Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Thursday Cardinal Couple -- "S" troops lead Louisville WBB to win over UCF 75-56
THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- Strong finishes in each half give Cards 19 point win.
Shoni Schimmel (27), Sara Hammond (22) and Bria Smith (10) scored all but 16 of Louisville's points tonight and the Cards put together a 17-3 end of first half run and 9-1 closing run to dispatch the Central Florida Golden Knights tonight in front of 7067 fans in the KFC YUM! Center Wednesday night.
The game also featured a new Jeff Walz offensive strategy...3 on 5. With the Cards up 25-23, Walz called a 30 second time-out and replaced the five UofL players (Smith, Cortnee Walton, Asia Taylor, Tia Gibbs and Nita Slaughter) on the court with three (Megan Deines, Monny Niamke and Shoni). Sara Hammond and Emmonnie Henderson didn't respond quickly enough...the ball was inbounded and Monny drew a foul which allowed the Louisville front line to enter the game.
If anything, it gave the crowd and the media a chuckle and was an interesting beginning to a 17-3 half ending run...where Sara Hammond scored eight of the first ten points in the process...Louisville rolling to a comfortable, if not overly impressive and uneven 42-26 halftime lead.
It was...at least five quality minutes of first half hoops for the Cards, who could not seem to get any offensive production except from Sara inside, Shoni outside and Bria at the charity stripe. The Cards were 50% (15-30) from the floor and 81% (9-11) from the free throw line.
The Cards would build on that end-of-first-half momentum and outscore UCF 13-6 in the first 5:32 of the final period to lead 55-32 after one of Shoni's five three pointers in the contest.
It looked like 'rout city' was on the horizon...but the Knights displayed a little chippiness of their own. UCF center Brittini Montgomery blocked a Tia Gibbs layup attempt with 12:31 left in the game and did a little "woofing" in Tia's face. The players were quickly separated and then both players were called for technicals...even though it appeared Gibbs did nothing except stand her ground.
UCF had trimmed the Cardinal advantage to 58-45 after a Zy Lewis layup with 10:12 remaining. The teams pretty much traded baskets (and misses) for the next eight minutes...UCF narrowing the margin to 11 when Montgomery hit a shot in the paint to make it 66-55 with 2:43 left.
Sara and Shoni combined to get eight of the Cards final nine points of the game and the Cardinal defense limited UCF to a lone free throw to secure the victory.
Hats off to the two UCF players ( Lewis and Sara Djassi) who Walz told his team they needed to shut down. Diminutive and speedy Lewis had 14 points...mostly on wild drives to the basket for layups and Djassi blistered the Cardinal "D" for 28 points on 9-20 shooting.
Shoni's made five threes were the only successful long range attempts in the Cards 5-17 trifecta bombing. She hoisted 14 of them...Sara, Tia and Nita missed their only attempts. Sara was 9-13 from the floor and Bria a sparkling 6-6 from the line. Asia Taylor led the Cards with nine rebounds.
Jude sat again, as expected, with the bum ankle and Shawnta Dyer did not see action either (knee soreness). Megan Deines drew the start and contributed four points, five rebounds and four fouls in 20 minutes. Tia, who probably wasn't needed, saw 12 minutes and scored two points on 1-4 shooting. Nita Slaughter had a mostly invisible 18 minutes on the court, 1-2 from the floor and three fouls.
A 19 point win is good, right? I guess it depends on who is viewing it...
Although Walz seemed glad over the 17-3 run to end the first half...he's still seeking consistency from the all the players he has on the court at the same time. He admitted a performance like tonight by his charges would "get them killed" against a UConn or Notre Dame. He is also still looking for players to step up and assign responsibility and challenge other players who mess up on the court.
The rather quick and somewhat terse post-game press conference indicates that Coach grimly realizes there is still much work to be done with this team. The playful demeanor of his Tuesday night radio show was replaced with a matter-of-fact critique of what the Cards aren't doing right.
Louisville heads to the Lone Star state next for a pair...facing (12-5) SMU in Dallas on Sunday and (4-12) Houston on Tuesday. In the link below, Coach Walz discusses the UCF game.
COACH WALZ DISCUSSES UCF GAME
THE FINAL WORD
YOU HAD TO ADMIRE THE GRIT AND DETERMINATION THAT UCF DISPLAYED WEDNESDAY NIGHT. UNTIL THE FINAL 3 MINUTES OR SO OF THE GAME...UCF REFUSED TO YIELD AND STAYED FAIRLY CLOSE.
DJASSI AND LEWIS ARE BALLERS. HINES IS A GODD REBOUNDING GUARD AND THEY HAVE THE USUAL ASSORTMENT OF THREE OR FOUR INTERIOR THUGS THAT TAKE UP SPACE AND PROVIDE VERY LITTLE ELSE.
UCF WASN'T GOING TO UPSET THE CARDS...THE SUPERIOR BALLPLAYING SKILLS OF SHONI, SARA, BRIA AND ASIA WEREN'T GOING TO LET THAT HAPPEN. THE SLOW START AND SECOND HALF STALL-OUT ARE ITEMS WALZ NEEDS TO ADDRESS, THOUGH AND FIND A CURE FOR. BESIDES UCONN...RUTGERS WILL ALSO CAPITALIZE AND USE IT AGAINST LOUISVILLE.
YES, JUDE SCHIMMEL WAS MISSED. 'CASH' MONNY TRIES TO FILL THE SPOT AND IS THE CARDS BEST LOCKDOWN DEFENDER BUT COULD USE A REFRESHER COURSE IN RECOGNIZING OPPONENTS' DEFENSIVE SETS AND A FEW HOURS PRACTICING FREE THROWS EACH DAY.
BOTTOM LINE? UOFL IS 17-1 NOW AND #5 IN THE NATION. THINGS COULD BE A WHOLE LOT WORSE IN CARDINALVILLE. SOMETIMES, YOU WIN UGLY. IT'S STILL A "W".
THE TOUGH CONTESTS ARE AHEAD. IF THE CARDS CAN TAKE OF BUSINESS IN TEXAS, A 'SO-SO' MEMPHIS TEAM WILL PROVIDE A NICE HOME TUNE-UP FOR A TRIP TO PISCATAWAY TO VISIT C-VIV AND THE SCARLET KNIGHTS AT THE END OF JANUARY.
ONE GAME AT A TIME. ONE WIN AT A TIME. IT ISN'T A BEAUTY CONTEST...IT'S TAKING CARE OF UNFINISHED BUSINESS....