-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.
a slow start to
get 20 points.
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.