CARDS WIN EIGHTH STRAIGHT, GO TO 3-0 IN ACC WITH 11-POINT WIN
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 quarter...to 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 room...an 18-5 scoring advantage for the quarter. The Hokies shot 1-6 during the ten minutes.
|BOBBIE IS ENJOYING THE ACTION|
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 8...to clinch the win.
|MY BUDDY DENNIS DEMAYO IS BACK IN THE YUM!|
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.
HOW DID FRED DO?
-- 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 paint...so 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.