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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How Sweet (16) it is!


(Jenny O'Bryan with the recap of the exciting UofL win that propels the Louisville WBB team to the Sweet Sixteen!)

Photo by Jenny O'Bryan
Louisville Women’s Basketball is headed to Oklahoma City! They earned a berth to the Sweet 16 with a big win over Purdue, 76-63, at The KFC YUM Center on Tuesday night.  The Cardinals played their last game of the season at home in front of 9,236 rowdy fans. 

Each of the last two years the Cardinals have been ousted from the tournament on the home court of their opponent.  It is only fitting that it was their time to turn the tables on the opposition and play at home in front of a very appreciative fan base.

The game started a little slow for both teams.  Louisville committed six turnovers in the first five minutes of the game.   They settled in, went to work, and never surrendered the lead the entire game.    Louisville led by 15 at the half, 38-23.

Bria down after Taylor Manuel's elbow. She would
rise again and finish with seven points
The second half of play opened on a run by Purdue, and the Louisville shots were not falling.   As this team has been known to do, it appeared that the Cards just might give up their lead and let Purdue climb back in to it.   Purdue would get no closer than 10, with the Cardinal lead ballooning to 19 at one point, before the Cardinals finished the game in the win column. 

It was a fantastic game, a real team effort played with a lot heart and energy.  It was not a full 40-minute game for this bunch, but it was the closest they have come to a complete game.  It was also, by far, the best game I have seen out of this team all season! 

Nita and Jude are all smiles!
Sara Hammond was the player of the game with another double double, putting up 21 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.  She had a fantastic game, one much like we saw early season from her.  She picked a great night to return to her dominant ways and lead the Cards in scoring.

Antonita Slaughter has been in a bit of shooting slump the last few games.  She knocked down an early 3, and I knew she was going to have a fantastic game.  She appeared to be playing looser, lighter tonight.  The early bucket had to give her confidence and she set the pace for the Cards scoring 14 of her 16 points in the first half.   Slaughter chased down 3 offensive boards (her own missed 3 point attempts) and hustled all night long with and with out the ball. 

Monique Reid celebrated her 23rd birthday in style, playing her last game in front of her hometown fans, and scoring eight points and getting six boards in 23 minutes of play.  She played tough defensively and gave the Cards great energy of the bench. 

What we liked: 
-The Cardinals played a great game in the paint!  I do not have the final stats of points in the paint but by the looks of the team Tuesday night, one would never know two of the teams big bodies were sidelined with injuries.  This was the best looking game I have seen of banging the ball inside and getting points. 
- Passing the ball.  These tournament games have also provided us with some of the best passing of the season.  The Cardinals are moving with and without the ball and making good passes and has great ball rotation.
-Toughness and energy.  This was another brutal game, especially for Bria Smith.  Smith took some hard knocks, at least two that could have sidelined her.  She continued on and still gave 110% on both sides of the ball. 
- Jude Schimmel gets better and better.  I am on record early on this season of eating my words and growing to love the game of the younger Schimmel.  I was not convinced her freshman year she had what it took to hang in the Big East.  Am I ever glad to be proven wrong!  She continues to hone her ball handling and passing, all the while proving to be a great defender and a real pickpocket.  I love watching this young woman play defense!
-Shelby Harper!  What is not to love about this former walk-on.  Coach Walz calls a time out with 22 seconds left to get Shelby in to the game for the first time on the night.  She holds the ball in the backcourt, seemingly to let the clock run out.   Not so.  Instead, with 12 seconds left she drives down the lane and lays one in to score with 7 seconds left.  Shelby, you have the heart of a lion in that tiny frame of yours.  CardNation no doubt will miss you!

It is only fitting to me, that this team leaves the friendly confines and heads out to the Sweet 16 in such great fashion.  The crowd was loud and electric all night, and this team did not disappoint.  We have been saying it all season long here, and it bears repeating, that this is an injured squad.  This team has battled adversity all season long, and they have kept their heads up and in the game.  They have remained a top 20 team with 3, sometimes 4, would-be starters on the sidelines injured.  If that does not make you a proud Cardinal Fan, I am not sure what will. 

Photo by Charlie Springer - UofL Card Game.
Congratulations to my favorite team!  Way to go out in style.  You deserve it!

( A wonderful write-up on tonight's exciting win by Jenny! The Cards' task to advance to the "Great Eight" will be a tough one -- no doubt -- with #1 in the nation Baylor next.

Coach Walz commented in the post-game presser that he and the staff would come up with a game plan that would give them a chance against the Bears. Stopping Brit Griner will be no small task....especially since she's 6'8". But, believe....believe...believe. Nothing is impossible.)



43-5   KEITH B.
41-7   NELL J.
40-8   STEVE O., CURTIS F.

The rest of us...well, we have some catching up to do...

-- Paulie




  1. What a amazing night for UOFL Athletics! The sounds of screaming fans were so deafening, Purdue's Coach could not get the plays called. The UOFL fans do not disappoint and were in the game the entire time. I have never heard so much noise coming from so little!! Petino, Crum, Most of the Men's team, Jurich.....everyone was there for Our Cards. Never have I been prouder for our School, our Team. Wow....

    1. It was an amazing night. To see the fans on their feet roaring as the Cards built the lead to 18 in the second half was a sight I won't forget for some time. Bria Smith may be a little sore today afer the MMA tactics that Purdue used on her...but as Sara Hammond commented after the game...

      "we don't worry about an opponent's physicality anymore. WE played in the BIG EAST. It's every night in there."

      Cards best game of the season? Your thoughts? Light 'em up, were going to Oklahoma City to try and ruin a Bears picnic.


  2. Definitely the best game of the season given the stakes. Great effort from everyone. Outstanding tournament atmosphere with the two bands, cheerleaders and vocal fans.

    Highlights for me:
    - The first 3-pointer by Slaughter - you could see the relief on her face and it energized her and the team.
    - Jude - what more can you say about her improved play?
    - Hammond's second-half 3-pointer - did you notice that she did the "3 goggle" thing as she ran back down the court?
    - Shelby's last shot - loved the way that Hammond lifted her off the floor after the buzzer.

    No expectations as to Baylor. They will probably blow us out as they do everybody else. But we'll show up, play hard and give it our best shot.

    Did you see Tim Sullivan's column in the C-J? Sure there is a lack of parity in the women's game, but to limit the NCAAs to 16 or 8 teams is ludicrous. There weren't 16 teams that had a legitimate chance at winning the men's tourney, so following Sullivan's logic FGCU and LaSalle shouldn't have been included in it.

  3. First off, hats off to Card fans for showing up and getting LOUD!!! About as loud as any game I've been to, but even more than that, it was electrifying!!!
    Second, hats off to Coach Walz and staff for coming up with a winning game plan, and to the ladies for executing said game plan! That was as good a game as I've seen all year!.
    Stellar play from Sara, Shoni, minus the 10 turnovers (some of which were not her fault!), Bria, Nita, one legged Mo, Sherrone (minus that missed bunny!), and JUDE! I said early season that she would be known this year as more than just Shoni's little sister. Great point guard! Have a feeling she will end up all ACC before all is said and done. High assists (most of her assists are passes that are spot on the money!)-low turnovers-and will be a steals leader ala Russ and Peyton, her anticipation for the pass is off the charts. Sara will be the double double leader before she is done.
    It's games like that that make it oh so easy to be a proud Card fan!

  4. Still bouncing off the walls (not Walz) after the win last night. Sara snd the other girls can sugar coat it all they want, but Purdue was a mean, nasty, cheap trick, thugish team. Manuel especially. I thought she might have cracked a rib on Bria with that flagrant, intentional technical-worthy elbow that 9000+ fans say but three referees seemed to miss.

    Dee Kantner, you are slipping as a good ref. You need to lay off the dramatics and watch the game instead of show-boating.

    Great job last night Lady Cards. A great signature win. Sad that Baylor is next. I just want to keep watching and watching this team deep into April.

    Beat the Bears? Paulie, I admire your spirit but it ain't gonna happen.

    Curtis Franklin

    1. Could someone who watched the game on TV please explain what absurd explanation they had for not calling a flagrant foul on #50 Manuel? Bria picks up a foul after getting flat out flattened? Even after they went to the monitors?
      And yes, unless something dramatic happens to Griner before the game, we ain't winning. Just like everybody else! But that will not take away from what I consider a successful season! Just hope the ladies give it all they got!

  5. Jude comes into her own in the Tourney! She's becoming the straw that stirs the drink for the Lady Cards. The presser was classic. She just calls it like it is, gives all credit to others and takes none. With ballers like Jude & Hammond only being sophs plus Shoni and company the future looks bright.

  6. I'm sure this is out of line but Jude and Shoni's mom is a Babe.

    Just Sayin.

  7. I'm gonna say Louisville will win the next one by at least 30...please discuss. :)

  8. We can take the Bears down and shock the world. Look at the Men's Tournament. Number 1's go down all the time. We have to show Baylor that 6-8 don't mean a thing, bc we have Jude that waits till its time and will steal the ball from her. This season is a success in my book, regardless of lions, tigers or "BEARS"


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