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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lady Cards fall short against Aggies by 18


-27 turnovers plague Cards in College Station.

-Watson weighs in on the loss.

Without Shoni Schimmel, Monique Reid and Tia Gibbs, the Lady Cards battled hard for 30 minutes against #6 Texas A&M but fell short in Tuesday night NCAA Women's basketball...losing 76-58.

Burke gets hammered by
an Aggie defender. No foul.
The Cards started poorly against the Aggies and fell behind 8-0 in the first four minutes of play before Bria Smith connected on two free throws. That started a 7-0 Cardinal run that made it 8-7 at the 14:43 mark, when Cierra Warren followed up a missed shot for a basket. In a first half full of runs, the Aggies then went on a 10-2 streak and led 18-9 with 11:09 remaining in the first half.

Louisville battled back and Warren sank two free throws with 9:01 left to cut the A&M lead to 18-14. The Aggies regrouped and ran off nine straight points on Louisville to hold a 27-14 lead with less than five minutes remaining. Becky Burke scored the Cards next five points to cut it to ten and Louisville outscored the Aggies 9-4 over the final 3:42 of the first half to keep it close at halftime...Louisville down 33-25.

Cardinal freshmen had a OK outing
against A&M
Louisiville was getting production from Warren inside with eight first half points and from Smith at guard with six points but had 13 first half turnovers and was shooting only 7/24 from the field.

Texas A&M got immediate production from center Kelsey Bone to start the second half and Bria Smith took over for the Cards offensively. Louisville stayed close for the first seven minutes of second half action....down by only nine with 13:09 to go at 47-38.

The Aggies took control from that point, though...blasting the Cards for 11 straight points and holding a 58-38 advantage with less than ten minutes remaining. Louisville would cut that to 15 with 8:09 left after a Burke basket, but A&M found their offense again and Cardinal turnovers helped the Aggies push out to a 73-49 advantage with under four minutes remaining. The Cards did outscore Aggie reserves 9-3 to finish ...but it was not enough to get the Cards any closer than 18.

Bria Smith led Louisville with 20 points and seven rebounds, one of three Cardinals that finished in double figures. Becky Burke tallied 13 and Cierra Warren ended with 12. Only six Cardinals scored in the contest...Shawnta Dyer adding five points, same as Jude Schimmel and Antonita Slaughter connected on a three late for her only points.

The Aggies got a strong second half from center Kelsey Bone and she led A&M with 15 points and nine grabs. Sydney Carter finished with 14 and Tyra White added 13. 

Louisville greatly missed the point guard expertise of Shoni Schimmel and steady inside scoring of Monique Reid. Tia Gibbs lockdown defensive would have been great to have against the A&M guards. The Lady Cards were schooled on the offensive boards by the taller Aggies and suffered from beyond the stripe with 4 of 15 three point shooting.

Quick turnaround for Walz's kids...Thursday night in Richmond, KY against EKU. Shoni back at the point, hopefully...Mo back inside. Tia Gibbs goes in for an MRI on her shoulder tomorrow...doubtful for the Colonels game because of pain and limited movement.

Learning experience aside, the Cards got a great effort from Smith and some good point play from Jude Schimmel...but Bone ruled Warren in the second half inside and Sara Hammond had a case of freshman nerves today. It's early in the season and once all the pieces of the puzzle are back on the table, the Cards will improve greatly off today's effort...a heroic, but over matched effort against a deep and talented A&M team.

Things we liked about the game:

-Bria Smith's aggressiveness and ability to create, drive and score.

-Flashes of brilliance from Jude Schimmel at the point.

-Cierra's strong first half inside.

-Becky Burke drilling a few threes.

Things that need improvement:

-Cut down on turnovers. 27 is unacceptable, no matter who you are playing or who is missing out of your lineup.

-Scoring droughts. Two runs by A&M accounted for a 20-0 scoring drought. Louisville lost by 18. You do the math.

-Keeping the opponent off their offensive boards. Way too many easy put backs and second chances for scores by A&M against the Cards yesterday.

Most upsetting point of the evening:

-When ESPN U lost coverage for most of the first half because of "technical difficulties". Sent us scrambling for the radio. Was yelling four-letter words at the four-letter network.


(With regular writers Jenny O'Bryan and Sandra Walker unavailable to provide post-game analysis...we turn to CARDINAL COUPLE Special Correspondent David Watson for his take on the loss. You have been warned...)

(Notes while trying to figure out where ESPNU is)

I'm not going to blast or belittle the effort that Jeff Walz's Lady Cards put out yesterday against the Texas A&M Aggies. I'm just going to sue ESPN U for not giving me my money's worth.

David Watson had to
listen to part of the
A&M game on AM radio.
Yes, I finally broke down and added the network to my cable lineup. The phone guy was friendly enough. Told me he could add it IMMEDIATELY if I took about 10 or so other channels. Said he'd charge me only $2.50 (pro-rated) for this month and $10 dollars per month hereafter. And, sure enough, it was there at 3:55 p.m. when I sat down with my popcorn, beer and youngest daughter in the family den. 

I got hosed.

Missed most of the first half because of technical difficulties. Had to resort to on-line radio streaming from Cards TV. I do like the way Matt Andrews and Adrienne Johnson call a game, but I'd rather be watching it and making my own determinations.

When they finally got the gremlins out of the stratosphere and the picture returned, here's what I saw.

-Kelsey Bone (Texas A&M) is going to be a force in the BIG 12, SEC, WNBA and where-ever else she decides to play. After sitting most of the first half with foul trouble, she used her 6'4" frame to punish the Cards inside. I'm glad she transferred to A&M instead of somewhere like Providence, Marquette or Seton Hall because I care to see her no more. Dawn Staley (South Carolina head coach) lost a good one in Bone.

-Bria Smith is having a love/hate relationship with college basketball. She carried the Lady Cards in the second half, but too many turnovers and way too few assists. With coaching and the return of Shoni and Mo, she'll get much better. She's already excellent - superior is the next stop on the scale for her.

-I keep waiting for Asia Taylor to have that "breakout game". I thought I might see it yesterday. At least she didn't foul out. I'm still waiting, Asia. Like a kid waiting for Christmas. Hopefully, you'll arrive sooner.

-Sara Hammond is going to have a few of those good game/bad game swings this year. All freshmen do, unless they're named Maya Moore or Skylar Diggins. Look for her to revert back to good game status against Eastern Kentucky Thursday night.

-Sherrone Vails is another one who probably wishes yesterday was just a dream and the actual game is today. Have a nip or two before you check out her stat line from yesterday.

-Jude Schimmel is a enterprising, dauntless young lady. I'm hoping to see a lot of "Schimmel squared" on the court this year. I honestly believe she would try to take the basketball off the dribble through Times Square to the countdown ball on New Year's Eve. She just needs to keep dribbling. Holding the ball 35 feet out isn't helping anybody but the defense.

So, a loss. An expected loss. Gary Blair is a fine coach, has a great team and will do wonderful things in conference play this year. Might just get in range to try for the title again. But, I'd like to see the Lady Cards face the Aggies at full strength and in the KFC YUM! Center.

To use a golf term, I'd like a 'mulligan' for the Lady Cards on yesterday's performance.
With the regular five some out there.

(David Watson is a Special Correspondent for CARDINAL COUPLE. His views do not necessarily match those of the staff or ownership of CARDINAL COUPLE at times...but he's never a boring read...)


  1. As usual, I agree with Dr. Watson's analysis, but I do want to make a couple of comments on the question of line-ups on and positions, which is always an intriguing topic for a team with as much depth as this one has. I think we will be seeing a lot of Bria at the 2, and Jude should be the back-up point. I think the critical question, however, is at the 3, where Walz faces a decision on whether to go "small" (with any of Burke, Slaughter, and Gibbs on the floor with two other guards) or to go "big" by having any three of his six bigs (Warren, Vails, Reid, Taylor, Dyer, Hammond) on the floor together. So far Walz has shown an inclination to go small, which is consistent with what he did last season in the Gonzaga game - with Reid injured, he went with Tay and Burke instead of putting Vails in alongside Hines and Taylor. Although I think - and have publicly stated in this forum - that Walz is a great coach, I think that going small is a mistake. Against good teams, Louisville gets killed on the boards and gives up too many points in the paint when it plays 3 small / 2 big. Anyone disagree? Anyone agree and volunteer to deliver this message to Coach Walz?
    --PDX Phil
    --PDX Phil

  2. Phil.. that's why we love you, and that's why we love it when you "weigh in" with your analysis.

    Coach Walz regularly checks the site and will commnent to us on what he sees here when he feels the need to do so.

    Can't disagee with what your are saying. WE love "big" here at CARDINAL COUPLE. Let's see what transpires. Keep on sharing!

  3. He CC - Glad you are on top of this. If it's not taken care of by December, I'll have to talk to Walz personally at the UP game. I'm sure he doesn't want that to have to happen.
    --PDX Phil

  4. Deep team makes for interesting choices. Think as the season goes on we'll see more of the small 3 than the big 3, mainly for pressing purposes.

  5. When BIG EAST league play begins, the Lady Cards will need to be able to be effective in both a "big" lineup and a "small" lineup.


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