HINES ALLEN 16 POINTS, SHOOK 13 REBOUNDS PACE CARDS
The University of Louisville women's basketball team is off for the Holidays now and maybe that's a good thing. A 62-50 win over Air Force Academy was less than convincing Wednesday afternoon in Colorado Springs.
Without Asia Durr (back spasms) and Arica Carter (foot injury) Louisville put just eight active players on the court to tangle with the win-less Falcons. A starting lineup for the Cards that surprisingly didn't include home-town sophomore Kylee Shook. Walz sent out Sydney Zambrotta, Dana Evans, Myisha Hines-Allen, Jazmine Jones and Sam Fuehring to face the Falcons but substituted liberally throughout the game...and everyone saw at least 14 minutes. Syd totaled 34 in a game that saw some pluses but some glaring negatives.
Air Force accomplish what Kentucky was unable to do in the Cards last game. Take a lead on the Cards. After "DOOO-BLAY" (Hines-Allen) scored the first four points of the game, the home-standers came back and led Louisville 5-4 a couple of minutes into the action. The Cards did respond with a 14-0 run that....nearly...finished the first half before AFA's Kaelin Immal sank a buzzer-beating three to set the tally at 18-8 after 10 minutes.
This wasn't pretty basketball in many aspects for the 14-0 Cards. Zero three pointers converted (out of eight attempts) Yes UofL was without the two players that made nine out of the ten against Kentucky, but Zambrotta going 0-5 is either a tribute to the pressuring AFA defense or just a rough night behind the stripe for "Z".
You decide. Most of her looks were fairly open.
The Cards were able to go on a 12-4 run in the second session to lead 30-12 with four minutes until half, but...just when you thought the Cards might be ready to go on one of their patented runs...the Falcons retaliated with a quarter-closing 8-4 run. 34-20 at the half.
Air Force played like a team with nothing to lose and everything to gain, and, basically that was the scenario and how it played out. At 0-10, they didn't come in thinking they were going to dominate the #3 team in the country...but wanted to make a good showing.
They did that.
They weren't particularly efficient on offense...shooting 29.3% for the game...but kept hanging around the 12-14 point range and forced (or watched) Louisville commit a season-high 22 turnovers.
No sir, not pretty at all. Evidence of how important Durr and Carter are to this squad.
All you really need to know about the final twenty minutes is that Air Force won the session 30-28. They beat the Cards 14-9 in the 4th quarter, Louisville aiding that by making just one of their final nine shot attempts.
But, a win is a win and the women produced theirs slightly more convincingly then the men did Wednesday night.
I did listen to Coach Walz on the post-game show. Suffice to say, he wasn't particularly thrilled with the Cards effort in Colorado. He left the players with a few things to think about over the next seven days before they reconvene in Atlanta to face Georgia Tech.
THE FRED REPORT
|Fred McMurray of My Three Sons. The Cards|
could have used a couple of them Wednesday.
R- Rebounding. Led by Kylee's 13, the Cards did manage a 45-31 advantage over the smaller Falcons. Myisha grabbed eight. We'll award a CAPITAL "R" here also.
E- Effort/Execution. With a season-high in turnovers and allowing 12 steals, this was not UofL's finest hour. In fact, it well have been the Cards poorest performance of the year. Whether it's against a conference contender or also-ran, you have to bring your best each night. Louisville did far from that. No letter here. Maybe they were tired.
D - Defense. Holding a foe to less than 30% shooting and just 50 points is not a bad night, especially with two of your top three players watching from the bench. Still, swatches of inconsistency and letting Immel and Bennett go for almost 30...I have to limit this category to a small-case "d".
FINAL FRED TALLY: F-R-_-d
Maybe some of the players were mentally at the airport or on the way home. Maybe UofL underestimated a team that had nothing to lose and played pretty decent defense. Maybe the altitude of over 7,000 feet had something to do with it. Maybe a lot more than we realize. 14-0 looks good, though, even if it was a lack-luster, less-than-average effort that got UofL there.
Whatever the circumstances, fates and situations were that led to the events of the afternoon, hopefully a lesson was learned. There may be situations later in the year where foul trouble or other issues have 2-3 starting Cards riding the pine. Louisville won't be playing a win-less opponent in these and we hope that the experiences of the trip to the Rockies gave Louisville a reminder that nothing is given and nothing is guaranteed.
Let's also not forget that the Cards were coming off an emotion-filled win at their in-state rivals place and that can be draining. The "highs" experienced in that huge win weren't going to be emulated against a 0-10 foe that is possibly the fourth worst team in DI basketball, according to the RPI's. The Cards showed up, did enough to win and were never seriously challenged for 35 minutes.
Can they afford to do that the rest of the way? Of course not, that spells "L" in the win/loss column. But, they won. Walz is going to have to display discontentment. That's all part of coaching.
Everyone throws in a clunker now and then. The Cards delivered theirs with the accuracy of a Brandon McKay fastball. Get it out of your system and move on. Credit your opponent for a hard-fought battle, tear off the rear view mirror and keep driving toward the goal. The Final Four.
Kylee Shook returns home and shows her posse she can still rebound. Myisha does what she does, dominate and leads her teammates to victory. Other than that, it might be a road trip to forget and a game film not worth watching. The lowest scoring effort of the season for Louisville. Better have some Pepto-Bismol in the viewing room if they decide to re-live the 40 minutes of less-than-satisfying video.