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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pitt takes another hit -- Cards 78 - Panthers 45



- Five in double figures in 33-point Cardinal win

- Brackemyre says..."Yes" to Louisville!

- Softball sweeps in Vegas: Day Two

Louisville used balanced scoring, led by Shoni Schimmel's 22 points, to put Pitt away early and win 78-45 in the KFC YUM! Center Saturday afternoon in front of 10733 fans. The Cards used an early 17-5 run to take away any Pitt hopes of pulling off an upset. The win puts Louisville at 20-4 overall and 8-2 in the BIG EAST.

Starters: The "S" troops (Shoni, Sara, Sherrone, Slaughter and Smith) opened the game for Louisville, scored off the opening tip on a Nita Slaughter layup and never trailed in the contest. With the score 4-3 after a 3-ball by Pitt's Brianna Kiesel, the Cards held the Panthers to just one basket and three free throws in the next nine minutes to lead 21-8 with 9:58 left in the first half.

After Kiesel's three, Sara Hammond connected on a jumper, Bria Smith cashed in on a layup and Sherrone Vails scored inside to make it 10-5 with 16:28 remaining and head Pitt coach Agnus Berenato called a thirty-second time out to talk about it. The conversation did not solve much...back-to-back layups by Shoni and Bria had it at 14-5 and Berenato stopped action again for another discussion. (Shoni's assist to Bria for her score was a nifty, behind-the-head, no-look pass that only Shoni could have pulled off.) A Shoni jumper, score from Megan Deines and three by Jude Schimmel made it 21-7 at the media timeout with 11:51 to go.

Shoni scored the next five points for Louisville and the Cards led 29-14 when Bria hit again with 6:11 on the clock. A free throw from Shoni, layup by Hammond, layup by Deines and then Hammond again inside had Louisville enjoying a 36-14 advantage with 2:46 showing until the half. The Panthers did outscore Louisville 6-3 the rest of the way and Louisville went to the locker room holding a 39-20 edge.

Shoni led the way in the first twenty with 14 points on 5-8 shooting. Hammond and Smith followed with six, Jude contributed five, Denies was good for 4 and Slaughter and Vails added two each. Shelby Harper and  Cortnee Walton played but did not score...Walton did grab four rebounds in 10 minutes of first-half action.

The Cards began the final twenty in red-hot fashion, going on a 18-5 run in the first five and one half minutes. A  Hammond free throw got the scoring started, Smith followed with a layup, Deines buried a three and Hammond added two more charity tosses to give the Cards a 48-23 edge just three minutes into action. Shoni scored inside and a Slaughter three put Louisville ahead by 30...layups from Slaughter and Deines had Louisville ahead 57-25. A Smith jumper doubled the score on Pitt at 70-35 with 7:46 to go and the Cards largest lead came at 72-35 a minute later after a Smith free throw.

From there on, it was just a matter of how much Louisville would win by. Deines looked good in hitting all three of her trifecta attempts in the second half and Slaughter put in eight second-half points as the Cards tried different combinations over the final minutes. Pitt did outscore the Cards 10-6 in the final 6:25 of the second half.  

Final....Louisville 78- Pitt 45

Shoni ended up with 22, Deines 17, Smith 11, Slaughter and Hammond 10 each to reach double figures. Jude added five points, Vails finished with two and Harper one. The birthday girl Walton had five rebounds, a steal and some very good defense but ended 0-3 from floor and 0-2 from the line.

Louisville lost the boards battle 34-32 to the Panthers, but went 30-63 from the floor (47.6%)...compared to 16-45 shooting for Agnus' girls (35.6%). The Cards won the points off turnovers battle 27-9 and committed just 11 miscues while forcing Pitt into 26. 14 steals for Louisville, but only 10-17 at the foul line.

Pitt was without leading scorer Asia Logan (separated shoulder) and season-starting point guard Brittany Gordon (foot).

6'11" center Marvadene "Bubbles" Anderson is on a red-shirt and did not make the trip. I was severely disappointed over this. A brief conversation with a couple of Pitt players in the pre-game warm-ups garnered me an invitation to the Peterson Event Center next year to watch "Bubbles" play. I may take champagne.


1) Teamwork. The Cards had 18 assists and just 11 turnovers. The days of standing around and dribbling the ball waiting for something to happen appear to be over.

Photo by Charlie Springer - UofL Card Game
2) Sold on Schimmel. Shoni has been spectacular over the last several games and today's numbers (22 points, six assists, two turnovers, two steals and four boards) show us she's no longer just a shooter. We feel it's because of Bria's increased time at the point. Shoni says it's just hard work. Whatever the reason, we'll have another, and another, and...more please.

3) Deines delivers. 7-11 from the field and no longer running the court with the deer-in-the-headlights look. She's moving on offense. She's having fun out there (just ask her) and it shows.


1) Free throws. 58.8% today. The Cards are 11th. in the league in this stat. Smith's 1-4 indicates to us she needs to spend more time practicing the freebies. She might stop by and pick up Walton on the way to the gym, too. (0-2).

2) Wide open shots. If there was a stat in the BIG EAST for blown layups and wide open shots under basket, the Cards would be the going-away leader. If Walz had a dollar for each get the point. Close-in, layups..gotta make those.

3) Front-line rebounding. Starters Vails, Slaughter and Hammond combined for only 10 today. The same number Shoni and Bria had. We feel Walton may have just assumed the role of the Cards best interior rebounder (that isn't injured). She had five today.


A win that needed to be accomplished in convincing fashion and job done within the scope of successfulness. If the Cards were looking ahead to Norte Dame Monday night, it wasn't showing. Jeff Walz just asks for his players to play good and how they are taught in practice. They did that today, except at the free throw line and on some "how did she miss that?" wide open looks and layups. 

Pitt is hurting. A shame, really...the program was once a tough opponent under Agnus. Having two starters out didn't help today, but the body of work is 0 for 10 in the BIG EAST this year. They were young last year, they're still pretty young this year...but it's beginning to look like they're putting in an early bid for doormat of the ACC, in addition to the BIG EAST title they already share in that category with Cincinnati.

Post Game Walz below. The Ho-Jo Show returns for another yeoman performance, getting in all the questions for Walz but one...before the video below stopped unexpectedly.

 Coach Walz Discusses Win Over Pitt


Good news for the WBB squad in another area, too. Ohio prep star Sydney Brackemyer has committed verbally to the Cards. The junior is going to be a force here. A great "get" for Louisville. Welcome aboard, SYD!

The Clinton-Massie hoopster is currently sidelined with a ACL knee injury but expected back full force for her senior year. Louisville beat out Dayton and Michigan for her services...the 2014 recruiting class is off to a great start...  

The softball Cards took two in the Sportco Classic in Las Vegas on Saturday...downing DePaul 8-2 and uphending UCF 5-3.


This one started rather slow...scoreless after three innings with DePaul ace Kristen Verdun and Cardinal transfer Rachel LeCoq hooked up in a pitcher's duel.

The Cards broke loose in the fourth inning, though...with a six-run barrage. After Taner Fowler started the inning with and walk and Jordy Trimble reached on an error, Whitney Arion's bunt single got Fowler to the plate on a throwing error. A walk to Krista Mann loaded the bases and a walk to JSW (our new name for Jasmien Smithson-Willett) brought home Trimble. Kayla Soles then poked a deep triple, clearing the bases an it was 5-0 Cards. Katie Keller tripled also, scoring Soles and Louisville had a 6-0 lead.

The Cards added one in the sixth. Maggie Ruckenbrod doubled, Chrisanna Roberts came in to pinch run and scored on a Keller ground-out.

DePaul countered with two runs, but the Cards added an insurance run in the top of the seventh when Trimble doubled and two wild pitches got her to the plate.

LeCoq went the distance for UofL, allowing six hits, and two unearned runs.


Louisville struck early in the nightcap...getting three first inning runs. Alicja Wolny had a two-RBI double and Whitney Arion doubled the senior first-baseman home.

UCF's Haley Barraco tied the contest at 3-3 in the top of the fifth with a two-run "tocuh 'em all" off Cardinal starting pitcher Caralisa Connell.

Keller returned the favor, though, in the sixth with a solo shot over the left field fence to give UofL a 4-3 lead.

Louisville added a run in the top of the seventh when Ruckenbrod doubled, was lifted for JSW to pinch-run and Soles smashed a double to get the freshman to the plate for a 5-3 Cardinal advantage.

"Carl" gets the win...allowing five hits and fanning eight UCF batters in seven innings.

The Cards face Minnesota tomorrow.



  1. Great teamwork and good win! Nice to get to 20. I was a little surprised to see Shoni's comment about ND just being another conference game. Hoping they really get up for it and make it happen. It's half of a national TV doubleheader on Monday. Great exposure for our program, particularly if we take it to the Irish!

  2. The first rule of confidence is not exposing any weakness to the opposition. Shoni passes the test. A statement about how big a stage, tough opponent, etc only goes to show your doubt of success. The Irish will know they've been in a game.


  3. There's nothing wrong with letting an opponent know you're ready to go toe to toe. Hardly shows weakness or doubt.

    No one believes more in this team than I do, but they've yet to show the killer instinct they'll need to succeed at tourney time.

    Schooling 0 fer Pitt doesn't get them any closer. As far as exposed weaknesses we can start with not making layups and freethrows. Trust me when I say that ND is already aware of them.

    If we're going to legitimately push into a top tier program we need to be ready to do war in the tough games. Let's not forget how Maryland John Wayned us in the tourney last year.

    In any case we're going to see what our Lady Cards are made of on a national stage on Monday night. We'll all know a lot more about this team by Tuesday morning.

    1. The Maryland win last year wasn't so much of a "John Wayn-ing" as it was a "Shakiest Gun In The West" with Don Knotts. The Cards led late in the contest but got schooled on the boards.

      Muffet McGraw is one of the best coaches in the NCAA WBB. After last night's five overtime heartbreaker for Pitino and crew, the Lady Cards know what the Irish fan base can do.


    2. Maybe I watched a different game. The Terps pushed us around all game, particularly on the boards. Decent shooting & old fashioned hustle kept us in it but at the end the physicality won out. I don't like their style of play at all, but if the refs are going to let them play that way in the NCAAs then we have to come to the party with force. We didn't. It's no small coincidence that many of those game pics have our ballers picking each other up off the floor. Don't get me wrong, I'm totally proud of what they did last year, but if we don't learn from that exercise then shame on us.

  4. What better way to let the next opponent know you are ready for them than to tell them it's not a big game, just the next game on the schedule (even if it IS a big game!)?
    And I hate to get picky but I think the Cards are showing a little bit of the killer instinct. They killed Pitt yesterday the way they were supposed to and they absolutely Slaughtered (had to throw that in!) Sugar Rodgers and G'town.

    1. Couldn't agree more, K-Man. Why boost their ego by playing it up? Walk in, you're on a business trip, you've been there, done that and TCB.


  5. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm not really an advocate of magical thinking. Everyone that knows WCBB knows it's a big game, particularly for us. Every time ND suits up its a big game. WCBB fans also know that our program hasn't had a big win as far as beating a highly ranked opponent like ND in some time.

    I guess it depends upon how you define killer instinct. For me it certainly isn't smoking the worst team in the conference at home. It's having discipline and executing at the end of games in close contests which is something that Walz has indicated on multiple occasions this year that he wasn't happy with. (I spelled his name right)

    We'll see how we handle their four guard offense. ND can shoot the rock. Someone needs to get up and into Diggins early on. If they can impact her game like they did Rodgers then we have a chance. ND's offense is much more balanced than Georgetown's. They regularly have four starters in double figures.

    I'm looking for Jude to have the best game of her career tomorrow. If she and Bria can disrupt Diggins we may get there. Shoni is finally back in her offensive grove which will help. Hopefully we'll decide to rebound.

    It's a great opportunity for a program making performance on the national stage. It's all good. A win would be amazing but just performing at a respectable, competitive level to a national TV audience will be great for our future regardless of the outcome.

    1. Ok...stating the obvious. Yes, everyone knows it's a big game. The point I guess we're trying to make here is confidence in the face of a challenge. And, yes...Notre Dame is talented.

      Walk in quietly. Stare the foe in the face, return the gaze and stand your ground. Leave, regardless of the outcome, with your pride intact if you left it all out on the court.


  6. ND is very beatable. I would feel really good about tomorrow if we had Mo and Asia. Those two have always played great against ND. We need to pound the ball into Sara and try to get Natalie Achonwa in foul trouble (staff wanted her badly!!) I like our chances to beat ND rather than UCONN. UConn always beats us because they have a big time center...or two

  7. Appreciate the condescending response. Thank god you're around to state the obvious for those of us that just really don't get it.

    I'll find another blog that takes women Card basketball seriously.

    1. And, that...of your prerogative. Or am I being too obtuse here? I'll spot our coverage against any, though. Even if it is obvious. Attempts to hire a psychic and Puntxatawney Phil failed...


  8. OSU, CMU, South Florida, and A&M have played ND very close this season. I think we have a good shot. I am worried about ND driving and getting a ton of foul shots.

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  10. We have to keep Hammond on the court. And everyone on the floor has to rebound the basketball. If we can do those two things, I think we have a big chance at an upset.

  11. Hey Paulie - That whole Strong / Silent thing worked out really well for you and your crew. Good Call.

    Complete Team / Game Failure. Coaching, Preparation and Execution. It could have just as easily been a 40 to 45 point loss. We started mailing it in with twelve minutes left in the game. Stunningly poor performance on the national stage.

    Just a footnote - ignoring the obvious usually doesn't work out too well.

    Obtuse that. Try being less of a Tool going forward.

  12. Oh Yeah - Lots of Pride intact after that circus.


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