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!|
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 do...drive 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.