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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sending the Seniors out in style...Louisville 77 - Boston College 60 -- Friday Cardinal Couple

Five hit for double figures in Cards win

Cards signing autographs after the game
The Louisville women's basketball team survived a three-point barrage from visiting Boston College and said goodbye to five seniors in the home finale for the Cards Thursday night. 10488 braved arctic-like weather in Louisville to see Bria Smith, Sherrone Vails, Shawnta' Dyer, Jude Schimmel and Sara Hammond...the Cards never in serious trouble against a trifecta-happy BC squad that attempted 26 and made 12.

Photo by Charlie Springer - UofL Card Game
They shot threes with the same voracity that Paulie hits the media buffet...and six different Eagles cashed in from the deep. BC attempted 47 shots in the game and 12 of the 22 baskets made were outside the arc.

After a pre-game ceremony honoring the seniors and their families (Jude's contingent numbered 18...) Jeff Walz started all five final year players and they jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first two minutes after six straight Dyer points and a Smith putback of a Hammond shot. 

The Eagles countered with two straight threes by Nicole Boudreau to get within two...but it would be the closest they would get for the remainder of the game.

Walz kept the seniors on the court for the first six minutes before sending the freshmen Moore and Hines-Allen into the contest. Louisville had amassed a 14-6 lead at that point and would finish the 10-0 run with the duo connecting on a fast break layup by Hines-Allen and two Moore free throws.

It was 18-6 and you got the feeling that this one was already a "W".

Louisville led 31-15 with 7:34 showing on the clock after a spectacular Moore three and the talented freshman would run off five more straight points to give UofL a 36-23 edge with five minutes left in the half.

BC did not relent in the three-point efforts...taking 14 in the first twenty minutes and hitting seven. Kelly Hughes three with 86 seconds left in the half trimmed the Louisville advantage to 42-31 but Louisville added two Moore free throws and a Hines-Allen jumper with eight seconds to take the 46-31 lead to the locker room.

Photo by Charlie Springer -
Moore (12 points) and Dyer (10 points) were already in double figures for the Cards and Louisville was outscoring the Eagles 30-8 in the paint. BC's halftime stats revealed numbers I don't ever remember seeing before...they were 11-22 from the floor (50%), 7-14 from three-point range (50%) and 2-4 from the free throw line (50%). Their eight rebound were four offensive (50%) and four defensive (50%).

The halftime activities featured an incredible group of a dozen or so Native American dancer groups that ranged from grade school aged performers to senior citizen dancers...all dressed in colorful and intricate tribal wear. They were accompanied by the steady drum beat and chant from the amazing Elk Soldier drum core...which featured almost a dozen drummers with one drumstick each -- beating a single drum in unison while chanting. 

Photo by Charlie Springer
The Cards started the second half with the same senior starting five. The Eagles were back with the long range bombing, though and hit the first two threes they attempted to trim the Cardinal advantage to 46-37 a minute and a half into action. BC hung around within range for the first five baskets with Louisville and trailed 55-44 after a Ashley Kelsick score inside. 

The Cards got busy after that and went on a 12-2 run to take a commanding 67-46 lead with 10:07 to play on a Hines-Allen putback of her own missed shot. That lead would stretch out to 77-51 with five minutes to play after a Vails jumper off a nice feed by Bria. 

Walz had all the seniors back on the court with 3:24 remaining and substituted for by a standing ovation from the crowd with 31 seconds to go. Sherrone Vails was the last to leave. The Eagles finished with a 9-0 run...including (you guessed it) a couple more threes for the 77-60 final score. 

Moore led the double figure producers with 18 points (including four threes) and Dyer finished with 13. Hines-Allen added 12, Jude (with three threes) and Bria totaled 11 points each. A quiet offensive night for Sara (1-8) and just three points in 26 minutes. Louisville forced 27 Eagles turnovers that produced 38 points and held a 22-5 second change advantage. The Cards also had 19 assists on 28 baskets. 

Louisville was looking to improve from the outing against Notre Dame and they did accomplish that quite well. Walz wanted the defense to make BC take layups instead of threes, which didn't turn out so well, but Louisville did shoot 42.4% for the game...a blistering 56.3% in the first twenty and a so-so 29.4% in the final half. 

All five seniors were featured in the post-game presser and they discussed their memories and feelings about their time at UofL. Bria fought back tears when she talked about the seniors 'sisterhood' , Sara spoke passionately about passing the torch to the underclassmen, Shawnta' recalled her trials with overcoming injuries, Sherrone spoke eloquently about her love for the fans and her teammates and Jude announced she is writing a book titled Dreamcatcher. 

I got a little misty-eyed seeing them all there together and realizing it would be the last time I've ever see them up on that stage. 

A fitting way for these five to end their KFC YUM! Center days. All played at least 19 minutes and all five scored. The task is not done for them yet...dangerous Virginia awaits them Sunday in Charlottesville and ACC Tournament play next Friday as a probable #3 seed. 

In a season that has produced a very unexpected 24-4 record and the emergence of two of the best freshmen in the country...the contributions of Jude, Sara, Shawnta', Sherrone and Bria will long be remembered by Cardinal fans. Five women that bonded to make up the largest senior class in Jeff Walz's coaching history and five individuals that will go on to achieve even greater things when they leave campus and go out into the world after college. No matter where they end get the feeling this fivesome will always be a tight-knit bond. 

( A special thanks to Charlie Springer at for sending photos of last night's game and the photos he has supplied us with all season long. Be sure to check out his Senior Night photo gallery at his fine website



  1. Awesome write up!

  2. I agree with Wade, a fine piece of writing. Average home attendance of over 9,500 fans is amazing. Quite the Program. Gonna have to get a copy of Jude's book.

    1. Thanks, guys! We don't know a whole lot about Jude's book yet (as she said...a girl's got to have a little intrigue about her). We do know it isn't finished yet, no one has read any of it yet except her and the other seniors joked that they would like to proof-read it before it gets published if it's about or includes them.


    2. Knowing Jude I imagine it will be permeated with kindness and positivity.

  3. A great job by Walz last night in getting all the seniors plenty of court time and still getting a convincing win. One wonder how this senior starting lineup would have done on a regualr basis throughout the season, maybe

  4. This team has exceeded so many expectations in their first season in the ACC and I do feel that they could make a deep torunament run this year. It's a shame they can't open at home. Cards just have to hope they can avoid UConn or South Carolina in their region.

    The Real Joe Hill

  5. This was a masterpiece of sports journalism, and equal to the fine performances this group of seniors have given.

    Jude needs to get more rest on the bench. She is playing too many minutes and it is often hurting her performances. She has been playing well -sometimes really well - but always running the offense, handling the ball the most of the time, making the most passes, and defending the other team's best guard can be emothionally and physically exhausting. She was really exhausted in the second half last night, and I have noticed it in some other games as well. She played 37 minutes against ND. She is playing a lot because she has been playing well generally, and because the freshman Carter seems to have lost her confidence, Megan D. is hurt I think, and Bria Smith has been in the Coach's doghouse.

    If Jeff does not have confidence in Carter, he should use Bria Smith as the backup point guard. He actually has done that a little recently. Giving Jude a little more rest time would make her more effective and, as a result, the whole team more effective.

    I know the long trip home from ND in the vans did not help; and, with family in town, the seniors probably did not get a lot of sleep before the game as well. Even players who are in great shape need moments to relax and refresh. Gary

  6. Some good points. Jude does seem frail & tired at times and has been playing a lot of minutes particularly considering her bad ankle. I just don't see where Walz has much for choices right now. As much as I love Carter's ball handling skills one on one she just hasn't gotten to the point that she can run the offense effectively. Bria has periods when she does a great job but when it's not working for her it really isn't working.

    Hopefully Jude will hold up playing big minutes for another 10 games or so...


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