TOPPERS HANG ON TO SEND CARDS TO DEFEAT
Despite 24 points from Briahanna Jackson...Louisville takes their second loss of the basketball season in Bowling Green to WKU 71-69 Saturday afternoon.
The Cards had reclaimed the lead at 68-67 with 42 seconds to go in a topsy-turvy 4th period after Jackson connected on a layup, got fouled and made the free throw. Jeff Walz switched to a zone defense on the ensuing WKU possession to try and confuse the Hilltoppers but WKU guard Kendall Noble found a wide open Kayla Smith under the basket to put WKU ahead with 34 ticks remaining.
The Cards looked to have a good chance to regain the lead when they advanced the ball but misses by Arica Carter and Cortnee Walton on jumpers and then a highly questionable travelling call on Walton with 15 seconds left got the ball back in Western's possession. A quick foul sent Noble to the line and her two conversions made it 71-68 WKU.
Walz got a 30 second timeout and most of us on press row expected the Cards to try a potentially tying three on the ensuing play. Instead, Taja Cole went to the basket for a layup and was fouled on the missed attempt. After Cole sank the first and missed the second, Jackson came up with the rebound with eight seconds remaining but the Cards could not get off a final shot.
Louisville started the game slowly and trailed 12-3 with 2:43 left in the first period after Noble drained a three. Baskets by Sam Fuehring, Myisha Hines-Allen and Asia Durr got the Cards finally rolling and back to within seven and the first ten minutes ended with WKU holding a 16-9 lead.
UofL steadily chipped away at the WKU lead in the second period and a Jackson three got the Cards within two at 22-20 with 5:13 until the intermission. Jackson would tie the contest at 26-26 with another three at the 2:42 mark and the Cards would go in at the half trailing 33-32 after Hines-Allen connected inside with six seconds left to play.
Louisville took their first lead of the contest since the 8:07 mark of the first period when they created a steal and Hines-Allen would bank in a layup to make it 34-33 Louisville just 25 second into the third period. The Cards would not relinquish that lead over the next 10 minutes and Cole's driving layup with 1:16 remaining in the third gave UofL a 49-46 lead after 30 minutes of play.
Then came the fireworks. Moore inside made it 51-46 Cards at the 9:17 mark and one wondered if the Cards might be on the verge of putting the Toppers away.
Quite the opposite happened.
It was WKU getting the hot hand and a 10-0 run over the next three minutes put them in a 56-51 lead. The Cards battled back. Carter tied the contest at 60-60 with 3:04 left and Durr put Louisville ahead with a free throw. It was WKU's turn to catch on fire and they went on a 7-1 run over the next two minutes to lead 67-62. A Moore three cut that margin to two and led to the frantic final 42 seconds.
|WKU mascot Big Red shows Paulie his...OK, nevermind...
Questions, questions...were the Cards over-ranked to start this season when they only were returning two starters from last years squad?
And did Walz get a little over-zealous with some tough early match-ups for such a young squad?
A quiet night scoring for Moore and Hines-Allen (21 total points and a combined 7 for 25 shooting) which leads to the question... are the two stepping up to the level so far that fans expected them to be at?
Durr still looks to be less than full strength...the explosion with the ball just isn't there yet....and the Cards overall defense in the post still needs a lot of work.
Missed layups. Crucial free throw misses. A great night on the offensive boards with 31 grabs but only 16 second chance points. That speaks volumes. 33% from three-point range is passable (8 for 24) but Moore, Durr and Cole were a combined 4 for 16. In the post, Hines-Allen and Walton were 4 for 16 (25%). That has to improve.
The transition from being the "all-everything" in high school to team play in college can be a slow one for a freshmen. The individual talent is there, no one can question that...but working as a unit is a much different aspect and the Cards could definitely use some improvement on this part of their game.
The slow start tonight was particularly distressing. Such a lackadaisical approach to the first few minutes of yesterday's game needed Walz's immediate attention and he probably should have substituted more than he did or gotten a timeout and blistered a few ears.
A work in progress...this team is. The question is...how long will it take to get the construction finished? That slight but growing fan base murmur of discontentment you're hearing in the background and the e--mails we're getting could get much more audible if the Cards head south and fall to Marist and two more opponents in the Gulf Coast Showcase.
I realize that today's write-up doesn't exactly embody the "joy and excitement" of UofL women's sports that is our mission statement...but...sometimes it's hard to put lipstick on a pig and pass it off as a beauty contestant. Two games in and Louisville is 0-2 and had chances to win both.
It's early, plenty of games yet to play but this 2015-16 team sorely needs a few more positive signs besides Action Jackson and Arica Carter.
VOLLEYBALL HOSTS GA.TECH
Louisville Volleyball looks to maintain their lead in the ACC when Georgia Tech comes to call today for a 2 p.m. match in the KFC YUM! Center.
What could be more fun than attending a action-packed, hard-hitting contest in a warm, spacious arena?
Head down to the river and give the VolleyCards your support!
CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR
Our latest radio show is available now at the link below. We were live from the Paul Just Media Center inside E.A. Diddle arena and we think our first remote ever with both of us out of the studio went well.
Paige Sherrard wasn't able to join us on the broadcast (time mix-up) but we hope to have her on for broadcasts in the future. She wrote a nice piece for Swish Appeal about Saturday's game. Be sure to get over there to check it out.