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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wednesday Cardinal Couple -- Cardinals win in Florida


Louisville Women’s Basketball made another trip to sunny Florida escaping a cold, wet, and icy ,wintry day.  The team travelling to UCF to close out the home and away, trying to sweep the Knights in their lone year in the American. 

The starting five for the Cardinals were Tia Gibbs, Shoni Schimmel, Sara Hammond, Antonita Slaughter and Asia Taylor.    Bria Smith did not play due to knee pain.  The Cardinals did not need Smith, thus letting her rest the knee for the Sunday game against Uconn (presumably).  
At times the team was moving the ball well and pounding the ball inside with Sara Hammond and Asia Taylor and Emmonnie Henderson, growing more confident with every game.  The Cards then went in to slumber mode, seemingly checking out for extended periods during the half. 

Emmonnie Henderson came off the bench with some immediate defensive prowess creating a steal and hit two beautiful shots impacting the game immediately offensively.   Henderson had a great half of play providing a solid performance.   Henderson was leading scorer for the Cards in the first half with 10 points and 2 rebounds for the freshman in 8 minutes of play.  I continue to be more and more impressed with “ E”. 

Megan Deines also came off the bench and made an immediate impact as well.  Strong defense, pulling down rebounds, and back-to-back “and one’s” kept Deines in the game as Shoni Schimmel hit the bench with early fouls.  Deines had an impressive stat line with 5 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in 11 minutes.   This is a very strong performance from Deines, and welcomed with Smith watching this one from the sidelines. 

The halftime stats have the Cardinals outrebounded by the Knights by two.
The Cardinals had 11 assists on 18 field goals.  Overall it was a good half of play with good ball movement, and a very strong performance by the post players.  The Cards lead at that half, 44-33. 

The second half opened with the same five.   The Cardinals started strong with a strong defensive effort creating several turnovers and going on a 7-2 run to lift the Cards to the greatest lead at 16 with 14 minutes to go in the game.  With 13+ minutes left in the game Shoni hit a three, scoring in double digits for the 22nd consecutive game, her best streak ever.  The BOOM appeared to be in full effect. 

Then, the air went out of the Cardinals sail, and the mental lapse was in full effect.

The outcome of this game was never in question.  However, they made it harder that it had to be.  The Cardinals win it 74-59.   It is hard to nitpick against a team that is 23-1, winning its 16th in a row, setting a school record.  However, with UConn looming on the horizon, the tournament a short distance in the future, there is certainly room to grow. 

The biggest take away from the second half, for me, was the lack of a killer instinct to put the game away.  Coach Walz has been talking about it all season, and it was evident again tonight.   The Cards started the second half strong, up by as much as 20 points, the team takes their foot off the gas pedal and let the Knights claw back in to the game. 

Missed layups, unnecessary fouling that put the Knights at the line time after time, silly turnovers.  Mental lapses?  Over confidence?  I am not sure, and I know Coach Walz is trying to understand it.   The Cardinals have been their own worst enemies late in games when up by double digits.

The long stretches of mental lapses and not putting the game away when having the opportunity has not hurt the Cardinals, yet.  That is about to change with the upcoming meetings against Connecticut and the rematch with Rutgers at the YUM Center later this month.    With stiffer competition, and every team playing to live another day in March, play like this could knock the team out of the tourney early. 

Up next for the Cardinals is Connecticut on Sunday.  Lapses against Uconn, like the one’s thus far this season, will have the Cardinals coming home with a very, very lopsided loss.  I know this team is talented, and is able to compete.  We will learn on Sunday just how tough this team is, and just how much more work is to do before March hits. 

jenny o’bryan


  1. The final margin was about what I expected. I did not expect a stellar performance.

    That said, there were two things I really didn't like. By my count, UCF rebounded five of their missed free throws. And I lost count of the number of missed layups.

    On his post-game radio show Walz sounded very pessimistic about Smith playing Sunday.

  2. It was a sub-par effort but Walz did go deep into the bench and I don't think the team ever felt they were on the ropes. E has to get herself in line with Walz's philosophy. As he mentioned in the post game, she is not a shot-blocker.

    This team has no chance against UConn The Huskies destroyed SMU last night by 41. Without Brianna Banks. All Cardinal fans can hope for is not getting embarassed up there.

    How does UofL stay close? Bleeding the clock dry. Working inside early to Sara and Asia. Without Smith, Tia will need to rebound and hit a three or two early. Shoni needs one of those 9 for 13 performances.

    Interesting that that are playing this one in the on campus facility Gampel Pavillion instead of the XL Center.

    If Louisville can stay within 20, and the only way they can do that is slowing the game down, I will consider it a moral win.

    And, Coach...clean up your language. Kids are listening.

    Curtis Franklin

    1. UConn didn't beat SMU by 41, they beat them by 61!!! Crazy.

      We need Shoni, Nita and Tia to all be dialed in from long range, take care of the ball, move the ball, block out, play hard for 40 minutes and hope that UConn gets in foul trouble. Not having Bria won't help.

    2. Shoni, Nia and Tia are not going to get any open shots in the half court. UConn will not collapse on the ball if it goes inside either on a pass or a drive. They will leave their bigs to defend the paint, and defenders will face card Shoni and Nia to deny them the ball. The only chance they will get at a shot is in transition after a turnover.

      This is a terrible time to lose Brea because she is the one player UConn will have trouble stoppping her drives if she puls up for a short range jump shot because UConn's putside defenders will npt leave the shooters to help on Brea's drives, adn she is difficult for anyone to defend one on one, Also Jude and Monny will have a tough time tin this game because of their size and because UConn player will be playing ball denial to the Cards outside shooter, so they are going to find it difficult to find an open player to whom to pass the ball. With her heigjt and off dribble moves, Brea would be the one player that might have a good game in the half court. Also Brea has been theCards best defender over the last month. This is a terrible time to lose Brea.

      Sarah may get some decent looks at a short range jumper, but Stewart is going to give Asia fits. I think the cards should go all out with trapping defenses to try to force turnovers and get shots in transition.

      I would add to those who thought UL played a subpar game against UCF that UCF is a tough physical team and has some bigs who are tough to handle. UCF at home gave UConn their closest game in the conference so far. Gary W.

  3. Nice piece Jenny. It's a long shot vs UConn but far from impossible. I don't see how going inside offensively against their height will work. All three of their bigs are on tears this year when it comes to shot blocking. Maybe go inside to get their defense to come off the three point line and then look for gaps out there. Any way you cut it if we're not hot from outside it's going to be a long night.

    We need a couple quick fouls on either Dolson or Stewart. Stokes is pretty good but not nearly as strong as them particularly on offense. As good as UConn is when a team only has seven scholarship ballers suiting up it doesn't take too many glitches or folks having an off night to make things interesting.

    My opinion:
    - Need early foul trouble for their bigs. Maybe E needs to play early and go right at them.
    - Gotta box out to keep their Bigs off the boards. Mike's right on the free throws
    - Gotta move the ball inside out to create space on the three ball line
    - Need at least two of our three ball savants to be hot hot hot
    - Gotta want it and get some emotion going

    Kinda a long list but stranger things have happened.

  4. OT: With a greater number of NCAAW games now available for viewing I have observed what seems to be a large number of fouls called during attempts to block a defenders shot. There appears to be a lot of arm swings at the ball after a ball handler has made it past an out of position defender.

    I think schools should keep a new statistic where they publish the number of attempted blocked shots vs number of successful blocks as well as the number of fouls per attempted blocked shot.

    Maybe folks would learn who should be allowed to attempt blocks vs those who should not as I just noticed that as a team last night we were credited with a total of 1 blocked shot.

    It would be interesting to know as a team, how many fouls were committed per number of shots actually blocked as well as the % of shots blocked per attempt to block.

    I don't know about other teams but it seems to me that our one blocked shot was at the expense of a number of fouls and the resulting free shots given to UCF.

    1. I think it was Tia with the block and she was just standing there flatfooted and raised her hand and got it?

  5. Yes, regarding our one UCF block by Tia - wonder how many foul shots we gave them by attempting blocks rather than straight armed defense?

    Currently watching tonight's free broadcast of USF @ Memphis game on
    Getting a HUGE reminder of the difference in fan bases that come to various games across the country. We are so fortunate. Recruits should take notice of the excitement playing before a large crowd verses playing at close to a virtually empty small gym.

    There are still a number of live conference games remaining to be broadcast this year. No charge by conference to watch.

  6. Sydney Moss Named to Fourth National Team of the Week

    (Remember her, Cards fans? She was in your back yards and went to Florida originally)

    (MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.) - For the third time this season Thomas More College sophomore guard/forward Sydney Moss (St. Albans, W.Va./Boone County (Ky.)) has been named to the National Team of the Week presented by Scoutware.

    This is the fourth time this season that Moss has been named to the Team of the Week as she was previously named to the team on November 29, December 5 and January 9. The Team of the Week, presented by Scoutware, is's weekly honor roll. This is the program's 17th season of recognizing the top performances at each of the five positions from the previous week.

    Moss helped the fifth-ranked Saints extend their regular-season Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) win streak to 40 straight after cruising to conference wins over Chatham University (100-37) and Waynesburg University (95-63) last week. In the Saints' home win over Chatham on January 29, she finished with 27 points and four rebounds in 22 minutes. She followed up that performance by posting her eighth double-double of the season Saturday afternoon at Waynesburg, where she tied the Thomas More single-game scoring record with 40 points while totaling 14 rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocked shots. For the week Moss averaged 33.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, shot 64.3 percent (27-of-42) from the field, including 66.7 percent (six-of-nine) from behind the arc, and 87.5 percent (seven-of-eight) from the charity stripe.

    Moss and the Saints return to action on Wednesday (February 5) when they travel to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania to play Geneva College. The PAC game is scheduled to tip-off at 5:30 p.m. inside the Metheny Fieldhouse.


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