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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Smith's triple-double helps Cards top Toppers 89-67...Wednesday Cardinal Couple

Bria goes for 22 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists in win

Bria Smith became the first UofL WBB player to record a triple-double since Angel McCoughtry performed the feat on Dec.10, 2008 against Hartford with 18 pts., 10 rebounds and 10 steals.

It was a nailbiter to get her the triple...the final assist coming with two seconds left in the game on a pass to Shawnta' Dyer in the post. Smith had two turnovers in the last 45 seconds trying to get the triple-double amidst the roar from the imploring crowd of 8463.

The game? Well, it had its peaks and valleys. The contest was tied 4-4 two minutes into action before Louisville went on a 16-4 run over the next seven minutes. Emmonnie Henderson had eight of the points in a four minute stretch that put Louisville comfortably ahead 20-8.

Louisville continued to run on the Hilltoppers...scoring inside and pushed the advantage to 40-19 when "E" got her tenth point of the half on a putback off a missed Smith free throw with 3:18 remaining in the first twenty. Smith nailed two free throws with 59 seconds to go to send the Cards into the locker room up 44-26.

WKU was getting production from their two stars...Chastity Gooch and Alexis Govan...who had six of eight Hilltopper first half baskets...but Michelle Clark-Heard's squad couldn't buy a "three"...going 1-11 from the deep in the half.

10 Cards played in the first stanza...Smith's 15 points led the way and Henderson was the other double figure producer with 10. Sara had nine, Myisha Hines-Allen added five, Megan Deines gave good off-the-bench production with four and Arica Carter hit a free throw.

The Cards had a 32-8 advantage with points in the paint and 15 off 12 Western Kentucky turnovers. They also held WKU to 27.6% first half shooting.

The Toppers were a tired team....playing their fifth game in ten days...and it showed at the start of the second half. Louisville pushed out to a 32 point lead in the first six minutes...a Smith layup made it 63-32.

The Cards led by 34 at 70-36 after two Dyer free throws at 12:17 and it looked like the rout was in full swing. WKU would not back down...though and outscored the Cards 17-2 over the next five minutes...making it 72-53 and necessitating Coach Walz to call a timeout.

After ranting, yelling and challenging the players in the timeout huddle about the Cards poor shooting (the Cards missed six shots -- including three layups)...the Cards head coach inserted Myisha, Sara, Jude and Bria back into the game.

Assumption H.S. Chorus sang the National Anthem!
From there on the Cards started to pull away again...a Moore layup made it 81-54 with 4:30 left. "E" hit a jumper to increase the lead to 85-57 at the 2:34 mark.

WKU outscored the Cards 10-4 the rest of the way...Govan and Gooch getting eight of the points.
Smith led all scorers with 22. Myisha and Sara added 16 each -- Hammond getting a double-double with 10 rebounds -- and Henderson finished with 14 to round out the double figure scorers. Dyer and Moore contributed eight each, Deines finished with four and Carter 1. Schimmel, Vails and Freeman all played but failed to score.

Gooch (20 pts), Govan (20 points) and Tashia Brown (14 points) were the Toppers offense...making 19 of the 22 goals scored by the visitors.

Louisville won the points in the paint battle 72-36, rebounding (49-40) and points off turnovers 23-11. WKU finished with 4-22 three-point shooting and only four fast break points...

Things we liked

- Gotta be good to be ya, Bria! Her best effort, by far, of the season and...despite the five turnovers...did exactly what Walz wanted her to the middle and score.

- Sara Hammond took free throws finally! Breaking the four game drought, she went 4-6 from the charity stripe.

- 52% shooting for the game...including a 0-6 failing from three point range.

- 72 points in the paint. It's what the Cards look to do...score inside...and they accomplished it Tuesday night.

Things to work on

- Finishing around the basket. Way too many points squandered by missed putbacks, follow-ups and lay-ups.

- Free throw woes. 13-22 is 59%. At least it was better than the 44% from Sunday...but we'd be happier with 70% or better.

An easier-than-expected win for Cardinal women's basketball Tuesday night against a WKU squad that heads back to Bowling Green 3-2. Govan and Gooch are the real deal, and it was great to see Clark-Heard, Greg Collins, Candyce Bingham and Margaret Richards again. They'll do well against their C-USA foes...but they do need to develop a center that can help prevent the buffet line that opponents will try to help themselves to in the paint.

The Toppers just ran out of gas against a Cardinal team that runs at high octane on eight cylinders...with, granted...occasional sputtering. The mechanic Walz got their attention in plenty of time in this one. One wonders how this team will respond to a 19-2 run by Kentucky, Duke or UNC...not being up by 34.

Louisville hits the hardwood again Friday night at 7 p.m. when Lafayette comes to town.


  1. Lots of things to like....Bria's play (of course), Megan's defense and hustle in extended first-half minutes, and E's effort. Also lots of unselfishness on this team - a real willingness to share the ball.

    I remain concerned by the total lack of outside shooting. I know that the offense is focused inside, but last night it was 72 points in paint,13 made free throws and four points from outside the paint. If memory serves me correctly it was one baseline jumper from Megan and one from Sara. Maybe Cards can beat a good team that way, but I doubt it.

    1. WKU is a good team!

    2. It's a concern....this on again-off again three point shooting..and media row is wondering about Jude's 2-16 effort from behind the arc after five games. It's not liking she's forcing them or closely guarded. The consensus is that her game will come around.

      As far as the outside shooting goes in other take what the opposing "d" gives you. Last night, the middle was wide open. It may not be against UK, UNC or Cailfornia...but trust in the genius of the Walz to figure out how to out-point the foe.


  2. Nice piece and a really good win. It's great to see so many kids getting to play and contributing. Was particularly cool to see Emmonie and Megan get going. Hopefully this was the game that gets Sara "over the hump" for her senior season.

    The lack of outside shooting continues to be a concern but the overall teamwork and ball movement are great for this early in the season. Also knowing that we have ballers that can win without being hot from outside is nice. It's a new feeling but the way these kids are moving the ball makes it fun to watch.

    Seems to me that Walz is using the early season just as he should, to figure out who can play and what combinations can play well together. With the exception of the shooting problems which I think will fix themselves over time we're in good shape going into a more challenging part of the season.

  3. Great game! the ball movement is something I have not seen in a long while. The last few years have been mostly Shoni going 1 on 1. I wish every team would play us like WKU but most teams we play will clog the paint and force us to hit jump shots.

  4. UK is going to just love packing back in a zone and watching the Cardinals clang shot after shot off the rim from 10 feet on. You'll be lucky to go .500 in the ACC...but the truth is we'll be hard pressed to do the same in the SEC.

    Come Sunday December 7, the Cats will come in and win one in the KFC YUM! over the Cardinals. It'll be close but you have no answer for Jennifer O'Neill or the two stars Walz ran off in Goodin-Rogers and Epps.

    Matthew Mitchell For Governor

    1. Hey Gov - How 'bout those Illini? Maybe you folks should focus on beating unranked opponents before talking trash about the ranked ones.

    2. Well played, Burn. We look forward to the 12/7/14 match against "Big Brother" and we'll have full coverage on it.

      I'd lso like to thank you for your well-thought out and appropriate comments that you provide us with. You're a reason why we o what we do...providing a forum for the fans of UofL women's sports. If you ever hit Louisville...give us advance notice. We'd love to meet with you and show our appreciation for your following us.


    3. Happy to be involved. Unlike many blogs you folks really put the time in and know what you're talking about.

      The Sooners almost took down UK today too. Went to overtime. It would have been too perfect for them to lose two in a row, both to unranked teams but they pulled it out in the end.

      It's a good day. Seems like Jude found her stroke and Sara started fast until that second foul. The next thirty days should be interesting. Iowa lost to unranked Arkansas today but Cal Berkeley is still undefeated.

  5. I enjoy seeing the free moving offense and pressure defense of the women's basketball team.

    But, the women just absolutely must start using the board when shooting from down under the basket. Also receive, bounce once then shoot from down under will only work for a short while longer

    These are high school level lessons which brings concern when they still have not been incorporated into their college game. I am grateful that our early schedule has allowed many of the kinks to be worked out but it is now time..


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