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Friday, January 8, 2016

Hines-Allen's double-double, B.J.'s 4th quarter lead WBB past Va.Tech 56-45 -- Friday Cardinal Couple


In a contest that could have passed for a back-alley, bare-knuckled brawl at times...Louisville overcame a third quarter where they shot 2-14 and saw a 13-point halftime lead dwindle to five to regroup and down the Hokies in front of 7891 fans Thursday night in the KFC YUM! Center. 

The Cards shot just 34.5% for the contest but went a stellar 16-20 from the foul stripe...8-10 in the pivotal final beat a Virginia Tech squad that bumped and bullied Louisville throughout the contest...drawing the Cards into two technical fouls and countless falls and floor scrambles. 

Louisville and VT were tied up at 13-all after the first ten minutes...the Cards falling behind 5-2 early but coming back to take a 13-10 lead after two Taja Cole free throws with 1:13 left in the opening period. Hannah Young nailed a three for the visitors, though and the Cards missed two attempts to regain the lead before time expired. 

Louisville started the second quarter on an 11-0 run...Hines-Allen scoring nine of the points to grab a 24-13 edge. Four straight points from Asia Durr pushed that to a 28-16 advantage and a Briahanna Jackson twisting layup and free throw had the Cards ahead by 15 with 23 seconds until half. Louisville took a 31-18 lead to the locker 18-5 scoring advantage for the quarter. The Hokies shot 1-6 during the ten minutes. 

As good as the Cards looked in the second quarter, they looked equally horrible after the break. The Cards were 1-10 from the floor in the first five minutes of the third quarter and VT had climbed back to within six before Mariya Moore made her only basket of the contest...a clutch three that gave Louisville a 36-27 lead. Tech scored the final four points of the quarter, though...and Hines-Allen picked up her fourth foul with 1:57 remaining...Louisville held a 36-31 lead after three but the Cards were outscored 13-5 in the quarter and the Blacksburg, VA. school had gained momentum. 

B.J. to the rescue. Her nine points in the fourth quarter helped the Cards steadily stretch the lead to 46-35 after she nailed a jumper with 5:21 to play. The final 2:30 became a parade to the free throw line for the Cards...hitting 6 out of clinch the win. 

Hines-Allen's 18 points led the Cards and she added 10 rebounds for the double-double. Jackson, who eclipsed the 1,000 point total for her career in the fourth quarter, had 13 points and Durr added 10. Cortnee Walton had 11 boards for the winners...she and Hines-Allen had 13 offensive rebounds more than the entire VT squad. 

Walz played only seven players in the contest...five of them seeing 30+ minutes. Moore had six points, Walton four, Carter three and Cole two. Hannah Young had roughly 1/3 of VT's points....getting 16...and going 4-6 from the deep. 


-- Free throws. 80% (16-20) gets a capital-letter F and Louisville once again hit them down the stretch...going 8 for 10 in the fourth period. Well done, indeed! 

-- Rebounds. Louisville out-rebounded the Hokies 37-29 with also warrants a capital-letter R and UofL won the offensive boards convincingly 15-6. 

-- Easy shots. The Cards went 19-55 from the field (34.5%) against the best defensive team in the nation and missed nine out of 21 shots in the maybe a lower case "e"
here. That number doesn't look too bad when you compare it to the Cards 2-16 three-point shooting...and Louisville did make 10 out of their 12 layups. 

-- Defense. Holding VT to 45 points (the second lowest point total by a Louisville opponent this year) and 37.2% shooting mandates a capital-letter D. 11 steals for Walz's bunch and they forced 21 turnovers. Maybe the best defensive effort of the season for the Cards...

A win that was never really in danger...but a disappointing 10 minute stretch after halftime where the ball just wouldn't go into the cylinder. The technicals against the Cards (Hines-Allen and Durr) and the stoppages by the officials to talk to the coaches about the physicality serve to show that these are two teams who really don't care for each other very much and they got into each other's heads a bit out there on the court. 

Still, it's a impressive win against a one (now two) loss team and one that came without Louisville shooting particularly well. 

When asked about whether this one fit into the key victory category, Jeff Walz was realistic:

" Our win against Georgia Tech was a good one because I think they are going to win some games this year. So are the wins against Florida State and Michigan State. We've had some really good wins this year and this one over Virginia Tech is one also because they are very good and I am really impressed with how well they play." 

The redemption train rolls on...a bumpy ride Thursday night but the engineer and crew successfully reached their destination. It wasn't real pretty or scenic but it was a gusty effort that served as a possible indicator that maybe...just...maybe that this team is finally buying in fully to what the coaches are teaching.

It was going to take a great defensive effort to beat Virginia Tech and a great effort to overcome the stifling Hokies defense and the Cards accomplished both. Louisville will need their effort to be top notch again on Sunday...when Coach Jo Ann P brings the uber-talented Dookies to town.



  1. Let's face it, your little Birdies got lucky last night Paulie that Va. Tech couldn't hit the ocean with a rock when it came to shooting. I was there and was amazed by how both teams repeatedly couldn't convert on simple shots. I will say UofL's defense looks tons better than it did when they played UK and I really admire Jackson's hustle and drive. Your Cards have a shot at a top four ACC finish but they would be a sub .500 team in the SEC.

    Good luck against Duke. One thing we can both agree on is our dislike for the Blue Devils. We beat them up pretty convincingly, which means you may have a chance of squeaking by them.

    -- Matthew Mitchell For Governor --

    1. Your killing me here, Gov. First of all...why were you in Louisville when your kitties were beating up on a sub-par Bama team? Converting from the dark side? And...UK lost to Auburn? Really?

      I think the Cards would do well in the SEC. Admittedly, UK, South Carolina and A&M might be a tad better than the Cards right now...and Tennessee should catch on fire soon...but under .500? You need to lay off the cooking sherry so early in the morning. Matters not, UofL will go further in the NCAA Tournament than UK for the umpteenth year in a row and unless Calipari takes over the women's'll never see a Final Four during my lifetime.


    2. Watched the last quarter of A&M's loss to Arkansas last night. Right now I think we'd take them. Caught the tail end of the Florida Tenn game and man, Florida's Carlie Needles and Eleanna Christinaki are fearless. Love the way Needles shoots and how Christinaki attacks the rim. Florida was 1-20 in Knoxville going into the game. They won by 8. Fun!
      Nice win for Cards too!

    3. Yeah guv kitty cat, Cards barely squeaked by Duke.

  2. Nice piece Paulie. Great to see them being able to pull out the win when shots weren't falling. Love the defensive focus / effort and free throw efficiency. Doubt we'll see another game this year when both BJ and Moore aren't hitting from three. Time to warm up the shooting touch and take on the Dookies.

    Good shot back at The Guv too. I was gonna but you hit all the high points.

    1. LOL. What she failed to mention and I didn't point out is that she lives in Louisville and will opt-out driving to Lexington if it's one she can catch later on ESPN3 and if there's a local game she can attend. She also hits Bellarmine games and an occasional high school contest. Guv loves WBB...a shame she is misguided on the correct team to cheer for.


  3. Does anyone know why Durr picked up the technical foul? None of the fans in my area could figure it out? Looked to me like number 12 for VT should have picked one up for jumping into a scrum for the ball after the whistle blew the play dead.

    1. It was warranted. After the whistle, she shoved with two hands the player standing on the baseline. Freshman mistake, caught up in the emotion.



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