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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Louisville wins BIG EAST opener at Cincinnati by five...64-59


-Burke's free throws key in Lady Cards win at U.C.

-Lola named 3rd team All-American by AVCA

-Sandra Walker's review

The University of Louisville got a bank-in three from Shoni Schimmel with 1:30 left in the game to take a 58-55 lead and Becky Burke went 4-4 from the foul line in the final 25 seconds to preserve a win for Louisville WBB against the Bearcats tonight in Cincinnati.

"It's good to get the win and I'm happy about the way we battled in the final five minutes...but we didn't have the effort you have to play with to win on the road in the BIG EAST." -Louisville coach Jeff Walz.

STARING LINEUP: Vails, Taylor, Smith, Shoni and Burke

The Cards opened the game with a 2-0 lead on a designed play where center Sherrone Vails tipped the opening tipoff to Shoni Schimmel...who fired a pass to streaking Becky Burke for the first score. The Lady Cards would not see the lead again until a Jude Schimmel layup to make it 14-13 with 8:24 left in the first half. UC's Tiffany Turner was doing the work inside against the Cards defense and Louisville was struggling offensively with Shoni Schimmel being bottled up by the UC defense pressure.  It wasn't until the Cards went on a 10-0 run over seven minutes - to turn a 11-8 deficit into a 18-13 lead when Burke hit a jumper with just over five minutes remaining in the first twenty - that the Cards bore any resemblance to the #13 team in the nation.

UC would battle back, though, and chip away at the Lady Cards advantage, cutting it to 23-22 after the first three pointer of the Kayla Cook.

It was a foreshadowing of things to come.

Louisville did score the final three points of the half to take a 26-22 lead into the locker room...but the Cards were anything but convincing. Louisville was having trouble stopping UC penetration in the paint, missing horribly from three point range (0-8) and unable to getting rolling on offensive sets due to the UC efforts on Shoni.

Bria Smith led the Cards with seven first half points, Burke with six, and Shawnta Dyer had four. Monique Reid had three and Shoni, Jude and Sara Hammond had two each. Walz played all twelve Lady Cards in the first half...looking for answers.

Shoni had three of the four Cards 3-pointers in the win.
Reid and Dyer replaced Taylor and Vails as starters in the second half...but Cincinnati opened the second half with the first two buckets before the Cards scored to regain the lead at 28-26 on a Cierra Warren jumper. Warren had replaced Reid at the 19:29 mark when she called knocked out of bounds, called for a turnover and injured her leg on the play. Warren's shot spurred a 7-2 Lady Cards run that had them ahead 33-28 with 15:37 to go. The success was short-lived, though.

UC began finding the range from beyond the arc and responded with a 8-0 run to grab a 36-33 lead with 14:31 left. Shoni tied it with the Cards first three of the game...but UC took off on a 7-0 run after that and had the Cards on the ropes at 43-36 after a Kayla Cook three at the 12:34 mark.

The threes kept falling for the Bearcats and the Cards wre trying to chip away at the lead. Shoni's five straight points tied it at 46-46 with 8:20 left. Louisville was down 53-49 after Bjonee Reaves knocked down the Bearcats sixth three of the half with just over four minutes remaining. Shoni had four fouls and the Cards were with their back to the wall again.

Shawnta Dyer played well tonight
Louisville persisted, though, and went on a 9-2 run (where four different Lady Cards scored) to take a 58-55 lead with 1:30 to go when Shoni banked in a three attempt to give Louisville their first lead since the 14:41 mark. A Shawnta Dyer layup made it 60-57 with 38 seconds left...setting up Burke's clutch free-throw shooting to preserve the victory. Final 64-59. Cards.

This one wasn't pretty. Louisville managed to shut down UC in the second half inside...but couldn't contain the hot "beyond the arc" efforts from the Bearcats.

Still, the Cards did manage to outscore UC in the final four minutes 15-6. 

About 900 were in attendance, according to reports. We'll hopefully hear from CARDINAL COUPLE contributing writer Sandra Walker today, who was in attendance and will share her observations.

Shoni led the Lady Cards with 16 points and Burke added 14. Smith reached double figures with 12. Dyer had seven...Warren, Hammond and Jude had four each and Reid finished with three. 

Reid's knee was examined during the second half and no major injuries were discovered...she was able to return to the bench for the final minute of the game. An MRI will be performed tomorrow in Louisville. The play she injured it one was a play where she was forced out of bounds from a UC PLAYER'S HARD BUMP...but the referees called Mo for travelling instead.  

Harper, Taylor, Slaughter and Vails played but did not score.

Cincy had four in double figures...led by Reaves game high 18. Cook nailed three second half threes and Reaves had two. UC's Dayeesha Hollins left the game with a separated shoulder midway through the second half.

Louisville went 23-60 from the floor for 38%...UC shot 21-49 for 43%. The Cards won the rebounding battle 38-32 and forced UC into 23 turnovers while committing 17 of their own. Louisville shot 14-19 from the charity stripe...UC 10-14. The Bearcats made seven of the 24 three pointers...the Cards four of 18.

"We've got to learn to play within our offense. Shoni was disappointing in the first half but came back to lead us to the win. Becky wanted the ball at the end of the game and I was proud of her and her free throws at the end. I thought Shawnta Dyer gave us a great effort tonight." - Jeff Walz.

Louisville travels to Portland, Oregon next to play the Portland University Pilots. Game is Saturday, 2 p.m. West Coast time and will be broadcast on 101.7 FM WKRD only for radio (the men's team will be on 790 AM).

Regular reader Jeff S. may have a solution for those of us who don't pick up 101.7 very well (about 99% of the listeners.) Portland shows games live with no user fee. The link is


Congratulations to...Cardinal Volleyballer Lola Arslanbekova, who was named to the AVCA All-American 3rd Team. The junior was also 2011 BIG EAST Player of the Year. The awards were handed out in San Antonio on Dec 16th. 

(Sandy Walker is a contributing writer for CARDINAL COUPLE. She attended last night's game in Cincinnati. Here is her report.)

Last night I was fortunate to be a part of a small but very vocal group of UofL fans.

I am always impressed to see how "basketball knowledgeable" UofL's road warriors are. I have attended games where the opposing teams supporters were almost rabid in their behavior but rarely owing a higher basketball I.Q. than the Louisville fans.

Last night's travelling supporters were no different and I was glad to be there with them. One fan support issue that I do see missing is any regular efforts to pre-organize group travel to any away games. A fairly late notice of buses available to the UK game produced five busloads of Cardinal fans. Perhaps an organized, early in the season, promotion for traveling to specific games would result in a starting point for an even larger number of away fans supporting our teams. Announcements a few days before an away game does not allow for work or financial arrangements to be made. This should be a pre-season promotion. It may result in one rented mini-van of additional fans, a large caravan of personal vehicles or could grow into a huge, game changing crowd. Just a thought. Ideas, anyone?

Paul's article gave a great read of how the game went down...including the update on who started tonight's game. I'm sure readers appreciate this information. Again, last night...the players on the floor at any one time continued to look like a game of musical chairs. They move in and out until the music stops...and then you look to see what combination is on the floor at the particular moment.

By this time of the season one would think it important for a regular starting lineup and established playing group to be on the floor at any one time. So far, that combination of players does not appear to have been established by Coach Walz or his assistants. Instead, we seem to see substitutions made upon each and every error made by a player.

I would think that at some time...players need the opportunity to "play through" an error and have the knowledge that they would be able to stay on the floor. (You don't put your five iron away for the rest of the round if you hit one bad shot with it.).

I realize that we are not the coaches, but only fans, still...a common thread of fan chatter includes unrest as can a group of individual players evolve into a cohesive playing unit when no one group is ever on the floor long enough to settle in together and rise as a unit.

Without a cohesive unit on the floor rather than five talented and unique individuals - games like last night's against non-ranked but cohesive units are going to be challenges. I fear this is going to be a terribly long season if the cohesion isn't found before the Georgetown's DePaul's, Notre Dame's and Connecticut's roll around.

(Thank you, Sandy, for your take on the Lady Cards. There is an old quote out there that goes something like..."Individually we may grow..but as a unit we can grow AND prosper.")

TOMORROW, We'll take a look at the Portland Pilots...the Lady Cards next opponent and David Watson has promised us something. (What it is, we're not exactly sure...and David isn't always, either.)

Click the link below to get an intersting take on the Schimmel's from Portland Tribune sports guru Stephen Alexander.




  1. With Harper playing as many minutes as Reid, and the posts playing a combined 27 minutes, I guess the result - squeaking by a cellar-dweller - is about what you'd expect.
    --PDX Phil

  2. Hard fought win on the road in the BIG EAST...Walz will take it, but if this is any indication of how BIG EAST play is going to go...Cardinal fans may not have any fingernails left by March.

  3. Still waiting for this team to gel. They have got to get better at halfcourt offense, halfcourt defense, rebounding, and especially the ability to "bring it" for each and every opponent. Got to remind myself that this isn't exactly last years team, no Tia, no C. Tay, and Mo has missed a lot of time, not easy to replace those players, but as Coach Walz says, the next player in line has to step up, and I believe that someone will. I want to see how they are playing after the New Year, when they have had time to practice without making so many road trips and some time between games. Think they still have the potential to be a bona fide top ten team by season's end. GO CARDS!!!

  4. OK, the Cards won but my Bearcats gave it a good try and if we don't lose our starting point guard and best player Daysheea Hollins with a seperated shoulder in the second half we beat you.

    Good luck rest of the way. You aren't no #13 team in the country, though. More like #63.

    Carl the Destroyer

  5. Who is this guy? Really? Didn't Cincinnati lose to Marshall?

  6. LOL.Carl loves his Bearcats. And,yes...UC lost on the road to Marshall. By about the same margin we beat them by. Rut-row...


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