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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lady Cards fall on road to DePaul 86-61



-Cards start slow, DePaul bombs away in 25 point win.

Sometimes you produce a clunker. Remember the Lady Cards against Georgetown last year? 

 That's exactly what happened to the University of Louisville women's basketball team on the road tonight...falling 86-61 to DePaul. Except, in this one...there was no 11 point halftime lead.

For Louisville it was a case of being "the gang that couldn't shoot straight" while DePaul buried three 3-pointers in an early 11-0 run that had that Cards down 17-2 with 13:34 left in the first half.

After that, it was pretty much over...

Starters: Shoni, Vails, Smith, Burke and Taylor 

Anna Martin had 19 in the DePaul win.
The Cards missed their first seven shots and trailed 6-0 with 16:32 left in the first half. When Shoni Schimmel finally buried a jumper, it just seemed to infuriate the Blue Demons all that more.

A Jasmine Penny layup and then consecutive threes from Anna Martin, Megan Rogowski and Martin again had it 17-2 DePaul and the Cards looked lost, confused and demoralized. The McGrath Arena crowd was going crazy and they had every right to...the 2300 in attendance sounded more like 23,000.

A Cierra Warren tip-in and Bria Smith jumper got Louisville within 11...but Anna Martin scored on a layup with 10:12 remaining to make it 21-6. Louisville would battle back to within 10 after an Asia Taylor jumper made it 25-15 with 5:56 left, but DePaul took off on a 13-7 run over the next four and a half minutes, capped by another Rogowski three to lead 38-22 with 1:12 to go.

It remained that way until the first half buzzer.

Rogowski hit again...sinking a buzzer beating three to put DePaul in the locker room up by 18. The sequence leading up to her bomb saw Shelby Harper commit 3 fouls in eight seconds trying to force out-of bounds possesions and no more shots for DePaul. Katherine Harry's pass to an open Rogowski solved that, though.

"They scored again? Goof grief!"
 Harry was a rebounding machine in the first half...collecting 13 to go with six points. Anna Martin was the DePaul scoring leader with 10. Only five Blue Demons scored in the first twenty. They shot 6-13 from beyond the arc and 16-34 for a sizzling 47.1% in the first half.

Louisville was led by Cierra Warren's six points. Walz played all 11 available to him...but they could only produce 9-34 shooting for a dismal 26.5% and committed 11 turnovers. Asia Taylor had seven rebounds, Bria Smith went 1-8 from the floor. The Lady Cards were 1-5 from three point range.

Needless to say, Louisville had their work cut out for them in the final twenty minutes. Martin and Smith exchanged baskets to begin play...but DePaul took off on a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to lead 53-24 before a Becky Burke three stopped the bleeding with 16:23 left. The team traded baskets for the next couple of minutes before a brief Cardinal run cut the margin to 59-38 after a Shawnta Dyer putback at the 12:19 mark. DePaul took off again, though...enjoying leads of 65-38 and 69-40.

The Blue Demons led by 30 twice, the final time when Harry knocked down two free throws at the 4:58 mark to put it at 79-49 DePaul. Louisville managed to outscore DePaul 12-7 the rest of the way...Cierra Warren picking up eight late points on layups and free throws. Final 86-61.

DePaul placed 5 in double figures. Martin led all scorers with 19 points. Hrynko added 18, Jasmine Penny finished with 14, Harry had 14 with 20 rebounds and Rogowski totaled 11. DePaul played seven players for total of 198 minutes of a possible 200. The injury bug didn't affect them tonight. Not sure if we liked Ortiz and Hrynko launching four three point attempts when DePaul was up by 26 with three minutes left...but you play till the final buzzer. At least they missed three of them. Stay classy, DePaul.

For Louisville, Warren's late outburst co-led the Cards with 14 points. Shoni had nine second half points to finish with 14 as well. Taylor recorded a double-double with 12 points and ten boards. In the rest of the scoring...Dyer had eight, Burke five, Smith four and Vails and Slaughter two each. Jude, Hammond and Harper all played but did not score in the contest.  

The Cards shot 35.2% (25-71) for the 40 minutes...DePaul actually got better in the second half and finished at 50% (32-64). Louisville went 3-17 from 3-point land, DePaul 10-25. The Cards finished with 14 turnovers, DePaul had 26 assists to Louisville's 11 and each team had 41 rebounds. 

Asia's play one of the few bright spots
in the DePaul debacle.
Disappointing? Yes, in many ways. The runs by DePaul to start each half show that Louisville didn't come prepared to play, either at the start of the game or coming out of the locker room to begin the second half. Louisville got only 23 points out of their starting guards tonight, and 26 from Taylor and Warren combined. A case of a bad shooting night for the Cards and a incredible shooting performance from the Blue Demons. 

Not that it really means anything...but Louisville has scored 70 or less points now in nine straight games.

It's hard to get fired up when you're down by 29 with 3/4ths. of the second half to go, I guess. Tough to respond when your opponent keeps drilling threes and getting away for fast break layups. Chalk it up as a learning experience. Hot team in front of a fired-up home crowd. No one said that second half of the season would be easy...the road remains tough with a Saturday visit to WVU.

On a night where Rutgers got demolished by Notre Dame...the Cards followed suit and got out-played by an inspired DePaul squad. Welcome to the BIG EAST...

At least this one wasn't drug out over the final few minutes with free throw attempts. Gotta look on the bright side.


(Not much about this one to recall fondly, but...)

-Asia Taylor with another strong performance. Until you look at Katherine Harry's 20 grabs (17 on the defensive boards...)and 14 points. Still, three good efforts in a row for the Columbus, OH junior. A solid 12 and 10. She needed a little help tonight...though.

-Cierra Warren going to the boards and scoring. We expected she'd have a good night against the DePaul front line and she responded.


(We could spend the next two hours on this, so we'll keep it short and sweet)

-3-point defense. DePaul was averaging eight makes in 24 attempts coming into tonight's game. Louisville allowed 10-25. Tough when multiple players are sinking them...but no reason for giving them wide open looks time after time.

-Slow starts. Coming out to begin halves and getting outscored 29-4 isn't going to win you any intensity points. If DePaul can do that, imagine what UConn or Notre Dame, forget it. Never mind.

Coach Walz's postgame remarks pretty much summed it up. Louisville didn't play a lick. It was an old-fashioned butt whuppin'. (We'd describe it more as Nazi Germany invading Poland in 1939.) Coach Bruno, on the other hand, spent the last minute of his post-game presser speaking of "s'mores".

Whatever it takes, Doug.

A rough night against a good opponent. It happens. Tear off the rear-view mirror and look ahead. Add any non-sequiter you wish as well. 17-5 isn't a bad year, so far. We're pretty confident the Lady Cards can reach the 20 game win plateau before BIG EAST play. Anything after that...could be challenging. The Cards head to wild and wonderful West Virginia Saturday for another tough one. Let's hope they remember to put the defense in their luggage. It got left in the Louisville International airport terminal yesterday.

Lady Cards face a tough test at DePaul


-Cards travel to face DePaul

-Congrats to Bria Smith

The University of Louisville women's basketball team travels to Chicago to face the DePaul Blue Demons women's basketball team Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m. The game will be shown on the CBS College Sports Network. Let's look at the Doug Bruno led Blue Demons...

Anna Martin leads DePaul in
scoring. She's from Lexington.
DePaul (16-6, 4-4) comes into the contest after defeating Seton Hall 71-59 on Saturday. They received a crippling blow when they lost All-Big East performer Keisha Hampton to a knee injury before BIG EAST play got underway. In her absence, 5'9" junior guard Anna Martin (from Lexington Christian) has stepped up as the scoring threat and averages 18.6 ppg for the team. She's one of three active DePaul players that average in double figure scoring.

Brittany Hrynko, a 5'8" freshman point guard chips in 11.0 ppg. and is in charge of getting the DePaul offense in motion. She and Martin are the main three point threats for Bruno's squad. DePaul attempts 24 3-pointers per contest and connects on 8.5 a game.

Jasmine Penny contributes 10.2 points per outing and is a 6'1" soph. forward. She's the second leading rebounder on the Blue Demons team and has picked up her game in the absence of Hampton. Aggressive and always around the hoop, Penny is a solid defender, too.

Katherine Harry is the leading
rebounder for Doug Bruno.
Katherine Harry leads DePaul in rebounding with 8.9 a game and averages 8.0 ppg. She's another one who has picked up her game with Hampton gone. At 6'3", the junior post will give the Lady Cards headaches with her prowess in the paint and full-out style of play on both ends of the court.

Deanna Ortiz is the other usual starter for the Blue Demons. A 5'10" senior guard, her experience and occasional prowess from beyond the trifecta line cannot be ignored. Ortiz rings up 4.0 ppg for DePaul.

Reserves likely to log court minutes are Megan Rogowski and Kelsey Reynolds. Bruno normally doesn't go real deep in his rotation and the top seven mentioned here all see 25+ minutes per game as a rule.

Bruno is in his 28th. year of coaching the Blue Demons. One of the "good guys" in the BIG EAST, he has a dynamic court-side style and is always good for a post-game quote or quip.

DePaul has had some pretty impressive wins this season. They've knocked off Arizona State, St.John's and Georgetown. Their major losses have come at the hands of Tennessee, Providence, USF, UConn and Rutgers. They average 74.0 ppg and allow opponents 65.2. They also have a +3.1 margin of turnovers against expect UofL to cough up the pumpkin a few times against the DePaul defensive pressure.

DePaul averages 2861 for their home games...they'll probably have a few more than that in attendance tonight because of the quality of the opponent and rivalry between the two teams. DePaul leads the lifetime series 14-13 over Louisville. Louisville won the last meeting between the two schools 68-55 in the KFC YUM! Center on Feb.23rd. Monique Reid had 28 points in the win and she'll be missed tonight.

Who will step up and provide the inside scoring punch for the Cards? We'll look for Asia Taylor to continue the hot streak she's been on as of late and Cierra Warren could have a big night against the smaller Blue Demons. Shoni Schimmel's wizardry could be very effective tonight and we'll hope for a good shooting night from the "killer bees"...Bria Smith and Becky Burke. This is also a game where Sara Hammond's strength inside might play a pivotal role and we'll watch with interest on how many minutes she logs against the Blue Demons. 

We'll be back later tonight with a full recap. 


Bria Smith earned BIG EAST Freshman of the Week honors for the second time this season. The Monday announcement broke the two week streak for the award that UConn's Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was riding. Smith has been impressive in Louisville wins over Providence, Georgetown and Villanova in her last three outings and is the third leading scorer at 11.0 a game for the Lady Cards. 

She and Mosqueda-Lewis are the only two BIG EAST freshmen who have won the award multiple times this season. Mosqueda-Lewis has been awarded the honor six times this season.

(We hate to "run up" on consecutive articles here at CARDINAL if you missed Jenny's report on the Manual vs. Marion County game and her analysis of future Lady Cards Makayla Epps and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers, be sure to give it a read...)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Epps and Goodin-Rogers impress in the LIT

I found myself at Bellarmine University this past weekend to check out the girls LIT. I had yet to see our young Marion County High School recruits (2013) in action and thought it would be a great way to spend the evening. Turns out I was not the only fan of Louisville Women’s Basketball who had that idea. I saw a handful of the team there to check out their future teammates as well as Coach Walz.

I won’t bore you with the minutia of all the games I watched as I watched a lot of basketball over the course of last weekend! I saw Marion Co. match up twice. Friday night they were in the quarterfinals matched up against Christian Academy of Louisville (CAL). Upon winning that game, rather handily, their next matchup was against Mercy Academy the following morning, prior to the Louisville vs. Villanova game. I opted to skip that game, and focus my afternoon energies on the Lady Cards. Turns out the Lady Cards needed my support, and that of about 10, 679 others, to bring home the win. Of those 10,000 + fans, you could also find the Marion County team there, after their win against Mercy Academy. I digress. Having beaten Mercy, Marion County was on to the LIT Championship game against none other than Manual High School.

You may remember several weeks ago I mentioned the two teams were the topped ranked teams in the state. Manual was to travel to Marion County for an in-state match up that went down to the wire but Marion County came out on top by two.

The LIT finale was never really that close. Having watched the team on the previous night, I could tell at the start of Manual game, the Marion County kids were in trouble. They looked fatigued. What looked like a well-oiled machine the night before, clunked along, with the team hanging close to Manual most of the way, yet not able to pull ahead. Gone were the crisp passes and spot on shooting. It was not the same team from the night before. Marion County ended up losing 47-40.

I was successful in watching our two future Cardinals and getting a look at what they offer their current team, and what we might have to look forward to in the near future. I was not disappointed.

Let’s start with Kyvin Goodin-Rogers. She is listed as a 6’1” forward. She has a lean, long frame, with broad shoulders. Watching her, I found myself thinking a lot about one of my favorite Lady Cards of past, Candyce Bingham. Her shot seemed to be off on Friday night. That being said, she scored 13 on Friday, 12 Saturday morning, and 2 Saturday night. She totaled 27 points in 3 matches. But that is not what impressed me. Goodin-Rogers was all over the floor. She was at the high post assisting baskets on the perimeter and down low, screening the shooters, interrupting passes in the lane, pulling down rebounds and finding her way to the free throw line. She took long ball shots, but for the most part, they did not seem to be falling this weekend. She also had a couple of really nice moves under and around the basket. She found ways to score. More importantly, she ran the court and kept her head in the game even when her shots were not falling, contributing in a multitude of other ways on the defensive end. The athleticism and speed are apparent. Honing those moves in and around the basket will make her a threat inside and out. She was a lot of fun to watch.

Makayla Epps is listed as a 5’10” guard. She mostly ran the point, but moved in and out of the shooting guard position. First and foremost this kid can tickle the net. She can flat out shoot. Anywhere on the court, she has the confidence to put up the shot, and it often goes in. Over the course of the 3 games she scored a total of 63 points (23, 20, 20). Did I mention the kid can shoot? She has a strong, sturdy frame and was deceptively fast in the open court. What struck me most was her solid passing. On Friday night, as I mentioned above, Marion County looked like a well-oiled machine. It started with the passing. Epps’ passing was crisp and on target. There was not much time wasted on dribbling. Her ball handling was purposeful and deliberate. She moved the ball up the court and got the offense moving with perimeter, cross-court and inside passing. She can penetrate off the dribble and driving down the lane you can see the athleticism as she makes her way to the bucket. On the court, she was always talking and directing traffic. In huddles during pre and post game, Epps was always in the center squatting, with her teammates arm-in-arm in circle surrounding her. From what I could tell, she seemed to be a vocal leader, and her team appeared to look to her for that.

It was a fun couple of games to watch. I look forward to catching a few games perhaps this summer, or again next year, to look for the growth these two players make. My guess is these two will be making noise come state tournament time. I look forward to following these youngsters and their team as the season begins to slowly wind down.

While I have spent my time talking about just two of the players, there was plenty of talent all over the court throughout the weekend. I mean no disrespect to the talent of countless players that was on display throughout the weekend. My goal was to watch the future Lady Cards.

Swimming narrowly loses at IU...Watson comments on Villanova game


-Women's swim team close against #12.

-Good read on Big Shot Becky...

-Watson reviews the UofL vs. Villanova WBB game

-A look at the BIG EAST.

The #24 ranked University of Louisville's women's swimming team narrowly lost in a dual meet against IU Saturday. Congratulations to the men's team...who knocked off the #11 ranked Hoosiers! Here's the honor roll...

-Raine Thompson...winner in the 100-fly and 200-free relay

Gadd took second in
the 3 meter board.
-200 medely relay had Krissie Brandenburg, Lindsay Rodgers, Raine Thompson and Aileen Cole finish second.

-1000 free placed Victoria Mitchell second.

-100 back with Eszter Povazsay second and Mary Mittel third.

-100 breast got Fanny Lillestrom second and Gisselle Kohoyda third.

-Aileen Cole won the 50 free and Lacey Bobo followed in second.

-Lillestrom finished second in the 200 breast.

-Dani Barbiea, Bobo, Grite Apanaviciute and Cole won the 200 free relay.

The Cardinal swim teams return to the water Friday.

Thanks to columnist Jenny O'Bryan for sharing this excellent read she found on senior Becky Burke. Great article by Scott Walsh. Click the link and enjoy! Why not send him an e-mail, too to show your appreciation for his Lady Cards and Becky Burke props?

E-mail Scott at


(David Watson chimes in on the 62-58 UofL win over Villanova)

The announcers Sunday were raving about 2200 attending the Georgetown vs. Rutgers game in D.C. They'd probably go into a coma if they saw almost 11,000 was the case when the Lady Cards downed 'SweeneyNova' by four Saturday.

What dastardly deeds did David
do in the high seats?
And it was the Sweeney show for the Wildcats. Schooling the Cards on the baseline, in the paint, on the boards and over the skies of Louisville. Sara Hammond watched her go by her several times Saturday but I hope she was watching even closer than that. This is the type of player Hammond could become if she picks up the foot speed a little bit, learns to drive and use the backboard and drops a few pounds. No one stopping her. Reach out and do the work, Sara. You have seen what the future could be. Go get it.

Games at the KFC YUM Center are always entertaining. We chose to traverse to the upper seats for this one...hadn't seen one from there ever. Loved the kids around us making a ton of noise and flashing their signs...despite the fact that no one on the lower deck knew we were up here. 

Sitting up high does have a few advantages. I could see the Cards spacing very clear offensively and it needs some work. If Asia Taylor is going to lead the "charge of the light brigade" through the paint and to the hoop for this Louisville team...clear out and give her some room, Lady Cards. 

I also watched the way Villanova works on offense sets to free up Sweeney. Very effective, organized and exacting. With a little practice and experience, the Lady Cards could do the same. Louisville had an almost certain "two" or trip to the line when Monique Reid would get the orange thing inside. Same with 'Nova. Say, could someone ask Mo to share that ability with Asia the rest of the year? She can have it back for the 2012-13 season.

Finally, make no mistake about it. This is Shoni Schimmel's team. Even though the Wildcats did a very passable job in trying to contain her, "Sho-time" came through. I don't quite understand why Coach Walz's didn't play her sister Jude a bit more with "Show". They seem to work well together in the offense. Maybe it's because they'd played together since they crawled out of the cradle. I on't know, but it makes sense to me.  

Who knows? Walz doesn't need advice from a guy who sits in the 300 level. I, though, need advice on how to get an escalator like the one in the YUM Center to put adjacent to my Uncle Scott's grain silo. 

Those who worried about Cierra Warren's scant minutes shouldn't. She'll get the full workout against DePaul (as long as she can keep the whistles quiet). Katherine Harry and Anna Martin are unleashed pit-bulls in the paint. Big players in the BIG EAST. The battle will be a good one. Maybe Sara will get a chance to mix it up with them.

(Then again, it's Walz. The "big guy" has a plan. It'll work. We wait excitedly.)

( David..good luck with the escalator hunt. I suffer from slight vertigo and can't ride on the thing or sit in 300 level seats with my eyes open. Thank goodness for elevators and press passes. I miss my buddies in Sec.115...but they understand).  


Now that all of the teams in the BIG EAST have played at least eight conference's time to look at some standings and make some wild and unfounded guesses about the second half of the season. 

Harry Perretta, the affable Villanova head coach, nailed it down the fairway when he said after the game that the 3-12 positions were still wide open for the second half of the season. Especially since Rutgers got unceremoniously thumped by Georgetown yesterday. 

Let's face it. Either Notre Dame finishes with no conference losses or one...because no one will beat them unless UConn can in the XL Center at the end of the year. UConn will finish second, with one or two losses...depending on the outcome of that Feb. 28th. game. It's a two horse match race for the regular season title. 

After that, it gets interesting. With the Rutgers loss, five teams have either 2 or 3 losses. Rutgers still has UConn and Notre Dame to face. So do Louisville and St. John. Georgetown and West Virginia just have one of the top two left to play. Those are eight automatic losses. 

Just behind these are USF, DePaul and Providence with four losses each. Out of the four, one would think DePaul might have a slight advantage to climb. The Louisville games won't be easy for them, they have to go to South Bend and play the Irish...but five out of the eight final game for them are at home and include rollovers like Cincy, Villanova, Marquette, and Syracuse. USF has a tougher road. They travel to St. John and Notre Dame and still have West Virginia and Providence to deal with. 

Paul would like to see "those
dad-gum Blue Demons" lose
The 12-16 spots will belong to Marquette, Syracuse, Cincy, Pittsburgh and Seton Hall...probably in that exact order. Louisville catches a break...they have three of these (SU, Pitt and SH) left to play and should be OK in these. Add in DePaul twice, at West Virginia and hosting UConn and Notre Dame...and it's not hard seeing the Lady Cards go 5-3 or better the rest of the way. 

Is 11-5 good enough for 3rd. place in the BIG EAST regular season standings? Can Rutgers, St. John's, Georgetown or West Virginia duplicate or top that?

Rutgers (6-2) still has Notre Dame, UConn, St. John's, West Virginia and Villanova left to tangle with. We're thinking they'll handle Seton Hall, Providence and Marquette without too much trouble. If the Scarlet Knights can win three out of the five against the Irish, Huskies, Red Storm, Mountaineers and Wildcats...they could finish 12-4. Gonna depend on how quickly Khadija Rushdan can return after the nasty head bump she received yesterday at Georgetown. They carted her off on wheels. She did return to watch...but concussions take time. And, Rutgers has Notre Dame, Connecticut, St. John and West Virginia as their next four. It's possible that could equal four straight losses.

St. John's has a tough road remaining. Breathers at Pitt and Seton Hall before taking on USF, Rutgers, Connecticut West Virginia, Villanova and Georgetown to finish the season. Only three of these at home. It's not hard to see them finishing 4-4 in their final eight...which would put them at 9-7.

As for Georgetown...gotta like the Hoyas chances to grab third place. Currently at 6-3, they host Seton Hall, Providence and St. John's...and go to Cincy, Connecticut, Villanova and Syracuse. We can see five wins here pretty easily, maybe six if they can defeat the Red Storm to end the season. 12-4 is within their reach. 11-5 very possible.

West Virginia has their work cut out for them. Despite four in a row at home and five of the remaining eight in the Coliseum...they aren't easy ones. A trip to USF could be rough for them. Louisville, Notre Dame, Rutgers and DePaul visit after that and we can't see them doing any better than 2-2 in the home stand. Then, they go to St. John's before finishing at Cincy and hosting Pitt. 4-4 in the final eight is the guess here and would put them at 9-7.

OF course, this is the BIG EAST. Upsets are common. Who would have figured the beat down Georgetown put on Rutgers yesterday?

Some great conference games early this week:

Louisville at DePaul
Notre Dame at Rutgers

West Virginia at USF.

Stay tuned, the second half of the BIG EAST schedule is going to be a brawl and a ball. We'll preview DePaul against Louisville tomorrow. Have a great Monday!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Softball banquet a gala event at Galt House


-Capacity crowd attends UofL softball banquet

-More on Lady Cards win over Villanova

-Saturday BIG EAST results

If you enjoy good, food, good company and motivational speaking...the fifth annual Louisville Softball banquet was the place to be last night. A crowd of close to 2,000 attended the affair at the Galt House and heard from 2003 NCAA Champion and 2004 and 2008 USA Olympic Softball star Natasha Watley.

They hit you with the appetizers the minute you walked in the door and they were good and plentiful. Sonja and I were greeted at the door by head coach Sandy Pearsall, who we spoke with briefly before mingling with the crowd and checking out the silent auction table. Pearsall revealed that she wasn't all that comfortable with public speaking, but she did a fine job later in the evening when she spoke prior to Watley's keynote address. 

Sonja with Lacy Wood and our friends
at our table
We also talked briefly with UofL softball S.I.D. Lori Korte, resplendent in her attire...who seemed very pleased with the turnout and the way the evening was going. Louisville's lucky to have her...she's pleasant, efficient and caring...great qualities for one who deals with the information and communication parts of the program.

After checking out the numerous items available for silent auction bid, we treated ourselves to beverages and found our table. We also ran into WBB star Becky Burke, in attendance just hours after her strong performance in the Villanova game. One has to appreciate how these college athletes "dress up" for events like this. Burke...and the entire softball team looked like they could have filled in as runway models last night. 

We got another nice surprise when we found out we were sitting at the same table as CARDINAL COUPLE reader Dan and enjoyed the lively conversation we had with him and his friends. We were also joined by UofL volunteer assistant coach Lacy Wood, who eagerly discussed the team, the BIG EAST and the upcoming Lady Cards softball trip to FIU for the Combat Classic in Miami. 

Sean Moth was the emcee for the event and was his usual professional, funny and smooth self. Moth has a self-depreciating sense of humor at times and it struck a positive note with the crowd last night. 

The invocation was delivered by senior speedster Tesha Payton and dinner was served shortly after. The Galt House didn't disappoint..with a great salad, chicken with pasta and vegetables entree and decadent chocolate dessert to top things off. 

After a highlights film, Pearsall presented the Spirit of Softball award to the Louisville Slugger group and a video introducing the 2012 team was shown. Might have been the highlight of the the girls revealed something about themselves that people may have not known and why they chose Louisville. Chuckles and applause accompanied each cameo and the softball players have some hilarious and revealing antedotes about their free time and reasons why they don the Red and Black. 

Cardinal pitcher Tori Collins gave a synopsis of the recent pre-season Oklahoma City Challenge and a video followed showing the girls participating in the challenge events. Let's hope none of them decide to go out for the swim team...

After the video, Pearsall took the podium again and made it short and sweet, acknowledging the support staff and coaches that make up Cardinal softball. One really doesn't realize how much goes into the entire scheme of a sport at Louisville...the academic advisers, marketing, groundskeepers, assistant and so much more.

Natasha Watley gave an inspired and entertaining address about her love of softball, career in it and how she got interested in it. At times, her description of her passion for the game and the aspects of it, had the crowd on the edge of their seats. She still competes professionally in Japan...when she retires, she'll make a great softball coach on the collegiate level and hopefully will pursue that. 

Her comments about her college days at UCLA were heartfelt and entertaining. WE won't go into what "WIFT" means...the rallying cry of  her and the other seniors on the 2003 National Championship team...but her desire and quest for getting the best out of her self was a great lesson and teaching tool for those in attendance.

The evening seemed to fly by. Before we knew it, Sean Moth was wishing us a great rest of the evening and the team had assembled on the stage for a group photo. It was our first softball banquet ever and it certainly won't be our last. 


More on the 62-58 Lady Cards win over Villanova....

Head Villanova coach Harry
Perretta goes casual in the
second half...
This game mirrored the South Florida game in a lot of ways. The Cards coming from behind to win. Having to cope with one excellent player and some hot shooting guards from the perimeter. Depending on late free throws to seal the victory. Despite the less than stellar nature of the action at it a gritty, workmanlike job accomplished by the Lady Cards yesterday afternoon. 


All 11 that dressed out for Louisville played in the contest. Becky Burke and Shoni Schimmel logged 38 minutes to lead the team. Bria Smith saw 31. Shawnta Dyer accounted for 22, Asia Taylor with 20 hard fought minutes and Nita Slaughter with 19. Sherrone Vails contributed 17, Shelby Harper 7 and Sara Hammond 4. Both Jude Schimmel and Cierra Warren saw the court for 2 minutes.

Louisville outrebounded the Wildcats 42 to 38...Smith's 10 and Taylor's 9 leading the way. The Lady Cards committed just nine turnovers..same as 'Nova...Shoni and Bria with three each. UofL had 6 steals (Smith 3) and three blocks.

Points in the paint went to Louisville 24-28 and points off turnovers to the Cards also...8-4. Louisville led in 2nd chance points 13-8. Neither team scored on fast break opportunities. The VU bench outscored Louisville's 14-9 (Dyer's six leading the Cards.)

The score was tied 8 times in the contest, 10 lead changes also. Louisville's largest lead was six points..with 36 seconds left in the game and the Wildcats enjoyed a seven point advantage once...with 14:36 to go in the first half.

So, Louisville takes a 17-4, 6-2 record into the second half of the BIG EAST schedule. Nova goes in 13-8, 3-5. The Wildcats have a relatively easy ride from here out, having already played UConn and Notre Dame. They should handle Seton Hall and Providence. On the road at DePaul and USF will be tough..but winnable. Things toughen up a bit when Georgetown and Rutgers visit in mid Feb. They finish at St. John's and hosting Syracuse. Wouldn't surprise us to see them at 8-8 or better when BIG EAST Tournament time rolls around.

For Louisville, the intensity increases. Road trip to DePaul Tuesday and West Virginia Saturday. UConn and Syracuse visit the YUM! Center after that. We're hoping the Lady Cards can come of out this killer four game stretch 2-2. Pitt, Notre Dame, DePaul again the final at Seton Hall. A 3-1 finish is very possible. We'll take 11-5 heading into conference tournament time. 10-6 is fine also. None of them will be easy, though. It's the BIG EAST.

We were also fortunate to observe yesterday's game with "the Observer" (Charlie Springer). If you haven't become a regular reader at Card Game need to. Charlie's observations on all UofL Sports are simply the best. WE learned from the best....CARDINAL COUPLE wouldn't be what it is today without Charlie's gentle urging and encouragement to leave the CARD GAME nest and fly on our own. And, he's got a cool camera...


A-Tayy, I was so proud of you yesterday and it was great to see you on the post-game podium. Remember that the quality of the minutes are the main thing. Your hard work and dedication will serve you well...not only at UofL but for the rest of your life.

Now...go to the Windy City and give Anna Martin and Katherine Harry a lesson on how Columbus girls represent. Love ya #31.



--Notre Dame got 24 points from Diggins in a 71-56 win over St John's in New York. The Irish led 43-23 at the half. Smith and Stevens had 10 each for the Red Storm.

--UConn downed a stubborn USF Bulls squad 77-62 in the XL Center. Tiffany Hayes with 33 and 10 for Geno. Stef Dolson added
22 and 18. For USF, the Russian Rocket Inga Orekhova totaled 16.

--DePaul put four in double figures to defeat Seton Hall 71-59. Martin with 20, Penny 19 and Harry and Hrynko 13 each. The Blue Demons host Louisville on Tuesday. 

--Providence downed Pittsburgh 66-50...getting 15 from Barnes and 13 from Wells. The winless Panthers were led by Kiesel's 17. 

--Cincinnati pulled the mild upset over homestanding Syracuse 55-54 on Bjonee Reaves jumper with five second left. Kayla Cook led the Bearcats with 14. Hemingway had 12 and Alexander 11 for SU.

--West Virginia romped Marquette 53-32, holding the Golden Eagles to 0-10 3-point shooting. Caldwell netted 20 for the 'Eers...Plouffe led Marquette with nine. 27-18 at the half for WVU.

#11/12 Rutgers and #18/20 Georgetown square off in Sunday action.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lady Cards hold on to defeat 'Nova 62-58


-Free throws down the stretch, Asia Taylor lead LADY CARDS

Louisville used 8-8 free throw shooting in the final 36 seconds and a strong half from junior Asia Taylor (12 points and nine rebounds) to defeat Villanova 62-58 in front of 10680 Saturday afternoon  in the KFC YUM! Center.

The Cards rallied from a 42-36 deficit with 9:52 left in the game to take a 46-44 lead on a Shoni Schimmel three with 7:37 remaining and trailed only once the rest of the way. A Taylor jumper with 3:50 left gave the Cards the lead for good at 49-48.

STARTERS: Vails, Shoni, Burke, Taylor and Smith.

Louisville led early 2-0 after Bria Smith hit the opening shot with a minute and a half gone but soon found themselves on the short end of a 7-4 score at the first media timeout. The Lady Cards trailed 11-4 before Bria Smith's two free throws stopped the Nova run.

If the first half resembled a funeral it to the aggressive defense employed by each team. 21-21 after 20. Neither team over 30% shooting and 13 turnovers between the two squads.

This early version of the Cardinal Bird is probably what
kept me away from Freedom Hall as a child. Scary bird !
Something was needed to wake the crowd and the game up and maybe it was the en masse serenade of "Happy Birthday" to Louie the Cardinal Bird at halftime.

(The picture of Louie here is in no way representative of today's version.)

The Cards ran off five straight points to start the second half...thanks to a Becky Burke 3 and Taylor jumper....but the Wildcats cut it back to one. After a Sara Hammond free-throw made it 33-32 Villanova...the Wildcats ran off with seven of the next nine points to lead 40-34 when Laura Sweeney hit a layup.

The Cards were ten minutes away from the buzzer but far from looking like a team determined to win. 

It got better, though. Schimmel, Smith and a Taylor "plus one" put it to 42-41 'Nova. Smith's jumper with 8:19 to go gave Louisville a 43-42 lead. The teams went back and forth until the 3:50 mark...when Asia put the Lady Cards ahead to stay with a jumper at 49-48. A nifty pass from Taylor to Dyer for a basket had Louisville breathing a little easier at 53-48 with 1:49 left.

That set up the strong finish from Taylor and Shoni...who accounted for all but nine of the Cards final 28 points. Two Burke free throws made it 62-58 with two seconds left and a desperation three by Megan Pearson rimmed out as time expired.

Louisville was led by Shoni's 18. Also in double figures were Taylor (14), Burke (11) and Smith (10). High for the Wildcats was Sweeney with 18...the only double figure scorer. 

Louisville goes to 17-4 on the season and 6-2 in the BIG EAST with the win. At times, it was painful to watch when the Cards were on defense...since Villanova runs some very disciplined sets to free open shooter. Sweeney and Lindsay Kimmel used these to perfection at times. If Sweeney had fared better than 9 of 19 shooting, we may have had to change the title on today's blog.

Nevertheless, it's a "W" and each one of those the Lady Cards can gain is so important the rest of the way out. One that was far from decided in the final minutes.


- Taylor tenacity. We loved the energy level and athleticism the junior displayed tonight on both ends of the court. She drove with confidence through the clogged Villanova paint and got hoops or free throw attempts. She was one rebound away from a double-double. Like we mentioned earlier today, you never really know which "big" for Louisville will step up. Today it was Asia...who had 14 of the "bigs" 23 points.

-Bria on board. A double-double for the freshman tonight with 10 points and ten rebounds. Add three steals to the stat-line and an impressive outing for the freshman. 4 of 15 shooting isn't the best effort and two blown, wide open layups weren't "Sportscenter" moments but...she's just a freshman, folks. An impact one at that.

Dyer drives for two (photo by Charlie Springer-Card game)
-Burke bombs away. Three for eight from the perimeter tonight and none of them came easily. A team that shoots the three frequently, like Villanova...gets a lot of practice guarding it and Becky nailed some tough ones tonight.


-Consistency. Louisville appeared to be on the verge of making sizable runs on Nova several times tonight...but a few missed shots here, a turnover there, lax defense or careless passes allowed the Wildcats to creep back into it.'s what makes Notre Dame and UConn what they are. It comes with experience. The Lady Cards are getting there...

-Free throw shooting. Although Louisville did sink their final eight
attempts...several one and the bonus attempts went unfulfilled earlier in the second half that could have put the Cards in a bit more comfortable lead as the game got down to crunch time. Louisville 17-24 for a respectable 70.8%. Villanova a white hot 12-13 and 92.3%

The Lady Cards head to DePaul next for a Tuesday night matchup. A game that has interesting implications with DePaul's strong front line play. A team with a true center. One that will start the second half of the BIG EAST season. A big test in the BIG EAST.


Lady Cards WBB today at 2 p.m. to be shown locally


-Louisville and the numbers.

-Spencer sets new UofL record in 600m

-Watson is headed this way...

Lachlan will not do
today's broadcast and
probably not mention
the game on his
Monday show...
The Lady Cards and Villanova meet for the eighth time in history today in the KFC YUM! Center. Louisville is 7-0 in the series. The two met twice last year...Louisville winning in Philly 64-59 and in Hartford in the second round of the BIG EAST Tournament 69-47. 
Deener has the TV call of today's
game on WHAS.

The match-up tips off at 2 p.m. and will be shown locally on WHAS TV. Drew Deener will handle the play-by-play and fight Lachlan McClain bare-chested and bare-knuckled at halftime on the Denny Crum Court. (Just kidding...a little local feud going on between those two sports talk hosts.).

Louisville is 8-0 at home this year. 21-2 lifetime in the KFC YUM! Center. Tennessee beat them and who else? First person to e-mail us at with the correct answer gets a Panera Card. We'll see who our 'early birds' are out there (no pun intended, Drew...).  OK...we have a winner. Cardinal Ed e-mailed the correct response (Georgetown)...narrowly beating out K.Starks and a couple other of you. Thanks for participating!


LOUISVILLE                                                 VILLANOVA

16-4                             Record                       13-7
.439                              FG%                          .398
.324                            3-pt. FG%                    .337
.712                              FT%                          .740
.353                            Opp. FG%                   .372
.285                        Opp. 3-pt. FG%              .287
.625                            Opp. FT%                   .714
42.7                             Reb. Avg                    33.5
+5.4                          Reb. Margin                -2.9
13.5                          Assists/game                 14.8
19.4                        Turnovers/game             12.1
10.5                          Steals/game                  6.6
4.8                           Blocks/game                  3.4
72.2                         Points/game                  58.8
59.7                     Points allowed/game         53.3

The folks in the KFC YUM! will celebrate Louie the Cardinal Bird's birthday we'll probably get to see the annual mascot game at half-time. Always a highlight of the season.

During the actual game...look for Louisville to try and accelerate the pace and score off the press and transition against the Wildcats. If 'Nova has their way...they'll take the air out of the ball and try to turn it into a half-court contest...keeping the score in the 50's.

See you out there. Don't forget Louie's present. Bird seed is always a good choice.

We'll have a full report of the action later today.


Congrats to UofL women's track team dynamo Ahlivia Spencer for setting a new Cardinal record in the 600 meters at the Indiana Relays. She covered the distance in 1:21.65. That's flying! Some good runners up there...she finished eighth in the race.

Charachesica Lockhart won the triple jump and Margret Harris finished 3rd in the 200m trials and won the 60m trials.


(David Watson is headed to Louisville for today's women's basketball game. We've assigned him a cartoon caricature...since his regular picture kept causing the laptop to freeze up.)

By the time you read this - we'll already be on the road to the "Ville" to watch the Lady Cards play Villanova. Taking the wife and youngest daughter today. We'll hit our favorite pizza place for lunch and then waddle over to the KFC YUM! Center for hoops. Then, to my cousin's for dinner with the family. I'll probably end up buying.

So, how will Louisville do today in their eighth BIG EAST game of the season? I expect nothing but a blowout of epic proportions. Expect to see 12,000 plus in the KFC YUM! Center. Expect to see Shoni drive 'em crazy with the shake, shuffle, slide, shot and sensational passing. Will beg Becky Burke to bombard the basket with beautiful ball tosses from beyond the barrier. Will watch Bria Smith daringly dart down the court dismantling defenses and driving down the baseline dropping deuces, dishing and delivering. 

A weekend game at home. How long has it been? December 10th.? About time. Note to Lady Cards scheduler. More weekend games in the KFC YUM! for 2012-13 please. 

I also hope to see Shelby Harper and Sara Hammond get quality minutes today. Did you realize they have the same initials? I will refer to them as SH-2 from now on. I hope I get to refer to them a lot. 

OK. See you at the YUM. 

( David Watson has been going over the alphabet recently, as witnessed by his alliteration efforts today. Someone stop him before he gets to "X".)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Nova next for Lady Cards


-Villanova visits the KFC YUM Saturday

The University of Louisville's women's basketball team closes out the first half of their BIG EAST schedule when the Villanova Wildcats visit Saturday at 2 p.m. The Wildcats are 3-4 in BIG EAST Conference play and 13-7 overall. Last time out, they defeated Cincy 62-53 in the Pavillion in Philadelphia. Lauren Burford had 16 against the Bearcats and Laura Sweeney added 14. It was a "Pack the House" promotion. About 600 showed up to see the Wildcats win.

In BIG EAST play, the Wildcats have also defeated Providence and Pittsburgh. Losses have come against WVU (61-56), Marquette (51-50), UConn (72-49) and Notre Dame (76-43).  

'Nova is led by 6'2" junior forward Laura Sweeney, who averages 15 points a game. Rachel Roberts, a 5'9" junior guard, adds 9.6 points per contest. Burford is a 6'0" red-shirt freshman forward who totals 8.2 each time out. Other starters are Lindsey Kimmel, a 6'0" senior guard and Jesse Carey, a 5'10" junior guard.

Nova plays five off the bench pretty regularly. Devon Kane, Megan Pearson, Emily Lear, Emily Suhey and Taylor Holeman all see double digit playing time as a rule.

Three point threats are Burford and Roberts. The Wildcats don't seem to put the trifecta up as much as in past years...but they did launch 24 against the Bearcats and 15 versus the Irish in their last two games out.

So...another mid-pack BIG EAST team comes into the KFC YUM! looking for a top 25 upset. Louisville will probably run into the "stop Shoni syndrome" again...which didn't work for Georgetown.


--Louisville will look for continued production and prolific performance from Nita Slaughter again. Consistency has been a problem for her this year, but when she's on..she's brilliant.

--BIG Shot Becky will test the Wildcats from the deep. She's been pretty accurate from beyond the stripe this season...good for 3-4 treys a game. Let's hope the home court is where the heart (and the shot) is.

--Battling Bigs. Never know just which one of the centers and forwards will step up and provide the big game inside for this year's edition of Lady Cards. Wouldn't it be great to see Sara, Cierra, Shawnta, Sherrone and Asia all have big efforts?

--Driving Miss Bria. She should have plenty of opportunities to drive the baseline and create the inside scoring or passing opportunities against the Wildcats. Let's hope they're successful trips.

Can't see V.U. coming into the YUM and pulling the upset. Most likely, they'll get back on the plane bearers of a double digit loss to the Cards. We see Louisville getting the it 71-54.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

For's learning and waiting...Weds. BIG EAST WBB recap


-Rockcastle County's Sara Hammond learning the ropes

-Weds BIG EAST results

-Softball CARDS ranked 24th in preseason polling

Sara is fifth on the Lady Cards in rebounding

Sara Hammond is one of the three true freshmen on the 2011-12 Louisville women's basketball team. Highly recruited out of Rockcastle County High School, the All-American chose the Lady Cards over Connecticut. And, her regular season debut was impressive...scoring 13 points and grabbing 13 rebounds against Missouri State. Several days later, seven rebounds at Eastern Kentucky. Another big effort against Xavier with eight grabs and six points. She led the Lady Cards with nine rebounds in a win over Tennessee-Martin. 

Once BIG EAST play began in earnest, though...the minutes and production have dropped off for the 6'2" forward. Cause for alarm and worry? Not at all. All part of the freshman learning curve against the best conference in women's college basketball. 

Ask 99% of the freshmen who step on the court after being leaders and stars on their high school teams. The college game is at a whole different level. The learning curve comes at you fast and each day is another lesson in competing against upper-classmen -- in games and in practice -- teammates who have been there, done that and learned from experience, patience and the occasional poor performance. 

It can be trying, especially after the early successes against lesser opponents than the ones the Lady Cards are now facing in the BIG EAST. There will be times where the playing time is scant or other players perform while you watch. 

Such are the lessons in life. A hard-worker in practice and vocal leader on the bench...Sara's time will come. The experience she gains while watching in game, coupled with the daily battles in practice against the more experienced Louisville front-liners will go a long way toward success later in her career. Everyone develops at their own pace. Everyone has their role. 

We get a lot of e-mails here at CARDINAL COUPLE about women's basketball. More than any other UofL women's sport. A lot of them are in question form. We get asked a lot about Sara, more so lately...when the playing time for her is less frequent and the totals lower. 

We're no coaches here. We don't see what goes on daily on the practice courts or in individual instruction. We feel confident, though, that the UofL coaches have a plan for her and she'll be one of the shining stars for the Lady Cards in the future. 

In the meantime, the learning and knowledge continues. 
Entitlement for some players is an issue. Wanting a certain number of minutes a game, a certain amount of touches, points, rebounds.

Then, you have players like Hammond. Ready to contribute however and whenever she can. Not hung up over the stat line. Giving what she can when she's called on. No sulking or attitude problems.

You tell me which kind of player you'd rather coach and have on your team.

No need to worry about Sara Hammond. As Frank Sinatra once crooned..."the best is yet to come and won't that be fine!"


Games played - 19
Games started - 6
Minutes per game - 13.3
Points per game - 3.5
Rebounds per game - 4.0 (76 total)
Shooting % - .333 (29-87)
Fouls - 42


Only two BIG EAST games on the board for Wednesday night....

UConn destroyed another BIG EAST foe with a 95-54 demolishing of Syracuse. The 'Cuse was actually in this one for awhile, down only 40-33 at the half and cutting the visiting Huskies advantage to five early in the second half. It didn't last. Hayes goes for 35 against the Orange, Mosqueda-Lewis adds 19 and Hartley 18 for Geno's gals.

South Florida used a 18-2 second half run to defeat Seton Hall in Tampa. The Bulls trailed 26-21 at the half and 35-23 with 15 minutes to go before charging through the ring and winning 57-45.
Jasmine Wynne with 19 for USF. The Pirates did silence the Russian Rocket Inga Orekhova to 0-7 on 3-point shooting and just 5 points...but it wasn't enough to get them their first BIG EAST win.


Good news for Sandy Pearsall's softball Cards...they've been ranked 24th. in preseason voting for women's college fast-pitch softball. This from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Despite  being ranked higher than the Lady Cards in the BIG EAST Pre-Season picks...Notre Dame, Syracuse and DePaul did not make the top 25. Go figure.

Plenty of returning stars for the Ulmer Stadium sluggers and some talented freshmen on board as well.

Losing the left side of your infield after four years is tough and Chelsea Bemis and Colby Wherry will be missed...but Pearsall has plenty of talent to choose from to find replacements. The pitching is solid and Jordy Trimble returns after a season off because of a broken ankle. Alas, no BIG EAST Tournament at Ulmer this year...but plenty of chances to watch the girls at Ulmer for regular season and BIG EAST Conference play.

Louisville begins their season Feb. 10-12 in Miami at the Florida International University Combat Classic. (Better there than somewhere like Syracuse or Maine...)

(and....the Cards received no votes in women's ice hockey or water polo pre-season polls. Oh, that's right...UofL doesn't field a team in either. Yet. Never say never when Tom Jurich is your A.D.)