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Monday, December 12, 2016

Louisville Women's Basketball -- Frenzied finish foils Toppers in 68-61 Cards win -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Louisville women's basketball went on a 11-2 run to start the fourth quarter... regaining the lead over Western Kentucky and pulled away at the end to defeat the Bowling Green school 68-61 in front of 9861 fans at the KFC YUM! Center Sunday afternoon. 

Leading the charge was junior forward Myisha-Hines Allen...who had six of her 16 points in the four minute stretch that saw Louisville erase an eight-point deficit after three periods and go ahead 55-54 with 6:10 left in the contest. Two Asia Durr threes sandwiched a Mariya Moore layup to give UofL some breathing room at 63-59 with 3:33 left in the contest. After a Walton jumper set the score at 65-51, the Cards introduced the latest Walzian Theorum to the crowd in the final 13 seconds. 

1 for 2, followed by 2 for 2 is better than 2 for 2. Briahanna Jackson sank a free throw to give the Cards a 66-61 lead. She missed the second attempt but Hines-Allen was there to corral the rebound and got fouled by WKU's Kendall Noble. Hines-Allen sank her two free throws to set the final score. If Jackson hadn't missed hers, Hines-Allen wouldn't have had the chance to complete the theory's presumption. If B.J. had made both, it would have been 67-61 and Western would have needed two three-pointers or three-point plays in 13 second to tie the game. 

The 23-9 fourth quarter for Louisville was unlike most of the game. Louisville looked sloppy and unfocused the the first quarter, trailing 10-6 until a couple of freshmen in Kylee Shook and Sydney Zambrotta came in and  got the crowd and the team fired up. Shook's jumper drew the Cards to within two. Zambrotta's two threes in the final 1:42 of play cut the Topper's lead to 16-14.

Why Zambrotta so early? Coach Walz mentioned that she had a great week of practice and that he had told her she would get a chance to show if she could continue that with some early playing time. The North Babylon, NY sharp-shooter responded with three more trifectas in the second period...making up half the Cards first half scoring offense...but WKU turned Ivy Brown loose on the Cards and her nine points led the visitors to a 38-32 halftime lead. 

Louisville was 8-9 from three point range after 20 minutes. Normally, you'd think that would be associated with a 14-20 point lead...but the Cards were not getting the job defensively and already had 10 turnovers in the books. 

Whatever Walz said at halftime worked for a few minutes. Cortnee Walton started the second half on a 4-0 run and UofL finished their 10-0 start-of-the-half run with a Hines-Allen jumper to give the home squad a 42-38 advantage halfway through the third. The Toppers refused to yield, however and responded with a 14-2 to finish the quarter...a space of time where Topper sophomore Jaycee Coe did her Sydney Zambrotta imitation and sank three three-point bombs during a stretch where the Cards went 1 for 6 and committed five turnovers. It was 52-44 WKU after 30 minutes and Cardinal fans were feeling slightly nervous in the KFC YUM! Center about Louisville's less-than-Heisman-Award winning-performance. 

Credit the Cards for buckling down and playing solid defense in the final ten minutes...holding WKU to 4 for 14 (28.6%) shooting in the period. And capitalizing on those misses with a 14-4 rebounding edge...Hines-Allen controlling seven of them. Credit Asia Durr for ice-water in her veins and nailing two big threes when Louisville absolutely needed them. 

On an afternoon where cloudy skies and rain threatened, Louisville broke through with a little sunshine late in the afternoon and the ACC Player of the Year turned in a finishing performance that showed why she got the award last season. 


Legendary Louisville sportscaster and my
buddy Fred Cowgill. 
-- Free Throws -- Another "El Stinko" performance at the charity stripe for Louisville. 4-9 is very *meh* and maybe we should change the "F" in the "Fred" sequence to something fouls or field goals...because we don't give an "f" for 44.4% shooting from the stripe. No letter, the mailman ain't here.

-- Rebounding --  Louisville did out-grab the smaller foe by 16 which is an encouraging stat. The starting Louisville front line (Hines-Allen, Moore and Walton) had 28 of the 41, which we like to see and...besides Ivy Brown...who had nine for WKU and had to missed 13 minutes because of a smash to the face and jersey-change...Louisville did a good enough job keeping the foe off the boards and controlling them (especially in the final stanza) to give the capital "R" out

-- Effort/Execution -- Quite honestly...and except for the five-star performance of Zambrotta in the the first half, we thought the Cards looked as flat as a three-day-old-opened soda for most of the first 30 minutes. Still, the Cards rose to the occasion when it mattered and for that, we'll give out a small "e" 

-- Defense -- Once again, there were stretches when the Cards played "efense" (No "D") but effectively shut down the foe in crunch time. Maybe the tired legs caught up with WKU in the final ten...we'll still offer a small "d" here 



Wham, bam, thank ya Zam! -- Sydney Zambrotta's first half performance was incredible, to say the least. Coach Walz mentioned after the Kentucky win that he was still looking for a third three point-scorer. 

Mr. Walz...may I introduce you to Ms. Zambrotta? 

Get outta the way for MHA -- Myisha took over the fourth stanza, with a lot of help from Asia. 3 for 3 shooting, two free throws and seven rebounds say "YES!" to us and if you need a definition of the term "refuse to lose" look no further than the Montclair, NJ junior. 

Sealing the deal -- Winning the fourth quarter has been a bit of a tricky procedure for Louisville women's basketball this season but the Cards dominated in the final ten minutes yesterday. If it is "all about the heart", the Cards showed that theirs was beating pretty strongly at the end of Sunday's game. 


Consistency -- We don't like beating this horse as much as we have been lately, but this was two separate games yesterday. 30 minutes of playing below the level of their competition and 10 minutes of looking like a top-10 team. 19 turnovers are a few too many against Western.

Defense -- We'll plead for about the same thing here. A constant effort. Yes, WKU knew what Louisville was going to try to stop them with, thanks to Michelle Clark-Heard's long association with the program and very few expected Coe's barrage in the third...but you have to recognize the shooters on the court and WKU was getting a lot of easy looks in the paint early on. 


Always good to see my "lil sis" 
In the final analysis, it was a win over a squad that we most certainly feel with be a part of March Madness. Adding Kyvin Goodin-Rogers is only going to help WKU and "The Browns" and Noble make WKU a very formidable foe. Louisville saved the day with their fourth-quarter blitz and it's two very good games in a row for Hines-Allen. The effort by UofL yesterday would not gather wins over most of the ACC, though, and that is a bit distressing. 

Chalk it up as a "W" and Louisville is 8-2 now. A tip of the cap to the starters for finishing strong and to Syd for creating some memorable moments. Louisville narrowly avoided a train wreck Sunday, though, and that should be something for them to keep in mind when they face a very talented  (8-2) South Dakota State squad Wednesday that is looking for a signature win. 

Coach may be air surfing here...we're just not sure...

One of my favorite refs in Dennis DeMayo had the call in the game yesterday, which tickled me..since I thought he was going to retire after last year. Nice to see him out there. I did hold up a cookie for him to see at the end of halftime, like I do with most of the refs...and offered it to him. His response was classic..."I'd rather have a beer." Keep calling them like you see them, "Dub D". I was pretty much ready for one starting the second half myself. 

Also in attendance was another great guy in Paul Sanderford. I got to chat with the long-time coach and color commentator legend in the Media Room before the contest and he's still as fun, gracious and entertaining as he's always been. 

A great story about a new and "wordy" play-by-play guy he once worked with. Paul couldn't get a word in edgewise in the first half of a game, so when they went to commercial break, he informed the gabby guy...

"i'm going to go take a pee, get a coke a hot dog and enjoy the rest of this one...because it's obvious you don't need me." (Guess who got all the time he wanted in the second half and rest of the season?) 

CLASSIC Paul...keeping it real. Keep 'em coming, Coach! 


Post game was pretty much The Paulie Show again...especially with the players and Walz. Coach Walz did explain his latest two theorum to me and there were no quacking ducks in the background. 

I probably didn't do as good of a job with the players as I SHOULD HAVE...that's on me...but I was in there pitching with no one in the bullpen to back me up and runners in scoring position. Nice practice for the comedy routine Coach and I are taking to the road after the season ends. 

Your post-game links: 






  1. This one had me nervous until that final stretch, Paulie. What a great time for Syd to show why she was recruited and another excellent finish for the Cards but I think that defense was the savior on Sunday. That and Myisha Hines Allen and Asia Durr playing up to their billing in the fourth.

    I'm glad Coach Walz is continuing to explain the game of basketball and his theories to you.

    -- The Real Joe Hill --

  2. Zambrotta was awesome. Liked the stretch were there were 4 freshmen playing at the same time in a very undecided game. Thought Jessica handled point effectively in those minutes.
    And, as usual, this team will make it's biggest improvement over the Christmas break.

    1. I did see that, K and have to agree with you. Louisville's best basketball is yet to come.


    2. Like a eight cylinder engine only firing four, look out when all cylinder are firing.Go cards

  3. Wow, what a nail-biter! Hey, Paulie, I saw you chatting with Greg Collins before the game. You two seemed to be having quite the animated and fun conversation. Details?

    Nick O.

    1. LOL. I've known Greg since those dark days when Martin Clapp left and before Tom Collen took over. We were recalling that era a bit and also the story about the sports-writer who tweeted out that DeShawn Watson would have won the Heisman if "he had played in as weak a conference as Lamar Jackson had". (Know much about football, guy?).

      Greg held the Louisville women's basketball program together at a very rough time when he didn't even know if he was going to have a job there in the future. Mucho props to Greg and the job he did and still does. Class act and always good to see.


  4. Finally figured out to view the ACC Network games online. Zambrotta has a great stroke...she's the only thing that kept us from getting run out of the Yum during the first half. If "Z" can continue to do anything remotely close to that first half performance she's a key piece going forward.

    I get concerned when our experienced Wade Watch List upperclassmen get benched in the first half. Doesn't make sense to me, particularly if as MHA said during the presser it all comes down to defensive effort and the offense follows. Hopefully they'll get over it. That said their stat lines looked OK at game end.

    I thought Durr saved the game after Z turned the ball over late at midcourt. If she hadn't run down their guard from behind, stopped a sure layup and causing her to turn it back over it would have been a one or two point game. Great effort by a kid that doesn't necessarily have to put that type of defensive effort out but does anyway. To me that was even more impressive than her clutch shooting.

    The Paulie & Jeff show is pretty entertaining. I just hope that we can find a subject other than our horrible free throw shooting joke about in the near future. It's kinda funny when you can still win in non-conference games. Won't be so humorous during ACC play or the tourney.

    1. Great points, Burn! That stop was huge. Walz was lighting a camp-fire underneath Myisha most of the game and I guess it finally sank in. Kudos to WKU for leaving it all out there...they'll do well in CUSA. I expect they'll win in, based on what I've seen between them and MTSU.

      I think I'm going to wear a afro wig, fake beard and mustache and sunglasses to the Wednesday post game presser, just to throw coach off or give him some new subject material.


    2. There you go...I see a YouTube channel coming.

  5. A good team effort,they played good defense down the stretch.Go Cards!

    1. PS good game from BJ & cortee they were warrior's out there .Go Senior .

    2. Agreed. BJ drives me crazy but her fearlessness keeps us in games when nothing else is working. If she ever starts hitting her shots Look Out.

      Walton is stepping up. Hoping she can finish at the rim stronger going forward but she's a rock for this club.

  6. I think the original group of girls MHA,Mariya,Walton,BJ and The addition Durr are shinning because it seems the circus of the rotation has slowed down and there is now consistency! Hopefully the best is yet to come!

    1. I would agree. WE'll know more Wednesday against a tough SD State squad...but, it looks like the five mentioned by you had 170 of the 200 minutes available against UK and 174 of the WKU minutes.


  7. Paul, I think maybe your questions to Coach are so inclusive and insightful that the rest of the press is speechless. Perhaps you could write out some questions for them and hand them out.

    1. Nah...between the interns and the TV folks in the back, chances are they'd either toss any suggestions or be baffled by them and probably flunk out. Six TV talking heads and they come up with two questions. Those cameras must be awfully tough to work. More hot air in that media room than in a fully inflated hot air balloon...LOL


    2. You keep asking Paulie. We want to know. The hell with mass media. Overpaid and non-productive for the most part.


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