We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Monday Cardinal Couple - Louisville 73 - LSU 47




For the first 7 1/2 minutes of Sunday afternoon's game between LSU and Louisville, it looked like the 'eye of the Tiger' was going to hang close with the Louisville Cardinals in the KFC YUM! Center. Up 12-9 after a Danielle Ballard jumper..her 10th point of the game, LSU was getting a All-American performance out of the sophomore guard.

Then, two things happened. A media timeout and the insertion of Tia Gibbs into the game. Shoni started the Louisville run with two free throws to put the Cards up 13-12. 16 seconds later...Tia buries a three. 35 seconds later... she nails another one.

Make it 19-14 Louisville. Make it ballgame over. A Shoni jumper and Jude three (off a nifty A-Tayy assist) and with eight minutes left...score it Louisville 24-LSU 14.

The Cards would push that advantage to 17 a couple of times in the final eight minutes of the first half and take a 41-23 halftime lead into the locker room.

Holly Rowe tries to explain to Sonja and I why she is
dressed in blue. Excuse denied!  
It was 32-11 over the final 12 minutes of the first half and the crowd of 11097 was going crazy or going to the exits...depending on whether they were wearing red or orange.

- The Cards made seven first half threes...LSU none.

- Louisville was shooting 43% from the floor...LSU 30%

- The Cards had a 12-0 bench advantage in scoring. 

- Louisville held a 9-2 points off turnovers edge.

The LSU fans seated behind us were an obnoxious bunch
Shoni had 14 points and Tia 9. Seven Cards scored in the first twenty minutes. For LSU, it was the Ballard show...she had 14 of the 23 LSU points. Forward Thersea Plaisance had been held to 5 points on 1-5 shooting by Taylor, Hammond and Walton.

LSU would make a last-gap attempt to rally, cutting the Louisville lead to 42-29 with 17:23 to go in the game when Ballard hit a jumper. It just served to get Louisville fired up and the Cards went on a 16-6 spurt which featured two Gibbs threes...the second one making it 58-35 with ten minutes left to play.

At that point, Louisville was 10-26 from trifecta range. LSU was 0-4.

Coach Walz started to rest the starters at that point. He had a lineup of Walton, Henderson, Breedlove, Deines and Smith in the game after Slaughter drained a three to make it 66-40 Cards with 5:35 remaining.

Louie and Mike the Tiger in a dance off. Mike narrowly won.
Shoni led Louisville with 19 points on 6-13 shooting. She also had a team high six assists. Gibbs finished with 15 points...sinking five threes on nine attempts. Nita rounded out the Cardinal double figure scorers with 10. A-Tayy finished with seven points and 10 rebounds. Sara, Jude and "E" tallied five points each. Bria added four and Megan nailed a three for her only score of the game.

Ballard had 24 points for LSU. She also had 24 in the LSU win over WVU.

Tia sinking another three (just out of camera range).
It's Maryland Tuesday night for victorious Louisville. The Terrapins a surprise winner over Tennessee 73-61 in Sunday's opening contest...the Turtles stand in the road of the Cards heading to Nashville for the Final Four. The Terps jumped out to a 6-5 lead four minutes into the first game and built that to a 26-15 advantage halfway through the first twenty minutes. Enjoying a 41-27 halftime advantage...UM had a large group of UT backers in the YUM! left with little to cheer about.

You could sense it was not the Vols afternoon...Thomas seemed to be able to score whenever she wanted against the pourous Tennessee defense and when she was stopped Lexie Brown and Laurin Mincy were there to pick up points. The trio will make Louisville's attempt to gain Final Four status difficult.

The party was over when Maryland was still double-digiting the Vols 67-53 and 4:00 showing on the KFC YUM! Center scoreboard.

The Vols cheerleaders were pretty good...the WBB squad...not so much 
This one was the Alyssa Thomas vs. Meighan Simmons showdown. Thomas had 33 points for Maryland and Simmons ends her college career with 31.

As for Mercedes Russell and Jordan Reynolds...two Vols players that Jeff Walz went after very strongly for the 2013 class...a combined four points in 31 minutes of play. Russell did have a couple of impressive blocked shots. Based on yesterday's performance...which is probably unfair given that Reynolds played huge down the stretch in conference play for UT...Louisville isn't missing a whole lot in not getting the two to sign as Cardinals.

Tennessee is going home. So is LSU. It was a rough day for the SEC Sunday...South Carolina lost North Carolina. Only Texas A&M remains for the SEC.

On a day where fans attending Regional womens' basketball action in Louisville saw three incredible individual was the team that got solid performances from multiple players that looked the most impressive.

Walz vs. Frese. Former head coach and assistant go to battle to take I-65 South and dance. It should be a great one Tuesday night.

BE there if you can...

Another successful sale on the Unfinished Business trip. The Party-Crashers 2 get a step closer to a return trip to Final Four frenzy.


The CARDINAL COUPLE Pick 'Em contest standings:

Paulie             45-11
Curtis F           43-13
Joe Hill
Charlyse          42-14
Blue Lou
Kenny S           41-15
Gary W
Willie Cat Fan  40-16
David Watson
Worldwide       39-17
Card Chimp      35-21
Jennifer B        34-22
Matt M             27-29
The Other One 26-30



Sunday Cardinal Couple -- Cards face LSU today in NCAA Regionals



Gary Witherspoon previews the action ahead!

Women’s college basketball fans should get a big treat this weekend in the
 Louisville regional of the NCAA tournament. From top to bottom, the
Louisville regional probably has the best set of four teams of any of the four

The Lincoln regional looks like a cakewalk to the Final Four for UConn. The
  Stanford regional will also be very competitive; and, like the Louisville
regional, it seems very possible that any of the four teams in that regional
could win it. Notre Dame got by Oklahoma State, but they could be
  challenged by Baylor in the Notre Dame regional. The
  Baylor/Kentucky matchup looked to be the best matchup of
 the first round of games this weekend. Baylor dominated.
Despite not being the number
one seeds in their regionals, I
think Louisville and Stanford
should be viewed as the favorites
to win their regionals because they
 are probably the best teams in
 those regionals and because they
 are playing at home.  But they
should only be considered slight
favorites, and could lose either in
 the semifinals or in the finals of
 their regions.

The two biggest stars in the Louisville
regional are Shoni Schimmel and Alyssa Thomas of Maryland. Beyond these
two, thereis a great array of individual talent that includes Theresa Plaisance and
 Danielle Ballard of LSU, Lexie Brown of Maryland, Izzy Harrison and Meighan
 Simmons of Tennessee, and Louisville’s Sara Hammond and Asia Taylor.

Beyond the stars, there are also some great role players in this regional like
Shanece McKinney and Jeanne Kenney of LSU, Cierra Burdick, Bashara Graves
and Andraya Carter of Tennessee, and Tia Gibbs, Antonita Slaughter, Bria Smith
andJude Schimmel of Louisville. Any of these great role players could wind up
 being the deciding factor in these games that are likely to be closely contested.

Louisville and Tennessee have by far the most depth in talent and experience of
 any of these four teams, but Danielle Ballard and Theresa Plaisance of LSU and
Alyssa Thomas of Maryland are the most versatile players in the regional because
 they can all play in the post as well as on the perimeter, and they can all rebound
 as well as play in transition.

Louisville and Maryland have been
 the most consistent teams through
 the season, and Tennessee and LSU
 have been the most inconsistent. 

LSU beat Tennessee 80-77 at
Tennessee in January, and LSU lost
to Tennessee 72-67 at home late
 in the season.

LSU lost 88-67 at Louisville in the
 early season WNIT, but LSU led that
 game through most of the first half. 
Louisville went on a 21-0 run starting at 10:53 of the second half,
taking the score from 60-54 to 81-54 with 5:30 left. Asia Taylor led the Cards in that
game with 23 points, but all five starters finished in double figures. Jude had 3
rebounds,2 assists, 2 steals and 6 points in 14 minutes off the bench.

The big thing to keep in mind is that Danielle Ballard had only 4 points in 12 minutes
 in that early season game against Louisville. She has since then developed into one
 of the best players in the country. In LSU’s win over 2 seed West Virginia,
 Ballard had 22 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in 38 minutes. Ballard
is only about 5’9”. In LSU’s victory at Tennessee, Ballard had 25 points, 8 rebounds,
4 assists, 4 steals, 1 block and no turnovers in 34 minutes. In LSU’s loss to
Tennessee at home, Ballard had 3 points and 3 rebounds in 18 minutes.
It seems as Ballard goes, so goes LSU.

LSU has been inconsistent losing 6 in a row and 8 out of 10 late in the season, but
now they are on a two game winning streak in the NCAA tournament. They can be
very good. The have size, quickness, and are tough on the boards and in the open court.
Plaisance is 6’5” and alternates between playing point guard and shooting threes to
playing center and posting up inside. She was a teammate of Shoni’s on the
World University Games USA team.

Shanece McKinney is a big body inside at 6’4’’ and over 200 lbs. She had 7 rebounds,
13 points and 5 blocked shots in 32 minutes against West Virginia. Jeanne Kenney is
 a 5’8” guard who shoots well from distance and usually runs the offense.

Like Ballard, Plaisance and Kinney have both scored more than 20 points in games
this season. Kinney is LSU’s active leader in assists with over 300. Dashawn Harden
 has replaced Moncrief (injured) in the starting lineup and has done well recently. 

Because of a concussion in the last game, Kenney may not play in this game.

-gary witherspoon-



I asked this question of Shoni Schimmel at the Media presser Q&A
Saturday. Fully tongue-in-cheek, concerning the surprising "E"
coast to coast ramble against Iowa. 2/3rd of the people in the media
 room were clueless. It even took Shoni a few seconds to catch the

Q.  Shoni, is the Emmonnie Henderson coast‑to‑coast lay‑up something that's
 new for the offense?

            SHONI SCHIMMEL:  Yes, that's something we've definitely practiced. 
 For her to just finish a lay‑up.
  But she's learning the game, and so for her to just make that move, she's pretty beastly,
 and for people to not get in her way, it's probably smart.  We've got to keep pushing her
 to be the best that she can be.
  Full‑court, coast to coast, whatever it may be, she's going to learn and figure it out.
  I think that was kind of a once‑in‑a‑lifetime kind of thing.  She was tired after that. 
 She needed an oxygen tank after that.
   No, she's figuring it out, so it's good for us


In case you missed Saturday action...UConn, Notre Dame, Baylor and
Texas A&M punched their tickets for Monday night games. Bye-bye Bruno,
Mattie, Mormons and Cowboys.

In addition to Louisville facing LSU today, the Maryland Terrapins will face
the Tennessee Vols at the KFC YUM! Center (noon tipoff). In the Stanford
regional, a battle of the Carolinas (North vs.South) and Stanford faces
Penn State.

In case you wondered, two #1 seeds have advanced so far (Notre Dame
and UConn). Baylor moves on as a #2 seed and the A&M bunch enters
as a #3 seed.

Today, it's #1 vs #4 when UT plays the Terps and #3 vs #7 when the Cards
battle LSU. South Carolina is a #1 seed. North Carolina a #4. #2 seed
Stanford hosts #3 seed Penn State.



Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday Cardinal Couple -- Call them LSFew


- Injuries lessen Tigers roster

- Season over for Pitino's players

- Radio today

Louisville starts NCAA Regional play Sunday against LSU.  It's a 2:30 tipoff and will take place in the KFC YUM! Center. ESPN will have the broadcast.

LS(few) might be a better moniker for the Tigers (21-12)...who have lost a player in each of their two NCAA Tournament games so far. The Baton Rouge visitors are down to eight players.

Freshman guard Raigyne Moncrief suffered a season-ending knee injury against Georgia Tech in Sunday's game. In Tuesday's win over WVU, senior guard Jeanne Kenney was sidelined with a concussion and has played her last game of the year. Add a suspension to another player earlier in the season and Caldwell can now fit the entire roster in a Chrysler minivan.

It's nothing new to Tigers head coach Nikki Caldwell...who got to the Sweet Sixteen last season by beating Penn State with just seven players.

Freshmen guards Rina Hill and Jasmine Rhodes have been forced into starting duty and had solid games in the Tigers' win against the Mountaineers.

Yes, the schools have a history against each other. Louisville leads the series 3-1. The Tigers hosted the first and second round games back in 2009 and Louisville defeated them to advance to the regionals 62-52.

On a more recent note...Louisville downed the Tigers 88-67 on November 14th...when Jeff Walz drew national attention by having beerfest for the Cardinal fans and picking up the tab for 5,000 of his closest friends. Louisville used a 20-0 run to break the game open in the second half.

The Lady Tigers failed to contain senior forward Asia Taylor, who broke out for 23 points and 10
rebounds. Senior guard Shoni Schimmel provided another 15 points, and Caldwell expressed concern about guarding Louisville's leading scorer.

"Shoni is an exceptional player who not only can score for herself but can create other opportunities for her teammates," Caldwell said. "She's a great distributor of the basketball and really explosive in transition."

The Cardinals blew past Idaho and Iowa in the opening rounds, averaging a 38-point margin of victory between the two wins.

LSU's 2013 tournament run ended against California in the Sweet 16. The Lady Tigers' chances of taking the next step this year appear to be slim after the two key injuries, but they know it could be worse.

"We've got one more player than we did last year, so that's a good thing," Caldwell said. "...We're in March Madness right now, and it's madness for a reason. Our madness is that we're going to have eight crazies out there."

Jeff Walz has been there, done that. The 2010 UofL squad was decimated by injuries and Walz was down to six healthy players at times. It only takes five to play, though...and LSU has managed to get this far.

Game time is 2:30 Sunday. If you are a UofL student and one of the first 250 students to arrive...Jeff Walz has got your admission covered and will buy your pizza. Pizza and hoops? Says yes to me!


A tough way to end the season for Rick Pitino's guys...leading almost the entire game against Kentucky then losing in the NCAA Regionals in Indy

The Cats move an #8 face Michigan on Sunday.

The Louisville Lacrosse team adopts a word at the start of each season to serve as a primary guide post. This year it is "finish".

Maybe they should have loaned it to Russ Smith and Trez Harrell last night.

I hate losing to UK. The texts and e-mailed have already started...


Cardinal Couple Radio today will feature Charlie Springer and also a phone call to Worldwide watching Volleyball. It airs at 11 a.m. on Crescent Hill Radio.

Give a listen, won't you?


Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Cardinal Couple -- The road ahead for Louisville WBB


- What if.....



We'll do a little anticipatory thinking today. What if the Louisville WBB crashes the Final Four Party? What if this #3 seed decides to continue the Unfinished Business tour and finds themselves in Nashville next week?

It is entirely possible, you know. Hosting a Regional and meeting an opponent on Sunday that was dispatched early in the season. There's no doubt Louisville is playing better basketball than back then. LSU is too...but Jeff Walz and crew will have had five days to prepare for them.

I like Louisville's chances.

"I miss UofLWBB in the zombie Apocalypse, little brother..."
After that, it comes down to a Tuesday night tussle against either Maryland or Tennessee. Let me make this perfectly clear. I want the Vols in that opposite slot. The weakest one seed..a seed that should have been Louisville's. I hope 5000 Orange clad fans make the 4 hour drive from Knoxville to witness the carnage, the beatdown and the Louisville victory. I hope they eat in our downtown restaurants, stay in hotels and buy stuff from local merchants.

And then go home. Quietly.

Louisville beat them last year to earn a trip to the Final Four. Here's to history repeating itself.

Do NOT allow this guy and girl in Nashville
Let's face it. Most of the nation wants to see an NCAA Women's Championship game with Notre Dame and UConn. Not this guy. He wants to see Kentucky knock off the Irish and DePaul stun the UConn Huskies.

I could care less who comes out of the Stanford region. I have South Carolina in my bracket picks. Yeah, they'll do...

What a wildly fun and eye-popping time in Nashville...without Irish and could be. Cats and Cards II - the Nashville Chronicles.

I know...I probably won't get the Final Four I'd like to see and the rest of the nation would dread. They want to see the UnBeatens slug it out. I want to see the underdogs and the scorned show up in Nashville. 

And then to see the Cards beat the Cats on a neutral court and advance to a NCAA Showdown against DePaul, South Carolina or Stanford? All the talking heads on ESPN would be jumping out of second floor windows in Bristol or moving cars on the Interstate.
Charlie Creme would resign and move to New Guinea to raise soybeans. Kevin "KneeGandhi"...goes on a bender and ends up married to Kara Lawson in a Vegas wedding chapel.

Exactly. Let's add a little habernero to the oatmeal. Let's shake it up and send the preferred, the chosen ones, the establishment home early. Let's dance with the prom queen..spike the punch and eat nachos at a five start restaurant. Time to crash another party...ruin a lot of bracket picks and go dancin'. 

Finish the unfinished business ATayy, Shoni, Nita and Tia.

If you can possibly do your tickets and go to the KFC YUM! Center Sunday and Tuesday. Take a friend. Wear RED. It's the most wonderful time of the year.

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We've got a nice treat for you on the Saturday CARDINAL COUPLE Radio Show.

UofLCARDGAME owner and observer Charlie Springer will be in studio joining me and sharing perspectives and thoughts on Cardinal Athletics.

BE sure to click on and listen! Help Crescent Hill Radio by the link below and read and listen. It's a good radio station even when Cardinal Couple isn't on the air...



Thursday, March 27, 2014


- Reader Gary Witherspoon looks at the HBO Special, Rez life, Umatilla and the Schimmel sisters

- Louisville softball takes two against DePaul



The Louisville WBB team nearly played that perfect game that Jeff has been talking about for some weeks. There were a few defensive lapses in the first few minutes of the game that led to four easy baskets for Iowa, and the reserves made a few miscues at the end, but otherwise it was the best game of the season. Only the game at Ball State might have been played more nearly perfect, but the competition and the significance of this game was much greater than the Ball State game.

It was a tough night for Sara Hammond who could not seem to do anything right, and Asia was limited by foul trouble. The officials called the game extremely close.

Later last night I saw HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and their feature on the Schimmel sisters. I am going to try to offer a short review of that. I know something about the subject. I was a professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies at the University of Washington for 25 years, and I was a head BB coach at the Navajo Academy for 5 years. I played in Rez ball tournaments for over 20 years in the Southwest, and my son played in many Rez ball tournaments in the Northwest more recently. I had many students from the Umatilla reservation and have taken classes there on field trips. It is not the place these films make it out to be.

The reservation is an absolutely beautiful place of over 200,000 acres. It is not a cesspool of abject poverty that people want to escape. Since the Wildhorse Casino, motel and related businesses were created, jobs and income have been reasonably good for most tribal members. They have a beautiful multimillion dollar tribal museum that tells their history, language and culture. They have lots of recreation facilities. Housing is modest but good, and life there is comfortable and friendly.

Leaving the Rez is not such a challenge because life there is so bad but more because it is so good. While there are problems there as there are problems everywhere, it is not the ugly place of despair and abject poverty the films made by non-Indians want to portray it to be. But the journey off the rez that Shoni and Jude took, nevertheless, involved a big challenge and represented a huge leap of faith for Shoni and Jude. The journey involved leaving a beautiful place, a rich traditional culture and and all their relatives and friends to go 2,000 miles away to a big city university and try to succeed in the rigors and demands of higher education and try to compete at the highest level of college athletics. Native Americans understand the difficulties and hazards of this journey and appreciate what Shoni and Jude have done and take inspiration from it. These film makers are putting their own spin on it and much of that spin is inaccurate.
Also, a lot of non-Indians seem to think Shoni and Jude are big because Native Americans do not have any other big time sports heroes. That is not true. Recent Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford is NA from Oklahoma, and he was the first overall pick in the NFL draft. And Jacoby Ellsbury from the Warm Springs Rez near Shoni’s led Oregon State to the College World Series championship, and was a prominent part of the Boston Red Sox’s two World Series championships in the last 7 years. Notah Begay, a teammate and close friend of Tiger Woods, won two tournaments and was rookie of the year of the PGA tour before his golf career was cut short because of an injury to his back. All of these athletes have appeared at Native American events and given free clinics in Native American communities.

Angel Goodrich led 12 seed Kansas to two big upsets in last year’s NCAA tournament, and she made it to the sweet 16. She is Native American from Oklahoma and has appeared with Jude at many events. She beat out Skylar Diggins for Tulsa’s starting point guard position in the WNBA last season.

So why are Shoni and Jude so big among Native Americans? I think there are several reasons. One is they play Rez ball and are proud of it, and basketball is really big on reservations and even in urban Indian communities. Golf, football and baseball are not as big as basketball in contemporary NA culture. In Arizona 25,000 Navajos will travel over 200 miles to watch their girls basketball teams compete for and usually win the state 3A championship. Boys teams also attract big crowds, but the girls teams get just as big or bigger crowds. Two high schools on the Rez have field houses that seat 5500 and 7500 respectively and they fill them up. A new high school gym on the Navajo reservation is now under construction that will seat over 10,000. These are better facilities than most college teams play in.

Shoni and Jude’s popularity also involves who they are and how they conduct themselves and how they respect and embrace the communities from which they came and with which they identify.

Their popularity also took a big jump after the Baylor upset. The NCAA tournament is a unique sporting event, and it captures the interest and imagination of people all across the country.

For Native Americans, Shoni’s shot over Griner was a symbolic victory over all the adverse giants that have besieged and overrun their lands and nations over the last 500 years. The only equivalent of that is the victory in college football of the Carlisle Indian School over the Cadets of Army in 1913. That Army team included future WW II generals Patton, Bradley and Eisenhower.

I think the Schimmels are also big because they are a sister act and have different personalities and styles. There is something there with which everyone can identify.

It is also important to Native Americans how the University of Louisville and its supporters have embraced and appreciated the Schimmels. As a result, it is not just Shoni and Jude that Native Americans support, but it is the whole team they have adopted and support.

Gary Witherspoon, Professor Emeritus
Anthropology and American Indian Studies
The University of Washington



Louisville 8 – DePaul 0 (six innings)

Junior Kelsi Jones went 2 for 4 with a three-run double to help lead the Cardinals to an 8-0 win over
DePaul. Freshman Maryssa Becker got the win, holding the Blue Demons scoreless on three hits and striking out six in 5.0 innings.

The teams played through three scoreless innings before the Cardinals broke through with seven runs in the fourth. Katie Keller delivered a leadoff single to break up Kristen Verdun’s no-hitter and stole second. Maryssa Becker’s base hit placed runners at first for Brittany Duncan who reached on an error to bring Keller home. Pinch-runner Jordan McNary stole third and came home on a hit by Maggie Ruckenbrod. Kayla Soles singled to load the bases for Hannah Kiyohara who drew a walk to plate Duncan. Jones connected on a three-run double to give the Cards a 6-0 lead. She came around to score on Whitney Arion’s sacrifice bunt to make the score 7-0.

UofL tacked on a run in the sixth when Kiyohara and Jones led off the inning with back-to-back hits and Arion walked to load the bases for Keller’s RBI single down the left field line for the 8-0 final.

Kirsten Verdun (12-4) took the loss, giving up seven runs on five hits and striking out four in 4.0 innings.

Becker improved to 7-1 on the season and allowed only one DePaul runner in scoring position when Verdun registered a two-out double in the third. Rachel LeCoq combined on the shutout, giving up one hit in one inning of relief. Keller was 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run. Kiyohara was 1 for 2 with two runs.

Louisville 7 – DePaul 3

In game two, the Cardinals overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat the Blue Demons 7-3. Brittany Duncan was 3 for 4 with four RBIs while Kelsi Jones was 3 for 3 with two runs and two stolen bases and Maryssa Becker picked up her second win of the day to help UofL complete the doubleheader sweep and move to 20-11 on the season.

DePaul (18-8) jumped to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first when Kirsten Verdun and Allie Braden opened the game with back-to-back walks to set up Mary Connelly’s three-run home run.

The Cardinals answered with four runs in the home half of the first. Jones got things started when she beat the throw for an infield single. Whitney Arion followed with a walk to set up Katie Keller’s two-run double which cut the lead to one run. Maryssa Becker doubled to bring Keller home and tie the score. Becker crossed the plate on Brittany Duncan’s RBI single to give UofL a 4-3 lead.

Louisville tallied three more runs in the sixth. Jones drew a one-out walk and moved to second on Arion’s bunt and Becker walked to load the bases. Duncan stepped up to the plate and ripped a three-run double down the right field line for the 7-3 final.

Becker (8-1) picked up her second win of the day, holding the Blue Demons scoreless while scattering two hits and striking out five in 7.0 innings of relief. Caralisa Connell got the start and allowed three earned runs in the first. Becker went 1 for 3 with two runs and an RBI.

Verdun (12-5) took the loss, allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits and striking out two in 6.0 innings. Connolly was 1 for 3 with a three-run homer. Nicole Pihl had the other hit for DePaul.

UofL (20-11, 2-1 American Athletic Conference) will hit the road for a three-game American Athletic Conference series at Houston March 29-30
(Info on games courtesy of Louisville Sports Information Department)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday Cardinal Couple -- Another "i" dotted - Cards down Iowa by 30


- Shoni's 26 leads five double figure scorers in rout of Iowa

Strictly business.

The Iowa Hawkeyes were trying to stand in the way of Louisville's return to play in the regionals of the NCAA Womens' basketball tournament in the KFC YUM! Center.

Bad idea.

The Cards dot another "I" (the first one Idaho on Sunday) and return to Louisville after a 83-53 defeat of Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Tuesday night.

Iowa did keep it close for the first six minutes and the Cards faced a 11-11 tie from an inspired Hawkeye squad.

It did not last.

Louisville went on a 12-1 run and led 23-13 after a Shoni Schimmel jumper with 8:41 left in the first half. It only got worse for Iowa after that.

The Cards took a 28-17 lead after a Tia Gibbs putback with 5:42 on the clock and extended that to 33-19 at the four minute TV timeout. A 7-4 closing run had Louisville up 40-23 at halftime.

Shoni had 12 of her game high 26 points at that point and Nita Slaughter had 8 points...with two threes to her stat line. Three Cards (Tia, Asia Taylor and Jude Schimmel) had six points each and the rout was on.

The Cards were shooting 64% in the first half. Iowa 31%.

Louisville went on a 21-8 spree over the first eight minutes of the second half to take a 30 point lead...61-31...with twelve minutes to go in the game. The Cards were shooting, rebounding and playing defense well. And without their starting posts in the game.

With Sara and Asia on the bench watching...saddled with fouls...the Hawkeyes had a height advantage. 

It did not matter. Louisville went up 79-44 with four minutes left. One almost felt sorry for Iowa...hoping they would empty the bench like Louisville did several minutes earlier...realize that it was over and let the clock run.

Much like the loud and rowdy Iowa fan base in the stands...the Hawkeye team wouldn't let it die. Hard fouls and wild threes that didn't hit the mark plagued the final minutes. The Hawkeye coach finally emptied the bench. It was time.

You play to the final buzzer...sure...and it hurts to lose at home...but Iowa was a beaten team when A-Tayy nailed a jumper to complete a 9-2 Louisville blitz in the first three minutes of the final half to go up 49-25.

Sam Logic and Distel-whatever may be local legends in Iowa City. The truth is...they are mediocre basketball players on a run-of-the-mill, middle-of-the-pack Big 10 team. They could not stop the beatdown that Louisville administered.

Strictly business.

Louisville wins 83-53. Another "I" dotted. Another hopeful pretender sent to the sidelines. Survive and advance.

Shoni led all scorers with 26. Nita Slaughter added 17...five threes in the mix against the ponderously slow Iowa perimeter. Tia Gibbs finished with 12 points. Jude and Asia with 10 points each. Starr Breedlove scored in mop-up minutes to extend her games scored-in streak to two. She's quick and has a nice free-throw motion. Watch out for this girl next season.

How many times has Louisville won by 30 and Sara Hammond not scored?

Another successful stop on the Unfinished Business trip. Louisville gets a LSU squad on Sunday that they beat earlier in the season.

C'mon home, ladies. Another appearance in the Sweet Sixteen ahead. In the KFC YUM! Center. Sunday hoops with great weather ahead. Go buy tickets, Card fans.

And Iowa...for what it's worth...went one game further in the NCAA Tournament than their cross-state rivals Iowa State.  

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Louisville's Shoni Schimmel and Sara Hammond were named to the WBCA All-Region I team, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced Tuesday. The selection committee will select the 10-member WBCA Division I Coaches' All-America Team from 52 candidates

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Sixteen teams remain. Breaking them down by conference gives us five from the SEC (Tennessee, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Kentucky). Louisville's future conference...the ACC...has three schools representing (Notre Dame, North Carolina and Maryland). The AAC still has the two that were selected for the Big Dance alive in UConn and Louisville. The Big 12? Baylor and Oklahoma State. DePaul represents the Big East (way to go Doug Bruno!) The WAC has surprising #12 seed BYU still dancing. Penn State is the lone Big 10 survivor. Stanford is the sole PAC school .

By seeding? All four #1 seeds are alive. Only two of the #2 seeds advanced (take that NCAA...WVU and Duke are gone).
All four #3 seeds will play this weekend. Two of the #4 seeds (Maryland and North Carolina) fight on. #5 seed Oklahoma St. heads to the South Bend regional. Two #7 seeds...DePaul and LSU...join the party and #12 BYU completes the team-by-seed breakdown.

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How's the CARDINAL COUPLE Pick 'Em contest going? I'm glad you asked! Here's the standings thru the first two rounds:

Paulie                40-8
Joe H                 39-9
Blue Lou            38-10
Curtis Franklin
Willie Cat Fan    37-11
Gary W              36-12
Kenny S             35-13
David Watson     34-14
Worldwide Jeff
Jennifer B          31-17
Cardinal Chimp  30-18
Matt M for Gov   25-23
The Other One   24-24