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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lady Cards beat Hoyas 64-61 behind Shoni's 19


-Cards survive G'town run, scorekeeper to win by 3

In a wacky and wild finish, Louisville fails to score a basket in the final 6:38, Georgetown gets credit for a phantom free throw and Georgetown attempts 30 more shots than the Lady Cards in a 64-61 Louisville win. Shoni led UofL with 19 points, Sugar Rodgers ended up with 24 for the Hoyas.

STARTERS: Vails, Warren, Smith, Burke and Shoni

Louisville jumped out to a 5-0 lead to begin the contest after Cierra Warren scored inside and Becky Burke bombed a three in the first minute of play. The Hoyas responded with nine straight, though...capped by Sydney Wilson hitting a jumper with 16:37 to go in the first half. The Cards needed a timeout to solve the Hoya full court pressure, responsible for four straight Cardinal turnovers. Shoni was on the bench, after just two minutes of play.

Shoni overcame
a slow start to
get 20 points.
Whatever Walz said worked. Louisville regained the lead 13-11 after a Burke three and Nita Slaughter added two free throws to give the Lady Cards a 15-11 advantage with 12:19 to go. Shoni returned to the game and bombed a three to make it 18-11. Her jumper increased it to 20-13 with 9:10 left.

The Hoyas rallied to cut the advantage to 23-22 after a Rodgers jumper with 4:20 left. Warren hit from inside, though to push it to 25-22. After a Hoya three tied it at 25...the Lady Cards got the final four of the half when Warren scored on a putback and Shoni created a steal and nailed a jumper with 40 seconds in the half to lead 29-25 at the break.

Becky Burke led the Cards in the first half with nine points, all threes and Shoni had seven. Slaughter finished with five, Warren had four and Shawnta Dyer and Sherrone Vails added two each. Walz played all but Hammond and Harper in the first twenty minutes. Sugar Rodgers totaled 10 for G'Town. The Cards shot 52% in the first half, compared to the Hoyas 25.6% efforts...18 more shots by Georgetown (39-21) but one less basket.

Louisville came out with Taylor in for Warren in the final twenty minutes and got an opening three from Burke. Taylor got a nifty pass from Shoni and Louisville had a nine point lead with 90 seconds gone. A Shoni three had it 37-29 Cards with 17:44 left.

Georgetown responded with a 10-0 run over the next two minutes and grabbed a 39-37 lead after threes from Rodgers and Tia Magee. Shoni quelled the tide, though with her second trey of the half to make it 40-39. After G'Town responded with a Rubylee Wright three to regain the lead 42-40...the teams battled back and forth until another Shoni three and a "plus 1" for Bria Smith gave Louisville a 49-44 advantage with 11:35 left. Shoni added a free throw to push the Cardinal lead to 50-44. Louisville made their last field goal of the game when Slaughter knocked down a three with 6:38 remaining to give UofL a 55-46 lead.

From then on it was a matter of the Lady Cards hitting from the charity stripe. A Smith free throw put the Cards up by ten. Four straight points from Magee cut it to 56-50 with 4:20 left. Shoni and Smith responded with four straight free throws to give Louisville a 60-50 lead.

Then, with 2:16 remaining, Sugar Rodgers missed two free throw attempts. Except in the official scorekeeper's eyes, who credited her for hitting one. After Vails made 1 of 2 from the line, Rodgers canned a trifecta to cut the UofL lead to 61-55 (or 56) with 1:38 left. Another G'town score after a Cardinal turnover made 61-57 (or 58) and 1:19 left. Bria Smith hit two free throw to give the Cards 63 points but the scoreboard showed the Hoyas with 58 points instead of 57. Rodgers cashed in two charity tosses and it was 63 to 59 (or 60..)

The ESPN girls were confused, so were we at home and it got better.

We had it 63-59 and I was wondering what I missed. Turned out...not a thing.

Protests from the Louisville bench and a Walz timeout with 18 seconds left sent officials Dennis DeMayo and John Enterline to the scorer's table to ask for the ESPN2 feed to be rewound to the 2:16 mark. Once it was confirmed that no Rodgers free throws hit the mark at that point in the game, the score was changed to 63-59. Keeping score while watching, Sonja and I were correct. Maybe we should apply for the job in D.C.

Becky Burke got 1 of 2 from the stripe to make it 64-59 with 16 seconds left. A Wright putback cut it to 64-61 with 1.3 seconds remaining. Louisville inbounded safety to Slaughter at halfcourt, though....and it was a final. 64-61 Cards on the road.

Shoni led the Lady Cards with 19 points. She was joined in double figures by Burke with 13 and Slaughter adding 11. Smith contributed 10 points...all in the second half. Warren finished with four, Vails three and Taylor and Dyer two each. Jude played but did not score. Harper & Hammond never hit the court.

(We were originally informed Shoni had 20 and Bria nine points but a check of the official box score says differently. Wonder if it was the same person that kept trying to slide Sugar an extra free throw?)

Rodgers led the Hoyas with 24 points (on 26 shots). Rubylee Wright and Magee added 11 each for the Hoyas.

Louisville shot 47.5 % for the game on 19-40 shooting. They attempted 23 threes and hit 11 for 44%. The Cards were 15-21 from the freethrow line and committed 25 turnovers.

Georgetown went 33% for the game...with 70 attempts and 23 baskets. They were 8-27 from beyond the arc (33%) and 7-12 from the free throw line. They outrebounded UofL 38-35 and committed 15 miscues.

A huge road win for Louisville, maybe their biggest this season so far on the road. After the close misses at St. John's and Rutgers, it's good to see them get one away from home against a top 20 opponent.

It didn't come easy, though. Blowing a 10 point lead with 2:16 left isn't what we like to see. 25 turnovers, mostly unforced...against the Georgetown pressure is disappointing.

But, it's a win and the Lady Cards now get a little time off from action until Villanova visits Saturday. Time that can well be used to hone and refine the Cardinal ball-handling.

What we liked...

Sho-time again. After a rough couple of outings, Shoni found the range again and her 13 seconds half points were key to the win. Maybe it's when the nationwide cameras are on is the key to getting her on fire. Can we televise all the finals games?

Let 'three-dom' ring! Threes from three different players today. Good to see Nita hit a few clutch ones and she also had 31 minutes on the court today. Let's hope it's the start of a consistent rest of the season for her.

Hitting the free ones when it counts. Louisville made free throws when they needed to. The final 6:38 of the game. Four different players involved in the mix, too. They needed to. They weren't getting shots to go...

-Things to improve on...

Ball control. It was a nervous final two minutes with the Lady Cards shaky ball-handling, which allowed G'Town back into the game. It's only going to get tougher with pesky Villanova, Notre Dame, UConn and DePaul (twice) ahead. Keep growing up fast, Bria and Jude.

Rebounding. The Cards had one first half offensive rebound. They lost the rebounding battle against a guard-oriented Hoya squad 38-35. Gotta get better positioning and more grabs, ladies!

On an afternoon where the Lady Cards finally got a quality win over a top 20 opponent on the road, Louisville grew up a lot today. Sure, there's still some things to improve on and get better at...but a national audience saw a Louisville team that didn't fold on the road today.

And that's a step in the right direction.


  1. Antonita Slaughter! Suddenly, she is a ball handler, driver and a key to the rest of the year.

  2. Effectiveness Per Minute = Points + Rebounds + Assists + Blocks + Steals - Missed Shots (both FG and FT) - Turnovers, with the total divided by minutes played, then multiplied by 100 to move that pesky decimal over.
    Ranking for this game:
    Warren = 69 (why didn't she play more?)
    S. Schimmel = 50 (would have had more assists but for some blown layups)
    Nita = 48 (another great game; I agree with Norman Stillwell - she is a real key, but she should be taking minutes from Burke, not Taylor and Dyer)
    Smith = 37.5 (also played good D most of time; bunch of dumb turnovers trying to dribble through press)
    Dyer = 17.6
    Vails = 15.4
    Burke = 14.8 (EPM looks at more than just the points)
    Taylor = 12
    J. Schimmel = -5
    This game should have been a blow-out. Georgetown has no one besides Rodgers, and she doesn't make her teammates better. Walz dialed up a good defensive scheme to stop her. Cards had a formula for beating the press with a passing sequence, and Georgetown couldn't stop L'ville inside. Problems came when Cards didn't stick with the formula for beating the press, which correlated with not attacking inside.
    --PDX Phil

  3. Nice little formula but for stat purposes only. Too many intangibles left unmeasured.
    For instance, you state that Shoni would have a higher number if not for some blown layups by her teammates, but for a true measurement, you would have to factor in the fact that Shoni made a good pass from jump street.
    And defensively, there are many factors not measured in your formula. You count actual steals and blocks, but not tipped passes, altered shots, the players that deny the opponent's best player the ball on a possession, the team defense that results in shot clock violations, etc.
    All of these intangibles should count when measuring effectiveness, or it doesn't give the complete picture.

  4. Definitely did not have to be that close. Silly unforced to's could have cost them big time at the end, and those same type to's turned what should have been a 15-20 point rout into a close game. But I still liked the moxie the Cards displayed to come out of there with a victory, even with the multiple bad calls (at least to me there were!) and the cheater scorekeeper. They easily could have completely folded at the end, but they held on in a hostile environment for the first time this season. They are definitely growing as a team, think one of the last lessons they need to learn is to value each possession, and quit with the lazy, telegraphed passes.
    Thought they were very good on the defensive end, especially on Rodgers, she scored 24 but needed 26 shots to get those 24, and for stretches in the second half, I noticed it seemed she wasn't even working hard to get the ball, as if the Cards defense had worn her down.
    And props to Nita, hope the minutes she has gotten these last two games are an indicator that she will be getting more, she does many things well and brings a lot of energy.
    Another thing, think this was a very good learning lesson for Jude, she made some mistakes but I think she will learn more from this game than any other she has played in so far, she had crunch time, hostile environment minutes. Wouldn't surprise me if she even starts shooting more.
    All in all it was a good win!
    GO CARDS!!!

  5. Stark - I agree that the EPM doesn't measure some important intangibles, and I would further say that the EPM significantly understates the value of one player in particular: Shoni. As to the other players, I think it's a pretty good indicator of their relative contributions. Do you agree?
    --PDX Phil

    1. Disagree. Like I said, too many intangible contributions from players. Know you don't like Becky on the floor, but how can you measure senior leadership, which she does provide? How can you measure the spark provided by Shelby or Asia when they come into the game? EPM is good from a stat point of view, but stats can be very misleading. Great example of that is yesterday's game. Just looking at the stat sheet, without knowing the final score, most would automatically assume that the team that had 25 turnovers and took 30 less shots would be the loser.
      Also, look at the high number for Cierra. But would that number have been as high if she had played more minutes? It's not a guarantee that she would double her rebounds or points with double the minutes. The high number and the fact that she only played 13 minutes is very misleading, IMO.

  6. Good performance awards go to (in our humble opinion) Shoni, Nita, Bria and Burke. Warren an honorable mention.

  7. They won? Beat another ranked team, wat more is there to argue about. Im sure GU fans were all over there own team bout the loss. Cards won. U23


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