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Sunday, March 30, 2014

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.




  1. "For recreational purposes only"....

    Cardinals favored by 14 and Tennessee favored by 1 1/2.

    If Taylor and Hammond stay out of foul trouble, Cardinals win easily.

  2. That would be nice...but Thersea Plainsance is taking this one very personal and will be a thorn in Louisville's side today. I'll say a seven point win.

    Sorry, folks about the delayed post today. Formatting. It baffles me to this day.


  3. Let this not be true after today at the YUM - bring your neighbor... Just bring it as Lou has no reason not to bring the largest crowd

    The crowd at Pinnacle Bank Arena was 9,585. It was the largest crowd in the #ncaaw tournament this season."

  4. Upper deck will be open today. $10 tickets up there. That means the lower bowl IS sold out and we've sold over 10,000 tickets.

    Keep buying.


    1. 11,000+ in the Yum! today.

      Looking forward to Tuesday.

      Go Cards!


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