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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lady Cards fall to Rutgers


-Cards need to use Rutgers loss as a building block

-BIG EAST Saturday results.

"Big shot" Becky played
45 minutes yesterday.
The University of Louisville women's basketball team was no doubt heartbroken after losing a close contest in overtime on the road to Rutgers yesterday. Louisville led at the half, led by 13 in the second half and had a great chance to win at the end of regulation. Some circus shots by Rutgers and untimely miscues by the Lady Cards took them to defeat, though. A solid effort from Walz's crew, but people don't read "solid" into box scores and W/L records.

The team needs to use the loss as a important building block to future success. What should Louisville "takeaway" from this one? (A term our buddy Howie Lindsey loves to overuse...takeaway.)

-Yes, can play a zone effectively. The Lady Cards were in a 2-3 zone defensively against Rutgers. It worked most of the time. Zones are designed to make an opponent shoot from outside. Rutgers has had problems with outside shooting this season. Erica Wheeler had a career game yesterday against Louisville, other than that...the zone did what it was intended to do. We'd like to see the Lady Cards in it more often.

Louisville plays Rutgers
to within three with just
five points from Shoni.
Who'd thunk it?
-A rotation that works. Walz used Smith, Burke, Shoni, Vails, Dyer and Warren extensively yesterday. It worked. Louisville substituted less than at any other time this season...Jude, Hammond and Harper seeing spot relief and Slaughter and Taylor no time. Whether it was just a one game deal or not obviously remains to be seen...but players build continuity and togetherness when they're on the court together. Witness Rutgers yesterday. Four players had 68 of their 71 points. This time of year, you need combinations that work well together.

-Go big, go big. The "bigs" had 40 of Louisville 68 points yesterday. Getting the ball inside worked. Combine that with Smith's ability to drive and either score or go to the line and Louisville actually won the points in the paint battle 34-30 against a brutal Rutgers front line. Yes, Shoni had a "off" shooting game. That won't happen often. We were impressed with Vails, Dyer and Warren's work inside the paint. WE hope it continues to improve. If opponents continue to employ the "stop Shoni" strategy...Walz has a remedy.

-Finish the game. Louisville had Rutgers on the ropes with a 41-28 lead in the second half. Teams like Notre Dame and UConn take situations like this and drive the final nails in the opponent's coffin. Louisville let Rutgers go on a 11-2 run to climb within four. For Louisville to become a Notre Dame or UConn, they have to develop a killer instinct. And, play effectively against a press.

Even though yesterday's game goes into the "L" column, we're still encouraged about how the Lady Cards played on the road, in a hostile environment and against a top ten team. Something they can use when on future road trips to Georgetown, DePaul and West Virginia...where the crowds will be less, the competition good but not top 10 quality and we get television on two out of the three.


Who knew about Erica Wheeler? Her best game of her career. A falling down, shot clock beating 3 when Louisville had two chances to get the ball and preserve the lead late. Karma's a &^%$# sometimes. I hope that yesterday's effort continues. I hope that Asia, Sara, Nita and Jude don't get discouraged by their lack of playing time yesterday. You know Shelby won't. Their times will come. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few (I think Spock said that in "Star Trek") and Louisville had good chemistry yesterday.


From 14 at the start of the year, to 11 and down to six yesterday. The Louisville coaching staff knows so much more than we, the fans do, about this team. Jeff Walz out coached C. Viv yesterday. Erase two key turnovers late in regulation yesterday and the Lady Cards leave with a win. I'll agree with Sonja that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. And, you never know. Wednesday night could be a breakout game for Sara Hammond. We know Asia Taylor can rebound and play defense. We've seen Jude handle the point with skill and Nita has had great perimeter shooting games. Shelby the Yorkie is a threat anytime she hits the hardwood. You go with your current strengths and that's what the Lady Cards did yesterday. Tomorrow, it could change. If the ones who didn't play much want to play more, they must challenge those in front of them for playing time.


An upset, a closer than expected game and a few blowouts highlighted the rest of the BIG EAST women's basketball schedule yesterday. Here's what went on.

-- UConn got 22 points from Tiffany Hayes in a 72-49 rout. This one was actually close for awhile...the Wildcats led 16-11 in the first half and closed it to 41-36 in the second half before the Huskies took over. UConn played a five guard lineup at times. Hmmm....

--Providence turned a ten point halftime deficit into a three point win against WVU with a 51-48 win. Surprise, surprise...Barnes had 19 for the Friars. The Rhode Island college comes to Louisville on Wednesday. Rut, row....

-- Notre Dame got 21 from Lexingtonian Natalie Novosel and 17 from Deve Peters in a 76-50 slashing of Cincy. UC had their highest attendance of the season thanks to the Novosel fans heading up 1-75 to see her play.

-- DePaul also got a big game from a Lexingtonian...Anna Martin tossed in 29 against Pitt to lead the Blue Demons to a closer than expected 86-83 win. Pitt was down 12 before roaring back to make it 84-83. Martin hit two insurance free throws with 19 seconds left to preserve the win.

--South Florida got another big game from the Russian Rocket Inga Orekhova and their other two talented guards in a 68-49 win over hapless Seton Hall. Inga tossed in 20, Jazz Wynne added 14 and "shootin' Saunders" contributed 10 for the improving Bulls. Said it earlier and will say it again, Jose Fernandez's squad is going to pull off some upsets the rest of the way....


Syracuse and Georgetown
Marquette against St. John's

We'll take...the Hoyas and the Red Storm in these. Both will be close.

How are we doing?

We went 4-1 yesterday...Providence's win over WVU the only incorrect pick. Only loss of the far. We'll see if we can finish 8-1 for the week.

We had a lot of very good picks in the Rutgers "name the score and winner" contest. 42 of us participated and we could grumble about the game going to O.T. but we won't. Your winner was "Uncle Miltie" Milt Strasberg....who offered 70-66 Rutgers.

We'll do it again when we can get more gifts cards out of Panera. It's like trying to climb Mt. Everest in a speedo, but they eventually come through...


  1. YES! I had forgot what score i sent u. sent my address to you in a e-mail. gimme dat Panera!

    Milt Strasberg
    "Uncle Miltie"

    1. Good pick on that score, even with an overtime. Can't get much closer.

  2. All in all, I thought it was a pretty good effort. Without those late game/overtime breakdowns, the Cards walk away with the victory. Got to be pleased with Warren, Vails, and Dyer. Finally starting to click. Second game in a row Becky and Shoni were not on, and still almost won. Got to believe that the game is coming soon when everybody is clicking at the same time.
    This season is going much as I expected, Walz teams usually start gelling around this time, and this team is starting to gel. Even without Mo and Tia, they can still be very solid.
    Onwards Cards!!!


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