RUNS HELP "UNFOCUSED" CARDS DOWN TIGERS
It wasn't the prettiest win in UofL women's basketball history, but the Cards used two runs to pull away from a determined Clemson and get their 19th win of the season -- and 800th in program history -- at the Littlejohn Coliseum Thursday night in front of 346 people.
Louisville (19-4, 6-2) came out sloppy and "unfocused" to start this one...Jeff Walz and the coaches noticed it in pre-game warmups...but managed to take a 7-3 lead after a Myisha Hines-Allen jumper at the 7:03 mark. Hines-Allen would have 16 points in the contest to lead all scorers...but Clemson would go on a 8-3 run over the next six minutes to take a 11-10 lead after Aliyah Collier sank two straight jumpers. The Cards were able to get the final four points in the 1:39 minutes closing out the first...off layups from Sam Fuehring and Briahanna Jackson to secure a 14-11 lead.
It wasn't pretty basketball by either team in those first ten minutes...and things would get worse for Louisville before it got better.
Asia Durr would start things off well for UofL to start the second with a three...but Clemson scored seven of the next eight points to tie it up 18-18 after a Victoria Cardaci three with 5:23 until halftime. Two minutes of scoreless hoops ensued until Mariya Moore banged home a three. Ciera Johnson would add a free throw and basket in the final 2:06 and the 6-0 run gave the Cards a 24-18 halftime lead.
The Cards needed that late half wake up call to continue into the second half and...fortunately...it did.
Cortnee Walton got her only two points of the game to start the third quarter on a putback and Hines-Allen followed with a jumper a couple of minutes later. A Durr three and two straight Hines-Allen jumpers pushed the Louisville lead to 35-20 over the next minute. The Cards were on a 11-2 run to start the second half and a 17-2 run...going back to the second period. Hines-Allen would hit again and Durr added a layup to end the period...but Clemson would get two buckets to end the time frame and trailed 39-30 with ten minutes to play. Hines-Allen and Durr had 13 of the Cards 15 points in the quarter.
The third frame also featured the old school-yard play of throwing the inbound pass underneath your basket off a defender with her back turned and then retrieving the "ball-in-play" for a basket. Nelly Perry pulled the prank on Moore...it was the only two points Clemson's season-leading scorer would get on the night.
Clemson made one last charge at the Cards to start the final quarter.
Danielle Edwards would cash in two free throws and a three-ball...sandwiched around a Hines-Allen layup and Clemson was within six at 41-35 with 8:19 to go. Louisville turned off the snooze alarm, got out of bed and responded to the threat, though...going on a 15-2 run over the next four minutes -- aided by a Shook three, BJ basket and two Moore free throws and a three. Louisville found themselves with their largest lead of the game at 56-37 with 4:16 remaining in the contest. It was 58-39 Cards after two Moore free throws at 2:12.
Clemson outscored Louisville 7-2 the rest of the way...Bionca Dunham getting the final points of the game on a nice feed from Brianna Jones with 10 seconds left in the contest. Final: Cards 60 - Clemson 46.
Louisville put three in double-figure scoring. Beside Hines-Allen's 16...Moore and Durr finished with 13 each. Durr and Moore had three 3's each and Louisville ended up shooting 39.7% (23-58) for the night...holding Clemson to 29.4% 15-51).
Color Jeff Walz unsatisfied on the Cardinal effort:
" I don't care what somebody's record is, you're playing an ACC program. It's my fault. It amazes me you can't come prepared to play every might. You only get so many opportunities."
Add Hines-Allen to that list:
"We have to get better because once we go further into the season and the ACC Tournament starts, we can't have those slow starts...when you get to the tournament, it's one and done."
ACC wins on the road. You take them, say "thank you", exchange final good-byes with the foe, wave to the probably 50 Cardinal fans out of the 100 or so left in the arena, hit the bus, get on the plane and come home to work on what didn't go so well and prepare for the next one. Based on Louisville's "on again-off again" performance, we suspect the next two days of practice should be interesting.
(Game photos courtesy of Ned Taylor - Clemson Athletics)
HOW DID FRED DO?
|Actor Fred Willard...of Anchorman fame.|
Rebounding -- Clemson won the boards battle 39-34. They are not a particularly tall team but out-hustled and out-positioned Louisville on missed shots. Hines-Allen ended with seven and Shook had three in just seven minutes. Collier had 11 for Clemson. She's a 5'9" guard. We can't award a letter for this stat.
Effort/Execution -- It was a pretty dull and un-inspiring effort from Walz's bunch tonight...except for the runs. True, Louisville only had 11 turnovers...but the Cards seemed to just settle for three-point attempts at times instead of working the ball. BJ was hustling and so was Mariya at the end but Louisville lost the points-in-the-paint battle and had a mere two points off fast-breaks. The Cards won, so we'll award a lower case "e". Barely.
Defense -- Holding the Tigers to 46 points and 29% shooting are both good numbers. Creating 16 opponent turnovers is good also. Winning works. We'll give out a small case "d" because the Cards did just enough put away a win-less in 39-straight games ACC opponent by a much lower victory margin than most of us expected. Maybe the huge win over Georgia Tech spoiled us.
FINAL FRED COUNT: F-_-e-d
WHAT WE LIKED
-- Winning the fourth quarter. Louisville stumbled at the beginning of the quarter but was able to regroup and put the opponent away. Moore, BJ and Myisha responded like veteran starters should and had showed a bit of killer instinct with the 15-2 run.
-- BJ's hustle. It isn't always the leading scorer who has the best game. We liked Briahanna Jackson's hustle tonight and her six points, five rebounds and four assists. Her 3-10 shooting wasn't a joy to watch...but she hit a couple of absolutely needed baskets and the shot selection was good, not forced, for the most part. They're gonna fall, BJ...they're gonna fall eventually.
WHAT NEEDS WORK
-- Cherish the moment and come to play. The lack of focus, hustle and awareness was painfully hard to watch at times tonight. You just don't show up and get guaranteed a win in this league. You go out and earn it. The Cards did win...but, at times, they seemed to just be going through the motions and not the #9 team in the nation. A 5'9" sophomore guard had a double-double on you (10 points and 11 rebounds). Nothing to be proud of there...unless you are Aliyah Collier.
-- Rebounding. Normally this isn't an area to worry about when discussing Louisville women's basketball. It was tonight, though. Maybe it was because Cortnee had limited playing time? Clemson was 13th. in the league in rebounding margin coming in to this game and Louisville was 4th...so I have to ask...what happened?
We promote the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here at CARDINAL COUPLE. Some days...there are more occasions to celebrate this joy and excitement than others.
Maybe this win will look better if Clemson gets it together and gets a few upset-ACC victories. The way it stands now, though...it was just an unremarkable victory against the win-less cellar-dweller in ACC women's basketball. A win on the road...valuable in conference play always and earned against a Clemson team that knew the odds stacked against them and came out and gave it their best shot.
FUTURE CARD VS. FUTURE CARD
|CHRIS STALLINGS - BULLITT EAST|
The survivor heads to Assumption High School as one of the four semifinalist for Saturday action. The two stars are good friends, as are the coaches of each program....Bullitt East's Chris Stallings and Mercer County's Chris Souder.
Duvall averages 24.7 ppg for #11 Bullitt East (20-4). Robins is good for 15.5 a night for #2 Mercer County (16-5).
Other quarterfinal action involves:
#1 Louisville Butler (20-1) vs. South Warren (13-5) at 4 p.m.
#5 Louisville Sacred Heart vs #4 Simon Kenton at 5:30 p.m.
#3 Louisville Male (18-1) vs. #17 Henderson County (17-2) at 8:30 p.m.
will hit the Newburg Rd. Knights Gym facility for the Chargers vs. Titans action, hopefully get a few interviews and report on contest in tomorrow's column and on the THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR Saturday morning.
It's one of those games where I can't take a side and cheer for one team. Just sitting back, enjoying the game and hoping I can score a media pass. The popcorn is pretty good at Knights Gym. I wonder if they'll have fish sandwiches as well...also very good there. Maybe Nick Curran brought some extra boiled peanuts back from Clemson and will show up with them in hand.
Or not. I tried them several years ago and they aren't exactly on the Paulie Gastronomical Delight Top Ten list.
AROUND THE ACC...
-- Notre Dame downed Duke 62-58
-- Florida State wins at Georgia Tech 69--63
-- NC State takes Pittsburgh 55-42
-- Virginia whomps Virginia Tech 76-27 (Wow!) Didn't see that coming...
-- Wake Forest over Boston College 71-55
-- Miami outscores North Carolina 100-88
Paulie's Picks went 6-1 on Thursday...the Virginia win my defeat.
Overall, I stand at 46-10 on the season....good for 82.7%.
grumpy old man? Maybe...