30-14 FOURTH QUARTER LIFTS LOUISVILLE OVER HOKIES
Three Cards gather double-doubles for Cards 21st win
The University of Louisville women's basketball team used a 13-2 run to start the fourth quarter to sprint past host Virginia Tech Thursday night in Blacksburg, VA and captured their eighth ACC win in front of 1723 in the Cassell Coliseum.
Asia Durr led all scorers with 30 points...and also had six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Durr had 14 points in the final quarter. Recording double-doubles for Louisville were Mariya Moore (17 points, 11 assists), Myisha Hines-Allen (13 points, 13 rebounds) and Sam Fuehring (11 points, 11 rebounds). #12 Louisville also held a commanding 48-27 advantage on the boards.
The game was anyone's contest in the first three sessions.
Louisville held a 21-19 edge after the first quarter after leading 10-5 early. With Briahanna Jackson not on the trip due to back spasms, Walz started Hines-Allen, Moore, Durr, Cortnee Walton and Kylee Shook...a taller contingent than the Cards usually put out to start a game. Moore and Shook connected on threes early on for the Cards...who ended up 8 for 18 from beyond the arc.
The Cards and Hokies kept it close until late in the half...when a Fuehring layup capped a 6-0 Cardinal run and put UofL up 40-32 with 1:47 to play. VT's Samantha Hill scored with a second left in the second quarter to set the halftime score at 40-35.
The Cards were leading but getting an all-you-want fight from the Hokies and Hicks.
Hines-Allen, who showed no effects of the knee injury that had her sidelined the last two games, had 11 points for the Cards in the first half and Durr added nine. super speedy sophomore guard Chanette Hicks led the Gobblers with 11.
Virginia Tech did not let the Cards pull away in the third and tied the contest at 54-54 on a Hicks fast-break layup with 2:39 on the clock. UofL entered the final period leading 58-56 and Louisville needed to make some good things happen to prevent the Hokies from hanging around. Was it time for one of those...oh, so delightful Louisville runs? Or would the Hokies continue to hang tough and contest this one to the final buzzer?
Louisville burst out of the starting gate like a championship Grade I thoroughbred sprinter.
After two Vanessa Panousis free throws tied the affair at 58, Durr nailed a three-ball. Seconds later, Moore followed with a layup. Fuehring sank one of two free throws and Durr followed with another three. After Fuehring's jumper at the 7:30 mark...suddenly the score was 69-58 Louisville and VT head coach Kenny Brooks had seen enough and called a timeout.
Tech would respond and manage to get back within six over the next minute but Hines-Allen and Fuehring responded with buckets in the paint to give Louisville a 75-63 lead with 4:55 to play. Durr and Moore layups increased that lead to 79-65 with three minutes to go and Louisville would get trifectas from Durr, Moore and Durr again in the final 2:15 to end up with a 88-70 win.
Excellent, team-oriented and flawless execution in the fourth for the Cards that was a joy to watch. The type of burial that made this observer reflect that...when this team is on and clicking...there aren't too many schools out there that can withstand that kind of pressure and chemistry. After thirty minutes of exchanging punches with a worthy foe in their home arena...the Cards delivered the knock-out blows down the stretch and got their first win of February.
HOW DID FRED DO?
|Federal Reserve Economic Data --|
also known as "FRED".
-- Rebounding. Jeff Walz made it clear to Myisha Hines-Allen what he wanted her to do against the Hokies. Rebound. Mission accomplished. The 48-27 advantage by Louisville off the misses is good for a capital "R".
-- Effort/Execution. The Cards played hard in the absence of Jackson and it was pretty effective for the most part. They got 22 assists on 37 baskets. They shot 57.8% from the floor...a season high. They won the points-in-paint battle 48-36. On the flip side, Louisville had 15 turnovers and VT got 10 steals...seven of them by Hicks. Without their starting point-guard...Louisville turned to Taylor Johnson for 19 minutes...who got six points, five rebounds but fouled out trying to contain Hicks. After much deliberation...we'll award a capital "E" here.
-- Defense. The Hokies put four in double figures...led by Hicks 19 and shot 40% from the floor. That's not as good as the 50% Louisville had given up in the previous two contests. The Cards forced only eight turnovers, though...and had just three steals...all by Durr. The defensive effort was good enough to get the win and in the crucial start of the fourth quarter...VT missed their first five shots. I'll designate a lower case "d" here.
FINAL FRED COUNT: _-R-E-d
THINGS WE LIKED
-- "Durr"ific !! The 30 points were spectacular but the overall performance from the Douglasville, GA sophomore is what additionally caught our eye. Six rebounds, four assists and three steals in 37 minutes. Asia came to do work and that she did.
-- M&M's are back. It was good to see Myisha back on the court and she did what was needed Thursday night. 5 for 15 shooting could stand a bit of improvement...but we'll take 13 and 13 out of her the rest of the way. Walz has said he's waited for the trio of Durr, Hines-Allen and Moore to all have a good game on the same night and he got that Thursday. A foreboding of things to come, we hope.
-- Sammi Jean getting mean. A strong performance from the Louisville forward. 27 useful minutes and serving notice that she wasn't going to get pushed around or bullied in the paint. A first career double-double for her. In the revolving door of forwards and centers that Walz uses each night, she was the "doorman" last night-- her efforts letting other players access success. You gotta have clutch performances like that off the bench if your team is going to be great.
THINGS TO WORK ON
-- Hitting the unguarded ones. Louisville had been fairly successful from the charity stripe as of late but did a belly-whopper last night. It did not effect the outcome of the contest, fortunately...but under 50% performance? Tsk, tsk...
-- Freshman fortunes. We would have liked to see a stronger performance out of Jazmine Jones, Ciera Johnson and Kylee Shook. Just 20 total minutes for the three. Maybe it was just an off night, maybe Walz went with what is experienced and proven over the years in last night's game...but we know all three have the potential and have shown that they can put up significantly better numbers than last night's.
Louisville needed this win badly. And they got it on the road against a Virginia Tech squad that is much more dangerous than their 16-8, 3-8 record might suggest. After three quarters of waiting for fireworks, the Cards became Zambelli's in the final ten minutes. No slow starts to quarters, no extended poor performance stretches and a killer instinct at the end.
Most of all, we enjoyed the way the team just seemed to "click" and play excellent and smart basketball when it came to crunch time. Walz did the fourth quarter flamboyance with two non-starters and the HAM crew (Hines-Allen, Asia and Moore).
Cellar-dwellers Boston College visit Sunday. They knocked off North Carolina last night in Chapel Hill, so they certainly can't be ignored or overlooked. Let's hope the Cards can continue the momentum built here and win this battle of the Birds.
AROUND THE ACC
Boston College went on the road and downed UNC 88-77.
Clemson visited Pittsburgh and left with a 54-46 victory.
NC State pulled away late to get a 75-67 road win at Georgia Tech.
Miami knocked off visiting Virginia 63-52.
Florida State chopped down Wake Forest 102-60 in Tallahassee.
Syracuse and Duke play tonight.
With the Louisville win, Paulie went 4-2 last night. Pffftttt...
THEY SAID IT
Kenny Brooks on the loss:
“I think our team is too good for moral victories,” said head coach Kenny Brooks. “We were playing a man down and I refer to Regan [Magarity] as our security blanket. She does so much for us, not just her double-doubles, but knowing that she is back there and is going to erase some of the mistakes we make. She brings positive leadership to the court and we need that. But I really thought the rest of the team stepped up through three quarters. We did a good job of competing and playing hard; we’ve gotten back to that the past couple games. The fourth quarter just got away from us. We started making some mental errors; give Louisville credit they took advantage of it.
softball starts today. WOO-HOO!