel missing two three point attempts in the final five seconds when she probably could have gone to the hoop for a layup. April Sykes torched the Cardinal defense for 12 first half points...and Louisville produced an anemic 26.9% (7-26) shooting...lucky to be down by only two at the intermission. Tia Gibbs led the Cards with eight first half points.

At halftime, Jeff Walz preached defensive intensity and promised his squad that if they turned up the pressure...56 points would be enough to win the game. He ought to play the lottery tonight...the Cards finished with 56 exactly and Louisville forced Rutgers into 13 second half turnovers and out rebounded the Scarlet Knights by three.

The 17-0 run was a deceptive thing of beauty. Following Sykes's three, Antonita Slaughter returned the favor to tie the score at 42 all. Reid put the Cards ahead to stay on a layup with a Shoni Schimmel assist. Becky Burke canned a three on the next Cards possession and a Rutgers turnover provided Monique Reid a layup that made it 47-42. Another Rutgers turnover gave Reid another layup and a deep Scmimmel three had the Lady Cards up 52-42 with six minutes to go. That stretch may well have been the loudest the KFC YUM Center has been for a womens' game this year. Louisville got a layup from Keshia Hines and a Burke jumper over the next four minutes to hold a 14 point lead before Sykes's three broke the spell.

Things got a little ugly with 33 seconds to go when Sykes shoved Reid to the floor following a missed Rutgers 3 point attempt. Cardinal teammates restrained Reid from retaliating and the game ended with a half court Schimmel three falling short at the buzzer.

Reid was comical about the incident after the game.

"Yeah, she (Sykes) shoved me down for no reason and I was cool about it...but I had to go after her to show her I'm not a punk...but Shoni and Nita were stopping me...laughing...reminding me we were up by eleven."

Reid led the Cards with 17 points and a hard fought six rebounds in 36 minutes of play. Schimmel added 12 with five boards and Tia Gibbs finished with eight points and seven rebounds during 38 minutes on the court. Sykes led all scorers with 20 points...Erica Wheeler drilled three 3 balls for her nine points.

The win pushes Louisville to 14-8 and 5-3 in the BIG EAST. Rutgers takes their second straight BIG EAST loss and falls to 12-8, 5-2. Louisville returns to action Tuesday Night when Georgetown comes to the YUM for a 7 p.m. tip off.

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