Thursday, April 3, 2014
Friday Cardinal Couple --
FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- Shoni wins women's 3-point contest and Battle of the Champions
- AAC softball no walk in the park for Cards
SCHIMMEL MAGIC...SHONI BEATS THE GIRLS AND THE GUYS
Shoni Schimmel won the State Farm 3-point shooting contest Thursday night in Moody Coliseum on the SMU campus...defeating the seven women contestants in her bracket and then taking on and beating the guys in the Battle of the Champions against the winner of the men's division.
All this just 48 hours after scoring 31 points in the NCAA Regionals.
The "Umatilla thriller" made it into the round of four with a first round score of 14. The total was tied for the lowest of the four qualifiers...Jordan Hooper (Nebraska) had 14 also...while Tricia Liston (Duke) had 19 points and Odyssey Sims (Baylor) scored 20 points.
Shoni started to heat up in round two. She was second best but advanced to the finals with 22 points. Tricia Liston recorded the best score in the semifinals with a 24.
In the championship round...Shoni matched her 22 from the previous round and Liston fell short with 16.
Brady Heslip (Baylor) was the foe in the the Battle of the Champions. He went first and recorded a 17. Would Shoni stay hot?
Shoni hit her last eight shots in a row and finished with a winning score of 22 again.
Sho-time in Dallas...as Shoni adds two more Bears (Sims and Heslip) to her defeat list. Add the win over Griner last year in the NCAA...the UofL star has now eaten all Three Bears porridge and Louisville's finest showed the nationwide ESPN audience what Card fans have known for four years...
Thrrrreeee Shoni rhymes and the words go quite well together. About the only thing she didn't shoot in Dallas...was J.R. Ewing.
They should have let her participate in the dunk contest, too. OK...maybe on a 9-foot goal.
Louisville MBB Luke Hancock participated in the men's 3-point division but failed to advance out of the first round...ruining any chances of an All-Louisville Battle of the Champions.
CARDINAL SOFTBALL OFF TO SLOW START IN AAC PLAY
The AAC has begun conference softball play...something we apologetically haven't been keeping the closest eye upon over the last couple of weeks. There was some hoops going on we were watching...
Eight teams are in the conference...Cincinnati and SMU not fielding the sport. As of March 30th...here are the standings
Houston 6-0 19-10
UCF 3-0 24-11
USF 3-0 29-8
UConn 2-3 7-20
Louisville 2-4 20-14
Rutgers 1-2 13-10
Memphis 0-5 13-20
Temple 0-3 7-14
Three of the losses Louisville has had in conference play came against Houston over the weekend on the Cougar campus. The Cougars are that good...a perennial powerhouse in previous conferences they've participated in.
Louisville heads to Tampa to take on the USF Bulls beginning on Saturday, April 5th. for three games. Saturday they'll play a doubleheader that begins at 1 p.m. E.D.T.
The Cards Maryssa Becker was Pitcher of the Week last week in the AAC...she won two games against DePaul...pitching 12 innings of shutout ball. For the week, she struck out 18 batters.
The freshman has been a pleasant surprise in a surprising season for Cardinal softball. Other newcomers to the Cardinal roster that are providing big numbers are junior transfers Brittany Duncan (AAC Honor Roll) and Kelsi Jones.
With a solid returning lineup and these three solid newcomers...plus a stellar incoming freshman class...we expected the UofL Softball team to be pretty much unbeatable. At times, though...returning pitchers Caralisa Connell and Rachel LeCoq have faltered and the Cardinal bats fall strangely silent...especially in the second game of double-headers.
Don't get me wrong...20-14 is better that 14-20... but I didn't see the Cards in double figures in the loss column as conference play began...quie honestly.
Wednesday's shutout loss to UK is a head-scratcher as well. Is all going smoothly at Ulmer? Has the loss of graduated Alicia Wolny and Jen Esteban really set Louisville back that much? Are Connell and LeCoq still on the mend from injuries that beset them at the end of last season?
Time will tell. Plenty of conference games to go. It's strange not to see Pearsall's club in the top 25, though...and one has to wonder if Becker has become the ace on the pitching staff as a freshman. Still time to put a few win steaks together for the pitch-and-hit crew, though... and with warmer weather ahead...let's hope April brings many Cardinal wins and few showers.