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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

16-0 run dooms Cards in South Bend -- Notre Dame 68 - Louisville 52 -- Tuesday Cardinal Couple

2nd half slump sinks Cards in South Bend 

Brianna Turner hosted a block party Mon. night
I'm hoping this article gets posted to the Cardinal Couple website. There's always the chance Notre Dame's Brianna Turner could appear out of nowhere and swat it off the page. 

In a game full of highs and lows, Turner's seven blocked shots and a second half 16-0 Notre Dame run were high points for the Irish in dismantling UofL 68-52 in the Purcell Pavilion Monday night before 8911 fans and a nationwide audience on ESPN 2.

The Cards actually got off to an encouraging start and were scoring inside...leading 11-7 six minutes into the game. Balanced scoring where all the starters but Moore had put points on the board. 

Shawnta' Dyer gave Louisville their biggest lead of the half on a 'plus 1' that made it 14-9 with 12:34 on the clock...but ND rolled off an 8-0 run to go up by three on a coast-to-coast Madison Cable layup. 

Muffet waves to Worldwide Jeff
Sara Hammond went to work inside for the Cards to keep it close. A layup with 5:05 left made it 23-22 Notre Dame. Hammond's eighth point of the half inside drew the Cards within three at 29-26 with 1:56 on the clock.

A Dyer hook shot set the halftime score at 31-28 UND. Jewel Loyd had nine points for the home team and Sara Hammond had eight for the Cards. Mariya Moore hadn't made a basket yet and Loyd & her teammates defense held her to two free throws. 

Moore broke away from the pursuit briefly in the second half and produced the Cards first nine points. 

Dyer gets this one off in the paint, She was 4-6 last night
The Cards rallied from the three-point halftime deficit and took a 37-35 lead at the 16:20 mark. A nice feed from Jude Schimmel to Mariya Moore led to Moore's fourth basket of the half and Louisville looked energized and ready to battle #4 in the nation to the buzzer. It was Moore 9 - Notre Dame 4 and the freshman had 11 points. 

Unfortunately, the script changed again and Moore would not score again.

The next five minutes turned into a Irish riverdance over the Cards...Jewel Loyd, Taya Reimer and Turner frolicking past the step-slow, shot-slightly-off Cards to go up 51-37 with 11:15 left in the game. The stretch included Jeff Walz getting a technical for protesting a Turner block that looked like a foul. 

Sara Hammond's three would finally put the Notre Dame run to an end...but the damage had been done. 

"Sorry, Cards...I'm on my way to 20. It's what the best guard
in the ACC does. 
Louisville would make one last attempt to get back in the contest...a 9-0 run that followed the Irish run. Dyer's two free throws with 7:47 to go cut the Irish advantage to 51-46 and there was a glimmer of hope that the Cards just might be soaring to pull out yet another second half mastery over an opponent. 

Sadly, UofL would get no closer than that five-point deficit the rest of the way. 

Moore picked up her fourth and fifth fouls within 30 seconds of each other and went to the bench with Louisville trailing 59-48 at the 3:45 mark. The Irish breezed in on a 9-4 run the rest of the way to take a 68-52 win.

Moore experiences Cable difficulties here. 
A rough shooting night for Walz's ballers. 21-63 for 33%. The free throw line wasn't kind to the Cards either...going 7-13 for 53.8% Louisville ended up putting three players in double figures...11 points each for Sara, Mariya and Shawnta'...which is commendable when you consider all the ones that Turner was turning away in the paint. Turner and Reimer are going to be around for awhile...bad news for UofL and the rest of the ACC . The 6'4" bookends are long and prowl the paint well. 

Louisville allowed the Irish 23-47 shooting for 48.9%. Loyd went for 20, Taya Reimer was 8-8 and 16 points and Turner had 11 points, nine boards and seven swats. 

The 16-point loss looks rough on paper...but Louisville was still within striking distance until Moore went to the bench. It reinforces the importance she (and Myisha Hines-Allen) have had on this team as freshman.

The loss also showed us that Louisville simply can't afford to
fall asleep at the wheel for significant stretches in game. When you consider that Moore was the only Cardinal to score for the first 9:40 of the final half one has to wonder what was going on with the other four Cardinals accompanying her out there on the court. 

Last night was a lesson on what the Cards need to do to get to that next level Walz wants them to be at. A veteran team mixed with youth withstands two runs on their home court and delivers a second-half knockout punch. It looked like (to this watcher) the Cards resigned themselves to a loss after Moore sat down and no one stood up to carry on the fight. Someone should have been there to cut into the 11 point Irish lead. Instead, it ballooned to 16. 

Yes, the Cards were getting beaten before Moore fouled out...but great teams step up in adverse situations.  

The scenario is one that Louisville is well-familiar with...they've used it to bury opponents all season long. On Monday night, the roles were reversed. 

Help is on the way next year. Last night, Louisville had no punch left after Moore went to the corner. 

Louisville now sits alone in third place of the ACC...two back of Notre Dame and one behind FSU. The Cards will look to get back on track when Boston College visits Thursday. 

On a night where the Irish front line starters went 12-13 from the floor and sent eight Cardinal inside attempts astray...the best defensive team in the ACC got taught a few lessons in blockage by a sophomore and freshmen. Notre Dame ruled the paint, which is usually Cardinal territory. It was the Cards first double digit loss of the season. 

Worldwide Jeff McAdams was in attendance for this one and he'll either podcast his experiences in South Bend later this week or save them for the Saturday radio show. 



  1. Sitting on the floor one row back and directly across from the UofL bench, let me say that I firmly believe that ND fouled more than 3 times in the second half. The play was physical. UofL did not shoot well and that may be a testament to the ND defense...except for a couple of missed layups.

    1. Notre Dame was 20-23 from the stripe. The Cards 7-13. In the second half alone...ND went 15-16 and Louisville 4-6. A telling stat.


  2. I didn't catch the game but coach Walz let those officials have in his post game comments.

  3. Great opening paragraph, Paulie!

    I missed Walz's post game radio comments, but the officials did not cost the Cardinals this game. Cardinals got beat because ND's bigs were able to dominate defensively in the paint and Cardinals had no answer from the perimeter.

    I was not all that disappointed - the game was a lot more competitive than the final score indicated - but was disappointed at too many unforced live-ball turnovers that led to ND runouts. Looked to me like the team played hard until the very end.

    1. Thanks. The free throw disparities in the final half were distressing but the refs didn't give this one to ND...they went out and earned it on the defensive end in the final 16 minutes of the second half.

      They are aptly ranked #4 in the nation...McGraw's group is...and proved their ranking by turning back each Louisville challenge.

      I can't be too disappointed in this loss either. Wish the Cards had kept it a little closer in the end but once Moore took a seat, I had pretty much resigned myself to a loss for UofL in this one.


  4. I'm with Mike. Not disappointed at all in this outcome. The ladies played hard for most of the game. Yes there were screw ups. The biggest issue was the drought in scoring, and the 16-0 run ND got in the second half.

    Walz gave Reimer the space to beat Louisville, and she did. She scored 16 points, they won by 16 points. combine that with the 16-0 run they went on in the second half and that is the difference in the game. They played the scouting report. It was a good call by Walz, Reimer has had a very up and down go so far. She stepped up when the window opened. Good for her.
    We need some players that can step up when a team leaves the window open. (that is for another day, however).
    I am proud of the fight and how competitive the game was. Definitely winnable in a future match up.

    The only game I feel like we had no chance of winning this season was Duke. That game was abysmal. All the other games, we were in and had opportunities.

    Kudos to our ladies. Moore, offensive help is on the way.

  5. I was thinking that someone would need to have a breakout game for good things to happen for us. Unfortunately we didn't have anyone do it and Reimer had one for ND...I don't think anyone (including Walz) thought she was capable of going 8 for 8 from midrange against us. Comments I've read elsewhere by ND fans indicated they were shocked and amazed that she hit that mid-range jumper like that.

    We followed the game plan and they just beat us. No surprises. It's almost impossible to beat great teams shooting 33% and 53% from the field and line respectively. Same story, our inability to hit consistently from outside allowed them to pack the paint making it tough to run the offense, leading to turnovers and blocked shots in the congestion. Walz tried to sit Jude a couple times after she got beat on D but every time someone else took the point they turned the ball over so she ended up playing 37 minutes. She's a gamer. We had more rebounds & steals and fewer turnovers than ND but still managed to lose. It's a bummer.

    I had hoped we were going to get really meaningful contributions from a couple of our role players that just basically didn't show up. We can't do that against great teams on the road or in the tourney. Hope we learned from it, particularly the freshmen in anticipation of next year.

    The refs weren't great but it probably wasn't much more of a homer than you normally run into on the road in the ACC. I love our kids but ND just has a more talented group than we do right now. We would have had to have played well above normal to beat them, but it certainly was doable. We had our chances.

    Nothing to be ashamed of but we're going to have to play some inspired ball come tourney time to get a shot at going past the sweet sixteen.

    1. We lost because we can't shoot. We do everything else well.

    2. Not sure I agree that we do everything else well but we're on the same page on the shooting problems.

  6. Based on current top 25 teams we are 4-4
    Beaten #15 NC, #17 Iowa, #23 Syracuse and #24 California
    Lost to #4 ND, #9 Fl St, #13 KY, and #16 Duke
    Outside of top 25 we are undefeated.

  7. The reality is that you can no longer have much of a chance against the elite teams now that have multiple talented players 6'3" and taller when your teams tallest player is 6'1" or 6'2". Louisville had 15-20 shots in the game that were either blocked (7) or were affected by the size of the players they were shooting against inside. Every block affects 2 or 3 more shots and causes multiple misses.

    The team played hard the entire game. They were no lapses of intesity when they went to sleep. There was just a failure to get the shots off and in the bucket. Much of that is a factor of the size and talent of the ND post players compared to the size of the Louisville post players.

    Ten years ago it was possible to win a national championship with a talented team without a player over 6'2". That day is past and I think Jeff has finally seen that. That is why he is trying to use Vails more, but she has only so much she can do. He has one 6'4" post coming in. That will help, but he needs more than that. All the top teams have at least 3 and most have 5 talented players over 6'3". The only other thing you can use against talented size is outside shooting - great and multiple 3 point shooters. There is also a lack of that on this team.

    But this team competed hard last night - all game and made a comeback after the 16-0 run. They defended and never quit. One player who played well and never gets mentioned is Jude. She had only 5 points, but she had 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals with only two turnovers while playing 37 minutes against a very talented team. Dyer, Hammond and Moore also played tough and well. Gary

  8. In regards to a recent post about tall players/posts, I think I mentioned this last year even with Shoni and the giant killers, but to be in the elite Louisville needs some height. Shoni era was a run and gun type style which was great, rez ball which was effective, this year not so rez ball lol. Competing, and a chance at a good run isn't bad. Onto the next.

  9. All good points but free throw shooting remains a concern

  10. I know I am not the only one who can see us becoming one of those elite teams, if, in fact, we are not already. Not yet UConn, but we're coming for them, as witnessed by us having the No. 1 recruiting class, not UConn, Tenn, Baylor, Stanford, etc. The talent pool has widened considerably, and Walz will get his fair share of talent. And he knows what to do with them when he does.

    1. If Asia Durr is anywhere near as good as her videos and stats make her appear, and if the freshman bigs (DeGrate and Fuehring) can play a little along with Hines-Allen, "E" and Walton, team can take another step forward next year. Then watch out in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

  11. Durr's high school career ended tonight - her team lost 59-55 to the #1 team in Georgia. Durr was "held" to 40.


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