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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday Cardinal Couple -- Check out today's laundry - more load in the washer now!


-Sandy's Laundry day covers hoops, soccer and viewing. 

CARDINAL COUPLE columnist Sandy Walker catches us up on events from the Olympics , college basketball and Mercedes Russell. 
Please stand for our
national anthem! 


USA romps Canada 91-48

USA had a relatively easy time with our neighbors to the North this morning in the quarterfinals of the women's basketball Olympic games...disposing of Canada 91-48.

For once, a solid start...USA holding a 19-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and expanding that to a 42-21 half-time advantage. Five USA players in double-figures, led by Diana Taurasi's 15 points. "Big Syl" apparently over her foot trouble...with 12 points in just eight minutes. 

The Angel numbers impressive today. In 15 minutes, she tallied 11 points on 5/6 shooting and 1/2 from the charity stripe. Give her five boards and two steals in a reserve role. UConn darlings Maya Moore and Taurasi got twenty minutes plus.

(In case anyone is interested, Angel weighs 70kg in metric.) 

One can’t write of UofL women sports during the Olympics without giving time to Angel Mc Coughtry’s continued starring role in the US Olympic team’s continued supremacy in the 2012 games.   I actually spent less time watching the women’s basketball against China than one would expect but after fast forwarding the tape until Angel’s entry into the game I found that almost half of the game was gone.  Last week I suggested that Geno might want to rethink his starting lineup but to what should be his embarrassment, for some totally inconceivable reason he did not pay attention to my suggestion. 

This really should have been no surprise as he apparently believes this is the UConn Olympics.  No slam to Maya Moore’s playing abilities but as a late – late - late off the bench player, Angel is the high scorer and rebounder for the US team vs Maya’s reward of a starting spot.  Case in point.  In Sunday’s game against China Geno finally brought her into play with less than 3 minutes left in the half and again did not start the second half. 

Final Angel game stats... 16 points (Olympic record of 8 scores for 8 shots), 6 rebounds, 5 steals and 6 assists (2 less in the first 3 minutes of play due to her teammates missing  shots which Timmy the Intern would have made). Well respected women’s basketball writer, Mechelle Voepel, is quoted as saying “McCoughtry is clearly one of the best players in the world at this stage in her career. But what she has shown indisputably in this tournament is a Sheryl Swoopes-like ability to have a major impact on games with her opportunistic defense.”

(Great observation of #35's skills. Who ya gonna call? McCoughtry!)


Britain...being relative newcomers to the sport...are not known for their focus on women’s basketball with beach volleyball claiming the higher viewship (I wonder if the cooler evening temperatures which allowed for the players to actually wear pants instead of underwear dropped the ratings).  In fact they are compemplating eliminating both their women’s and men’s teams in future Olympics due to their lack of success, so as reported by AP basketball writer Doug Feinbert. It has been happily noticed that “women’s basketball is making a good impression on British fans”.  Observers have noted that their enthusiasm is making up for what they lack in knowledge.  Attendance and television viewership has also been a pleasant surprise.   Attendance is averaging about 8500 fans per game with the US team bringing in 9200 during pool play.  The greatest surge has been for televised games as NBC reported their USA Women’s Basketball opening game showing a 96% viewship increase from the 2008 games.

Those present for Australia’s win against Russia were treated to seeing a historic first Olympic women’s dunk.  It appears that the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock player Liz Cambage
Liz dunks (Photo courtesy of AP)
(mentioned last week due to the team’s economy class airline seating for her 6’8” body) was able to unfold her legs well enough to put herself into the record books.  Her twitter followers have taken notice and pegged her with the moniker "Slambage".

(Editor's note: With Candace Parker on the USA roster, the first dunk should have belonged to us... apparently Coach Geno has imposed a "no dunk" rule on the girls. Can't say we approve.) 


It looks like everyone is traveling abroad to play this month.  After spending 6 days at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, tomorrow Mercedes and her 11 teammates from the 2012 USA Basketball Under 17 World Championship team will leave for Caorle, Italy to play exhibition games against Brazil, Australia and Italy.  And this is only a warm up.  She and 5 players returning from the under 16 gold medalist team will next arrive in Amsterdam Netherlands to play in the Worlds which begin August 17 with the championship game on the 26th. Pretty heady exposure for Mercedes and her teammates. 


I know Olympic Soccer is not a UL direct related team but future participation is an absolute goal for every Louisville women's soccer player.  Yesterday’s game against Canada has contributed to today’s late Cardinal Couple submission as I stayed up very late while unable to pull myself away from the 120 minute double overtime win of the US team.  The win was particularly sweet as aside from their unbeaten Olympic streak with Thursday’s Gold Medal game against Japan on the line – as if that was not enough – Canada’s coach sparked controversy when his pre-game comments including accusations of “illegal” play by the Americans.

I admit to not being a passionate of fan of soccer as of some of the other sports but last nights’ event was a total new experience for me.  Women’s soccer (football in the UK) is one rough and tough game.   These women ran, hit and at times stomped across the field, and if in their way, bodies through regulation, double over-time and to the last seconds of the injury allowed period to a 4-3 win.  

Canada’s coach might have been whining about “illegal” plays but perhaps he should focus on highlights of the hits and “hold the mayo sandwiches” his players were making with the use of Canada’s double teaming of any US player with the ball. 

It is obvious that this is one physically tough and exciting game to watch. UofL women’s schedule begins with exhibition games this Friday August 10 against Ohio State at 6:00 and Sunday August 12 at 1:00 against Wright State both at Cardinal Park.

(CARDINAL COUPLE hopes to get a interview with coach Ferguson-Dayes and a player or two later this week. We've followed protocol and requested such through the UofL Sports Information Department.)   


It is reported that Junior Lauren Engeln is transferring from UConn after indicating her desire to play a bigger role.  She would be the 3rd player of UConn’s class of 2014 to transfer along with Samarie Walker and Michala Johnson.

For those who think transfers are reason for concern and worry. we advise you to take a look around. It affects all the major programs and it can happen for a variety of reasons. 

It's all part of the "play me or trade me" syndrome that we see in a lot of professional sports. Whether it's better to be a bench-rider on a national contender or getting 30 minutes and 20 points on a team that finishes mid-pack in the division is a matter of debate, but players come and go. 

Never forget that one of UofL's most successful players was a transfer. Candyce Bingham began her college at Xavier and transfered to Louisville after two years of playing sparingly. Former Cardinal stars Missy Taylor and Nita Slaughter weren't original Cardinals either. 

Show me a team that has all the original recruits four years after the fact when they're seniors and I'll show you rarity in college basketball. 



  1. Good point about transfers but it seems UofL consistently has more than most colleges. UofL has three seniors. How many were in the freshman class?

    Carl, Jr.

    1. Ashley Rainey, Rachel Story, Asia Taylor. Shelby Harper was a walk-on.

    2. Wasn't Nikki Burton in that class as well?

  2. You want your best players in the Olympics. Just because UConn has had a wealth of excellent players over the last 8-10 years doesn't mean Geno is stacking the deck with his former stars. It's about winning.

    1. You could send Jessica Davenport, Dewanna Bonner, April Sykes, Danielle Adams, Shekinna Stricklen, Jayne Appel, Crystal Langhorne, Katie Douglas, Leilani Mitchell, Shanvonte Zellous, Natalie Novosel and Becky Burke over there...with Van Chancellor and Dickie Vitale coaching and they'd still be 6-0 like the current group is. None of the above ever played for UConn or coached there.

      Geno is the head coach and he hand-picked the invites and the team. When Griner decided not to go, he picked Ashia Jones, another UConn player.

      If it had been Pat or Tara head coaching, do you really think there wouldn't have been a Tennessee or Stanford bias?

      They ought to play the Connecticut state song or the UConn fight song when the girls step onto the podium to accept the gold. And, that is why I'm glad to see players like Parker, your Angel, Fowles and Catchings do well. More non-Geno selections.

      Scarlet Knight fan Edie

  3. My Difficulty is not so much the number of UConn players but instead his selection of who is starting and who is getting the important playing time. A starter scores 15 and news media reports her as star of the game. Angel comes off bench with less playing time but leads team with scores and rebounds over first 5 games and they are barely mentioned in game reports ie Canadian game reports - where is Angels name in the Canada game? Instead we primaeily hear of those he favors with starting roles.

    Some lesser producing players are starting while Angel sits until 3 minutes left in 1/2 - that is the Geno effect I am unhappy with. Compare Maya stats with Angel's. While Maya stats are good they do not outshine those of Angels where one sits bench until late while the other starts.

  4. I totally agree.I think Carol Callhan ( not sure of spelling)head of ALL USA womens bb teams,is partially responsible.There is clearly a bias.In addition to 6 uconn players,ALL uconn assistant coaches are with the team in London.I believe they are there under the title of "USA developmental coaches."THIS IS TRUELY SICKENING !!!

  5. Awesome picture of Mercedes. Gotta love that confident smile! Is she down to us and Tennessee? Really hoping for her, Henderson, and Makayla or Saniya Chong. We need a PG in the 2013 class! That would be a great class!

  6. Oh, and about transfers. We have had our fair share but most who transferred couldn't take Walz criticism. Byrd left the team because she ddin't want to be started over by a frosh -- Shoni. I think some schools use that against us in recruiting battles, imo. They probably mentioned Tay transferring out and the other PG who have left the program.

    1. Must respectfully disagree with the comment about Dez Byrd. She tried coming back from her injurIy the previous season, but couldn't go anywhere near 100%. Her role would have been limited at best, given her mobility, if she could have continued at all.


    2. Get your facts straight. Shoni was still a high school senior when Byrd had to retire.

      --Joe Hill--

  7. This should validate Geno's bias.


    1. Angel McCoughtry 22.6
    2. Dewanna Bonner 20.7
    3. Cappie Pondexter 20.0
    4. Candace Parker 19.0
    5. Tina Charles 18.7
    6. Sylvia Fowles 18.5
    7. Tamika Catchings 18.2
    8. Kristi Tolliver 17.4
    9. Sophia Young 16.7
    10. Crystal Langhorne 16.6
    11. Seimoine Augustus 16.4
    12. Becky Hammon 16.2

    Of these, six are on the USA team. Hammon is playing for Russia.
    Of these, ONE (Charles) is from UConn.

    That should cover it.

    Curtis Franklin

    1. You have to look at chemistry in the backcourt. No one works better together than Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi


    2. How would you know who works better together when the coach makes sure there is no opportunity to find out any differently?


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