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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thursday Cardinal Couple -- Schimmel shines in gutsy win


( Staff Columnist Jenny O' Bryan with the recap of Louisville's clutch win over USF Tuesday Night in Tampa)

Cardinal Women’s Basketball headed to Florida to face a South Florida team that recently took Notre Dame to overtime before finally losing.  Hitting the Sunshine State with a team that continues to battle injuries, most recently to 5th year senior Monique Reid, the Cards faced a huge task to win on the road in the brutal Big East.  Our ladies gutted out a win for the ages last evening  (78-75) bringing home the "W" and starting the second half of conference play at 18-4, 6-2 this upcoming Saturday. 

The game started fast and furious with both teams choosing to run from the opening tip.  Atop Louisville’s list of keys to the game was to keep “the big 3” under control offensively.  The guard combination of Andrea Smith, Andrell Smith and Inga Orekhova was the defensive assignment for the night.  The Cardinals were to limit the dribble penetration and guard the 3 ball from the Bulls top performers.

The Cards started off to a slow start in guarding Orekhova who had 11 of the Bulls first 18 points and opened with back to back open 3’s.  With 6 minutes of play in the books and Orekhova already in double figures, the Cardinal defense went to work.  Orekhova was held to just 4 more points the entirety of the game. 

It was a trigger-happy first half with the game held close most of the half, until the Cardinals pulled away late in the half to an 8 point lead.  The Cardinals gave up most of the lead late, heading in to halftime with USF closing on a 7-0 run, Louisville led 42-41. 

Shoni Schimmel was hot from the start and single handedly kept the Cardinals in the game offensively from the start going in to halftime with 20 points, adding 2 assists and 2 steals to her stat line.  It was a Cardinal team effort though, running screens giving Shoni great open looks, and the hot hand kept draining them.  Jude Schimmel did a fabulous job of distributing the ball in the first half with all 6 of her assists coming in the first half.  The collective Cardinal effort kept the team in it outrebounding the Bulls 18-15, 11 assists on 15 made goals and picking the Bulls pocket 7 times.   It was halftime folks, and the Cards were up and looked like they just might be able to get the win!

The second half opened and once again the Cardinals got off to a slow start.  It was a back and forth effort to start, with the Cardinals offense drying up and the Bulls taking a game high 9 point lead with 13 minutes left to play.  The Cardinal defense could not get a stop and the team seemed on the edge of letting the game slip through their hands. 

With a time out called, a new rotation of players in, the Cardinals came out and played fantastic defense for the next 12 or so minutes.  The Cardinals were getting stops, and were on the cusp of starting to hit buckets again.  Shoni led the charge offensively with some late game heroic shooting from Antonita Slaughter who had not quite found her touch in the game until very late.  Good shooters keep shooting, and a 9-0 run by Shoni and a HUGE 3 from ‘Nita had the Cards surging back to take the lead by 6 with just more than a minute left in the game. 

There is no way I can do justice to the last minute of play in South Florida.  The Cardinals saw a 6 point lead with a little more than a minute left to play dwindle to one, 3 clock malfunctions (to the benefit of USF each time), and two 1-1 foul shots missed on the front end by the Cardinals.  Shoni and Bria both missed the front end of foul shots.  It was a nail biter, a few new grey hairs sprouted, but the Cardinals found a way to gut out this win.  The last six Cardinal points came from the charity stripe...Schimmel and Slaughter scored the last 12 points for Louisville. The final score was 78-75 with the Bulls taking a last second 3 point shot in an attempt to tie the game. 

How many times have we seen this team defending a last second 3 pointer to decide the game?  It has happened way too many times for this fan's liking.  I have liked to reserve the 'Cardiac Cards' title for the men, but our women are doing the name proud these last few games. 

What we liked:

Schimmel shines- Shoni had a fantastic game, scoring a career high 38 points, and tying a school record of 8 three-pointers in a game.   Shoni played 39 minutes of very good basketball, perhaps the most efficient I have seen her, going 12-20, 6-7 at the free throw line, 3 assists, 3 boards, 2 blocks and 1 steal.  In 39 minutes of play she had just 3 turnovers.  It was an outstanding performance and one the Cardinal fans know she is consistently capable of.  Excellent job Shoni, way to shine!

Defensive effort- while it waned at times in this game, there was very strong, strong defensive energy from a lot of the players.  All but 3 Cards got at least 1 steal and Bria led the way with 5.  The defensive effort of this team has been keeping them in the close games.  Keep it up ladies this kind of defensive effort wins games!

Vails in the paint- Sherrone had a big night for the team with 7 huge boards, 5 offensively, and 3 blocked shots.  There were a couple grabs late in the game that saved their goose!  It’s nice to see that kind of work from the big girl and we hope to see more of it. 

Collective effort- While the scoring was not very balanced, there was a strong collective effort from the team as a whole.  Cortnee Walton grabbed 2 big boards and went 2-3 from the line.  Jude dished out 6 assists, Hammond had 8 points, 2 assists and 1 steal in 23 minutes.  Slaughter having a difficult shooting night hit BIG shots when the Cardinals needed them and sank several free throws down the stretch.  It was just a great collective effort from the team!

Things to work on:

Finishing games- The Cardinals are finding ways to win, but they are giving up leads late and making the wins much harder than they need to be.  This team has to figure out how to close games.  Coach Walz talks about it being the mental part of their game.  Whatever it is, your devoted fans would appreciate you, even more, with less last-second wins.

Free throws- While the Cards finished at 73% for the game, there were big free throws missed in the last minute of play.  It did not cost the Cards the win tonight, but it easily could have. 

It is really hard to nit-pick on such a HUGE road win.  I am so proud of this team for battling through adversity with injuries and winning close, last second games.  Last years team would have folded under many of these very close games.  It was a great effort and a “monumental win”, and this Cardinal Faithful could not be more proud. 

Cards Radio color analyst Adrienne Johnson said in her closing remarks that this team “grew up tonight on the road”.  Congratulations ladies on a hard fought, team-effort win!


The team next hits the court on Saturday, Feb. 2 at home against Georgetown for a 2:00 p.m. tip.  If you listened to last night's win on the radio, you know this team deserves a welcome home party Saturday.  Coach Walz is challenging the Cardinal Faithful to come out and support these ladies.  They deserve it!  It was a gutsy, gutsy win with only a portion of the lineup that was expected this year.  These ladies are playing tough basketball and growing every game out.  Be a part of this remaining season, it all starts on Saturday.

If you stick around after Saturday's game, you'll also get the chance to see an WBB Alumnae game, too!

The Cardinals are currently ranked 3rd in attendance, behind Connecticut and Tennessee.   The goal was to take the top in attendance this year.  It is not out of reach!  With 5 home games remaining in February and a package deal of $25 for the remaining 5 games, you just can’t beat the family entertainment.   Call Louisville Athletic Ticketing office at 852-5151 to get “on the train” and support Louisville Women’s Basketball.  

( WE fully agree with whatever it takes to get out Saturday to see the Lady Cards in action against Georgetown and the league's leading scorer in Sugar Rodgers. Coach Walz and the team would love to see 13,000 in attendance. Let's give them a great surprise and put 15,000 in the KFC YUM! Center. The Hoyas came into our house two years ago and embarrassed the Cards 76-52. Time to serve a little payback...)


  1. It is amazing how this team keeps performing at such a high level with all of the injuries. Give credit to Coach Walz and the coaching staff. This team deserves 13,000+ at the YUM! on Saturday. I think we could get a 3 seed if only lose 3 more. The upcoming schedule has some very winnable games...Does anyone have an update on Mo? Hopefully good news and that she will be back in time for ND/Depaul

  2. also, Jude has been amazing thus far this season. She has cut down her to's a lot these past few games. Shame on the people who though Jude couldn't play big time minutes here. I wish the rest of our team played with as much intensity as she does on defense. A bundle of energy!!

  3. Can't remember which, but in either the pre or post game interview with Matt Andrews last night, they talked about Mo. She had surgery yesterday (a scope) and they did remove a small bone chip. The good news is that it did not seem to be a chip from last year's graph (?). Optimistic timeline would be about 7 days out, though Coach suggested could be as long as 3 weeks. His hope is that she will be available for the South Florida and DePaul games in late February at home.

  4. Any updates on Asia? Will she be able to get another redshirt?

    Man, just imagine if Shoni, Slaughter and Hammond all had a really good night on the same night!

  5. Wow! What an exciting game last night. My wife and I arrived right at tipoff, so I didn't have a chance to watch any warm ups. Traffic problems on I-75 coming up from Naples. I will say that Inga for USF is a excellent shooter and she and Shoni were toe to toe throwing threes up. A good group of Red clad fans there last night. Got to sit with the Allen family and the Davis's. Turned them on to Cardinal Couple, so if you all are reading this, welcome and thanks for a fun evening. I will say there might have been 1000 there in the SunDome last night and 500 or so were UofL fans. Paul has told me that the Cards support their teams well on the road and they made up about half the crowd last night

    Coach Walz and referee Dennis DeMayo were seeing things quite differently in the first half. Coach narrowly avoided a technical, in my opinion. Coach Walz's voice is unmistakeable and you could hear him shouting out instructions and play sets and patterns all night long. My wife hopes he doesn't go hoarse before the season ends. He puts so much into it and he was drowning out the crowd.

    Hated to see that first half lead vanquish but USF was getting good production out of the Smith twins and Inga. I also thought Louisville got some really bad calls from this referee crew. Shoni was, of course, amazing. She and Jude have a special bond together on the court and my wife and I talked about that during halftime. Went over to talk with a friend there (Bulls fan) and she told me that she was very disappointed in the turnout for the game.

    Then the second half began and the Bulls looked unbeatable for the first few minutes. Louisville looked almost non-caring and after USF got up by nine, during a timeout, Walz really let the time have it verbally. She also did some substituting that brought the Cards back around.

    As Jenny mentioned in her article, the last few minutes were nerve-racking. The teams were tied when Shoni nails a picture perfect three Then, Slaughter follows with one and the Cardinal fans in attendance went nuts. USF came back time and time again and we all breathed a sigh of relief when that final three by USF missed.

    Have no idea what all this game clock nonsense was at the end. The PA announcer here isn't the best in the world and they have been doing some renovations at the Sun Dome. Still, it was silly. You'd think USF had never operated a shot clock before.

    Tried to go down to the floor for you, Paul, to say Hi to your buddy Alex but he was busy with post game stuff. So was Walz. The security guys and gals were giving me menancing looks also, so we headed to the car. April gets up each morning at 6 a.m. to care for her aunt, so she was ready to head back to Naples.

    I was so proud of these Lady Cards last night. They really shone (or Shonied) at times and they handled adversity well and came back from it. I just might come up for the rematch against USF in the YUM! Center. Depending on the weather, of course. Tough to pull myself off these golf courses and beaches down here.

    --Joe Hill--

    1. Thanks for sharing, Joe! Hope April's Aunt Beth is doing OK. You married a saint, you did.


    2. Enjoyed it as well, Joe. We hope to follow the UofL women in post-season. Thank you for telling us about this site. My youngest daughter is an avid UofL women's basketball fan and loves it, as we all do!

      Thanks to Paulie and Sonja for providing it. I hadn't seen anything about William Frawley in awhile. And, Krystals are better than White Castles, Paulie.

      R. Allen
      St. Petersburg

  6. Great read, Joe. USF is a very tough team at home and should've beat ND earlier in the year. Lady Cards can't depend on Shoni to score 30+ every night. This team will need Mo for the DePaul and USF rematch. No one on either squad have anyone who can stop her from getting 25 - 30

    I doubt we would have Asia red shirt, to be honest. We have Emonnie Henderson coming in next year, who, in my honest opinion could be seeing a lot of playing time as a frosh.. Very good rebounder and her offensive skills are off the charts. Teams will have trouble with her and Hammond on the floor at the same time. Built like bulls!

  7. Man, I wish this had been televised! At least Matt Andrews is good at what he does, his call makes you feel like you are there.
    Exciting game to say the least! Shoni on fire and they evidently didn't have an answer for her the way we evidently had one for Orekhova. Kinda remember her starting off last year's game the same way whe did this one, but not much after that.
    Shoni may have scored a lot of points, but credit for this one goes to the team as a whole, everybody contributing what they could and playing some good defense when necessary. Not easy to go into Tampa and come out with a victory.
    Team still has some negatives to deal with, like missed bunnies, but I'd rather not harp about what is wrong rather than rave about what is right. I think the ladies have made huge strides this season, once again overcoming injuries to key players but still grinding out wins in ever improving fashion.
    Thanks Joe for the excellent post!

    Proud to be a Card fan!!!

  8. And Shoni balls like we knew she could! This game is why Waltz built the team around her. If she keeps her her grove like this look out. For a pure shooter the key is always confidence. Every close game they win makes them stronger and more confident even if they are shorthanded.

    I'm waiting to see Jude one on one with Diggins. It Waltz lets her do it will be her official coming out party.

    It is impossible to describe how valuable a close win like this on the road late in the season is to a program.

    We're perfectly positioned going forward. No point in worrying about who can't play. Work with what you have and stay hot, confident and aggressive.

    1. Just a note, it's WALZ not WALTZ. We, too, would like to see Jude waltz with Diggins.


  9. I think we could play ND tough if Bria and Shoni play defense for 40 minutes. I think Jude can handle her own against Skylar.

  10. Great article, Jenny!

  11. As I mentioned when Jude committed to UofL, I liked her game better than Shoni's which says alot and she is really showing it. And to think Jude really should be a Freshman this year skipping her freshman year in HS. Exciting win with what they have, "Waltz" lol is doing awesome!--Umatilla23


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