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Friday, December 11, 2015

Louisville Women's Basketball...No answer for Epps in Cards 18 point loss to UK -- Friday Cardinal Couple


It was a game Louisville never had a chance in Thursday night in Rupp Arena in front of an announced crowd of 14425. 

Led by Makayla Epps 24 points on 10-11 shooting, the Wildcats jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and never trailed in their fifth consecutive win over Louisville WBB. 

Every time the Cards would show signs of making it a close contest, Epps and the Cats would slam the door shut. After the dismal start, Louisville crawled back to within four at 14-10 after an Asia Durr jumper with 2:15 left in the first period. After a missed UofL layup, UK countered with a Janee Thompson three to take a 17-11 lead after 10 minutes. 

Louisville started the second period slowly and fell behind 27-18 at the 6:05 mark after a three from UK reserve Taylor Murray. It was part of a half-closing 15-4 UK run that saw the Cards commit five turnovers and hit only two baskets...both from Briahanna trail 39-22 at the half. The Cats outscored the Cards 12-4 in the paint in the 10 minutes and at the half Jackson was both the leading scorer (9 points) and rebounder (4 grabs) for a Louisville team that shot a woeful 7-25 (28%) in twenty minutes of play.

UofL would fight back to close the gap to 10 after a Myisha Hines-Allen jumper made it 47-37 with 3:19 left in the third but the Cats finished the period on a 7-4 run...Epps providing all seven points for UK. It was 54-41 after 30 minutes and looking bleak for Louisville. 

Louisville never got closer than 11 in the fourth period. A Hines-Allen jumper made it 56-45 with 7:03 to play but UK went on a 8-0 run over the next two minutes to go up 64-45 with five minutes left. 

The party was over. 

Not much more to say about this one. No real positives to look at...the Cards were out-rebounded 36-27, gave up 30 paint points to UK while managing only 18 and shot a pitiful 36.4% from the floor (and 2-11 from three-point land) while allowing the Cats to go 29-56 (51.8%) from the floor and 6-14 from beyond the arc (42%). They managed a mere 5 second-chance points....

Defensive effort and overall intensity took a punch in the gut last night against a UK squad who seemed to want it more and put four players in double-figures.

At 5'6" Jackson led the Cards in points (18) and rebounds (8). That's a great effort from the UCF transfer...but just outright embarrassing in terms of effort for the other seven players who wear the red and the black and saw action. Erin DeGrate, Brianna Jones, Dakota Weatherford and Syd Brackemyer never reported to the scorers table. Could they have helped? We'll never know...

The next two days of practice for the Cards should be interesting. Walz needs to find someone to step up besides Jackson and Hines-Allen and he needs to find it soon. Puzzling is Moore's dismal outing (seven points in 37 minutes) and Walton's rebounding effort ( two in 32 minutes). Will Durr be able and available to handle the grind of the upcoming Thursday-Sunday rigors ahead? Will Moore get it straightened out and will this squad become a passable defensive unit? 

There comes a time where you have to draw a line in the sand and either fight or take flight. That time is now for this here-to-for under-achieving Cardinal squad and especially for the highly lauded 2015 freshman class that contributed just a total of seven total points from only one player (Durr) and two rebounds in 51 minutes of play. 

It begins with IUPUI Sunday...who is in and who gets off the train? Louisville (3-5) has five non-conference games left...against less than powerhouse opponents (IUPUI, Dartmouth, Tenn.Tech, Charleston and UT-Martin) to develop a sense of urgency, commitment and unity before a very demanding ACC schedule. Will they climb aboard the train and establish an positive identity and consistent work ethic? Can a dedication to defense develop? 

We'll know in the next three weeks...  

(Sonja got pretty close in her prediction of a 77-62 UK win. I was, as usual, way off. She fell asleep during the second half while watching at home on TV...probably the best choice CARDINAL COUPLE made all night.) 

Most of the media nearly fell asleep during the lengthy delay between the post-game words from the UK players and Jeff Walz. It's understandable. Coaches coach and he was using the post-game to drive a few points home...from what we understand. 

Our mission statement here at Cardinal Couple is to report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports. Sadly, there wasn't much of that around Thursday night...



  1. We can't stop Epps. She is too good and showed it tonight. Not just us. She single-handedly beat Arizona State. You can't outcoach that much talent. Also, Mitchell recruits better than Walz.
    Morris and Murray were rated 58 and 55. Durr/Cole/Jones 2 and 26 and 40 out of high school. Who looked like the real players? Who fit a role on their team best? Murray and Morris by miles. These ratings of players don't mean much when players in the 50's out play players that are suppossed elite. Now we get to look forward to seeing these two guards for the next three years. Guards who fit a role. We have zero identity because our freshman are having no impact with the exception of Durr on occassion.

  2. Here's a quote from Epps after the game
    "I really was," Epps said when asked if she was surprised to be open on so many occasions. "I don't know if Louisville thinks I can't shoot, but if that's what they think, that's fine. There's probably a lot of people in the country who don't respect me as a jump shooter, but that's fine."

    1. Was there and heard that. Mitchell challenged her after the NKU game to step up and become more vocal and more of a leader on the team. That the aspect of playing the Cards...gave her all the motivation she needed to shine. As far as not guarding's just another breakdown in the line of communication from what the coaches want on defense and what the players actually do.


  3. Epps had 9 of the Cats first 14 points. Walz made one substitution in that period of time bringing in Durr for Moore. What happened to this increased defensive intensity that this team was supposedly acheiving? I hope your right about the next five, Paulie, because right now the women's look like a bunch of drunk sailors on shore leave when it comes to guarding anyone except for Jackson.

  4. Nothing wrong with losing a game or two if your club learns something in the process but the lack of aggressiveness and competitive desire that seems present with most of this year's kids is a head scratcher.

    It makes a person wonder if the time spent by Walz & Moore on USA Basketball this summer might have been better spent focusing on challenges closer to home. If there was ever a team that needed some pre or early season "cupcake" games it was this one. I think Paulie mentioned it in a prior post but some early season wins for this young team would have better positioned them for success later. I don't get why Walz didn't schedule some.

    It's way too early to get discouraged but a few observations:

    1) That preseason ranking was not a good thing for this club.
    2) Good defense & rebounding comes down to hard work and determination. If these kids can't muster it up it will be a long season.
    3) It's hard to beat a lunch hour YMCA team shooting 36% and 18% from three.

    It's interesting but last year's seniors were pretty deferential to M & M in the statistical departments that got all of the press, but they did the heavy lifting in the basketball basics that enabled the team to win. We're going to need M & M to play more like those veterans and less like the freshmen they were last year. Need some leaders on this team to help BJ out.

    On a more positive note it seems that we're shooting our free throws much better this year. Just need to bring everything else up to speed.

    1. Excellent points We benefited greatly last year from early season cupcakes to build momentum plus got some great breaks with injuries to top opponents to help us beat NC (McDaniel) and Cal ((Courtney Range). Everything went our way last year until Dayton. As much as I disliked Bria Smith's game she could play decent D and we really miss Dyer's D and rebounding. We don't have the bigs this year to rebound and defend.

    2. Yep. Those kids were veterans of multiple successful tourney runs. They knew that a high preseason ranking didn't mean anything until you proved it up. This years team just doesn't have that maturity or perspective yet.

      I hadn't seen that Epps quote before. That's aggravating but if this year's club is going to let UK kick sand in their faces and not get after them I guess they deserve what they settle for.

      Almost forgot...we coulda used us some "Vitamin E" yesterday. Might not have changed the outcome but there certainly would have been more juice out there.

  5. Well, Paulie. Your little birdies can't shoot, defend or rebound. It is actually sad to see. Now that the rivalry game is over, I'll be attending a few of the Sunday contests if they don't conflict with UK games. Just based on what I saw last night, UofL needs a few cupcakes and it looks like the next five are. Simply put, the Cats wanted it more last night and they went and got it. There is enough talent on the Louisville team to be very, very good by season end but they have to learn how to guard someone, make layups and grab rebounds. Walz will probably age 20 years this season. I'd like to see you put up pictures of when he first got to Louisville and a current picture side-to-side. Have patience with your team. They will improve. Sometimes, it's a long process. Don't give up on them.

    Matthew Mitchell For Governor

    1. Not giving up. Last night was disappointing but the sun came up this morning, didn't see my name in the obits and trust that the coaching staff will do what they can to turn the players into a better unit.


  6. Sad to admit but Matt is correct on just about all aspects of his post.

    So very disappointed in our lack of fire and heart last night. They need to go back into history and learn the meaning of the term " for the love of the game".

  7. Still willing to believe that their youth has been their enemy and to give the team time to show us what they are made of. I will still be in my game seat but it is time enough that they realize that others out there also are talented as well as experienced. Dig deep ladies.

  8. Just ugly. Agree with most of the posts here, Gov summed it up, no defense, no offense, no rebounding, others said it, no desire, no heart. Disagree that UK's freshmen are better or that Mitchell out recruits Walz, makes a big difference when freshmen are learning from and backing up/playing with upperclassmen rather them doing it with sophs. Rankings are overrated, sure, but our freshmen are indeed some of the best, they just need time. I am willing to give it to them. Said it before, will say it again, we'll see if there is any major improvements around mid Jan-early Feb. Nice to have a couple of easier games to try to translate what is practiced into game situations. GO CARDS!!!

  9. It's a young team and Hines-Allen and Moore weren't needed to be defensive stoppers their freshman year. These growing pains do suck but I think that this will be a good and tournament team come March. Either that or Walz will run all the un-believers off.

    You have to buy in and listen to your coaches. even Angel and Shoni did and they were two that were fairly headstrong. Good times coming Cardinal fans. Be patient and believe.

    Blue Lou

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