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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday Cardinal Couple -- Final Four Bound!!!


-Cards headed to the Final Four!

(Jenny O'Bryan with the byline on the thrilling Lady Cards victory that puts them in the Final Four Sunday night against California.)

Wow, where do you start?  This team is absolutely peaking at the right time.  Good coaching?  Believing?  Hard work finally paying off?  All of the above?  Whatever it is, it looks good on these Cardinals!

Louisville Women’s Basketball pulled off yet another shocker in the world of women’s basketball.  Defeating Baylor on Sunday night was a shock like none other in this game.  Everyone questioned how Louisville and Coach Walz would rebound from that emotional outing.  Question answered!  Louisville takes down Tennessee to make only their 2nd ever Final Four appearance.  This could not have happened to a better group of young women. 

Louisville started the game with a bang.  Hot out of the gates the Cards were passing nicely, hitting some shots and causing all kinds of turnovers for Tennessee.   Tennessee looked dazed and confused.  Louisville was crashing the boards, especially the offensive boards, better than I have ever seen during the first half.   Louisville takes a 41-26 lead into halftime. 

The Cardinals came out of halftime and opened with a pass to Mo Reid down low under the bucket for an easy 2.  After a turnover, the Cards hit back-to-back 3’s to grow the lead to 20 points.  It seemed too easy.  Well, easy it was not.  Tennessee was not going away quietly.  Senior Taber Spani got hot in the second half and slowly helped to chip away the lead Louisville had built.  From about the 12 minute mark until the 3:00 minute mark, it looked like Tennessee just might catch the Cards.    It was not to be.  The Cards sparked a scoring spree, led by a lay in by Shoni Schimmell that saw the  
lead balloon back up to 12 with just under a minute to go.

The Cardinals held on and won, 86-78. 

Shoni Schimmel was named the Regions Most Outstanding Player, and with good reason.  She has found her groove this postseason and led the team in scoring in both the Baylor game (22) and the Tennessee game (24). 

While S. Schimmel has really stepped up her game and is deserving of the award, overall, all of the Cardinals are playing incredible ball this post season.  Coach Walz has said it all season long, we have said it here, if this team could all play well on the same night, they can compete with anyone in the country.  That is exactly what they are doing this postseason. Every one of these players has upped their game!

From crisp passing, crashing the boards, stellar defense and an onslaught of offensive options the Louisville Women’s Basketball team is putting it all together at the right time.  They are playing hard and having fun and winning.  What more can you ask for? 

The Cardinals will head to the Final Four for just the second time in the history of the program.  Both appearances in the Final Four have been led by Coach Jeff Walz.  Louisville is just the second 5 seed to ever make it to the Final Four. 
This is also only the 10th time that the same University has both its men’s and women’s team both in the Final Four.

This has been no walk in the park for Louisville Basketball.  Louisville has played and beaten a #4 seed (Purdue), a #1 seed (Baylor) -- the overall #1 team in the country and prohibitive favorite to repeat as National Champions -- and a #2 seed (Tennessee). So much for your seeding theories, NCAA.

Louisville will face the #2 seed California Golden Bears in the semifinal game on Sunday evening in New Orleans.  Should the team win that game they will face another #1 seed in either UConn or Notre Dame.   It should be noted that Cal is making it to the Final Four for the first time in their programs history. 

Coach Walz said it best in his interview after the game.  “We are the ugly ducklings of the tournament.  No one wanted or expected us here.  But our journey continues”. 

So it does.  My room is secure in New Orleans.  I anticipate securing my tickets to the games early   Will you be headed to New Orleans to ride this wave with our beloved Cardinals? 

Congratulations Coach Walz, and the entire coaching staff.  You have given this team every opportunity to grow as players, and they have risen to the occasion.  You have given this team the belief and confidence that they can win, and they have.  You have given this team every reason to believe that there are still 2 wins left to be had.   Excellent, excellent coaching!  Congratulations. 

 The media is calling this team Cinderella, I simply call it Louisville Basketball!


Just a quick thought.   I have said it, the media has said it, Coach Walz has said it, Cardinal Couple has said it…just think what this team could do if it were healthy.   With 3 would be starters on the bench, just how good could this team be if they were healthy? 

We will never know the answer to that questions, but….

This is the second season that Louisville Basketball has battled significant injuries.  Due to those injuries, Bria Smith and Sara Hammond got thrown out of the frying pan into the fire their freshman year.  Due to injuries this year, Jude is getting more time, and Antonita Slaughter has had a break out year.  Injuries are a part of the game.  Every program deals with them.  Perhaps Louisville Basketball is as strong as it is because of these injuries.   The growth of the aforementioned players has been critical in getting the team to where they are today.  Maybe, just maybe, the injuries have helped this program.

I have my opinions.  What are yours?  Let us know in the comment section.  

-Jenny O'Bryan


In a season where the Lady Cards have through the benching of Shoni for a half, a thumping by Syracuse to end the season and by Notre Dame to end the conference the death of two of the players' grandmothers...the adversity, injuries and conflicts are all now water under the bridge.

Jeff Walz is headed to Lou Orleans. 64 entered, four remain.

Celebrate with other Cardinal fans tonight at Ulmer Stadium as Louisville plays UK in softball at 6 p.m. We have confirmation on the report that the team will be arriving back today at 12:45 p.m. at the Student Activities Center. 



  1. still can't sleep and in 3 hours I go to work.....What a ride these girls are taking us on! What they have accomplished in the last three games, beating a 4, 1,and 2 seed has to be one of the best runs by ANY team in the history of womens basketball. What I have learned is Jeff Walz and his staff get their teams ready to play their best ball in the NCAA tourney. Look at who they have beat the last 6 years. Baylor(2X), Oklahoma-1 seed, Maryland-1 seed, Xaiver-2 seed, LSU at their place, Tennessee-2 seed. Impressive!!! What a time to be a Cardinal Fan!

  2. Wow...I couldn't be prouder of what this team has accomplished. Last night....Mo playing 33 minutes on one leg. Shoni, fearless as always, but totally under control. And JUDE!!!!! - she made every play in the last four minutes. Still can't believe that last year I thought she couldn't play at this level. Guess that's why Walz is coaching and not me.

    I commented before Baylor that I didn't expect a win. I sad the same thing here before Tennessee. I'll say it again - I don't expect a win against Cal. But what I do expect is that Walz will have them prepared, and that they will leave it all out there on the floor.

    L1C4 Baby!!!!

    1. Mercedes - it is not too late to make the right decision. Go Jude - you rock!

    2. It would be fitting and funny if Louisville put up another billboard in Russell's hometown of Shoni cutting down the nets...what caption would you use?


    3. I go with Possibility City. Not Barbeque Bugtussle.


  3. Always felt we could play with and beat all the teams seeded 2 or lower (higher?), so not really surprised we handled TN. Ladies are playing solid ball, and those of us who have watched them all season knew it was only a matter of time. Granted, I thought it would be next year, considering we get most everybody back and they will have solid re-enforcements, but they are peaking this year at just the right time. Belief in the system, belief in their abilities, and belief in their teammates. Hardworking group of girls deserve everything they have gotten so far!

    On another note-this has to be doing wonders for recruiting and expanding the fan base!

    "You may be Britney Griner, but I'M SHONI SCHIMMEL!!!"

  4. Jenny I think that if you add an Asia, Shawnta and Tia to this team, they still end up here and maybe don't lose such big leads to UK, Baylor and Tennessee because of depth. Look at the final minutes. Hammond in the post instead of Vails and a very tired Nita and Jude on the court. Maybe not as tired if Tia, Asia and Shawnta available for minutes. Bria fouls out and you have Tia there? I don't know, but it is fun speculation.

    It has been a great run and Cal looks like a walk in the park after these last two. Paulie, the redemption train rolls on!

    Curtis Frankin
    UofL Fan

    1. Excellent point. The point differential when Shoni, Jude, and Bria are in the line-up together is negative.
      --PDX Phil

  5. Great end to this season would be to beat UConn in the final!

  6. Ok guys, dont think like Baylor and TN, can't over-look anyone. But all I gotta' say is Cal hasn't played the same caliber, and Louisville is battle tested. I take back the words about finding a big physical post lol We're good with what we got. WOW FINAL 4!!! HEEEEEY JUDE!!!! She is really showing what I have boasted about before she came to Louisville, you remember? Nixyaawii here we come!!!! REP' ALL NDN NATIONS AND THE CAYUSE-UMATILLA-WALLAWALLA!!! EHEE EHHE!!! ----UMATILLA23

  7. BTW, Lets head to New Orleans PDX Phil! Pick me up here at Umatilla Rez, follow the Oregon Trail to MO and shoot down to the party lol--Umatilla23

    1. Believe me, U23, I thought seriously about making the trip, but I was in Louisville last week for the two games, and I can't miss that much work. Maybe I can be a guest on the Rez on Sunday and watch it with you there? You can come to Portland some time and watch a Blazers game with me.
      --PDX Phil

  8. Just ordered tickets and got a hotel room in NOLA. Spouse can't go but I found a traveling companion. Go Cards!

  9. PDX Phil..Your not scared to come here? lol jk. My fiance always in the back watching her shows so I have plenty of room lol. Long ways to watch a game on TV :-) But I dont mind the company. I am over your way alot for my daughters appts, stay at Ronald McDonalds house almost every month.--Umatilla23

  10. Just out on a Lady Bears site, Our Daily Bears, lots of hate for our team and coach. Of course no mention of the rough play of Griner and company. Hey Makayla, Kyvin, Becca and Mercedes.....second guessing yourselves? I couldn't be more proud of this group, my favorite team ever. Get well Kevin Ware. GO CARDS! L1C4!


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