LATE LAPSE LEADS TO LOUISVILLE LOSS
"It" is no more. After 20 games, nine cities, three months plus and crowds that ranged from 441 to 14,248...there is finally another digit beside "zero" on the right-side of the hyphen where Louisville WBB's record is listed.
The "It" is the Louisville win streak and the number now reads 20-1 for the Cards. In a day of college basketball giveaways and Girl Scouts, Louisville drops from the undefeated ranks with a 50-49 loss to #11 FSU Sunday afternoon in the KFC YUM! Center. The largest crowd of the season and lowest point total for the Cards.
This game wasn't pretty. Not by any stretch. Not even when Louisville jumped out to a 20-5 lead with less than a minute in the first quarter. (O.K., maybe that was a little pretty). The shots were dropping and DOOO-BLAY was well on her way toward amassing the digits desired for a double-double but, unlike the majority of opponents before...Florida State hadn't curled up into the fetal position and started sucking their thumbs. They tried something different.
They came up with the idea that if Asia Durr doesn't get the ball, or has a hard time moving when she does...there just might be a way to cut into that double-digit lead and (dare we say it?) maybe even win the game?
It was "one of multiple plans we had to stop Durr" according to FSU head coach Sue Semerau, and this one was showing signs of working. That and controlling the boards. Louisville ended losing the rebounding battle 52-42 and Chatrice White (16), Shakayla Thomas (11) and that doggone (Ama) Degbeon (10) had over 70% of the grab.
Five FSU seniors, that play significant minutes and that had a purpose, came into the KFC YUM! Center, eventually gained control of the contest and held on to win.
The Noles shot horribly (19-68 for 27.9%) but forced 16 Louisville turnovers and managed 16 points off them. If you need a stat in addition to rebounds to point to, use that one.
In the end...the final two minutes...when it really mattered and when the game was decided, the teams combined for two three-pointers, a meaningless jumper for two and one out of two free throws. Nicki Ekhomu, another senior, scored the winner after clanging her first free throw off the rim but sinking her second with 7.6 left to give Florida State a three point lead. A Durr three pointer ensues that misses the mark and pointless Hines-Allen follow up two as time expires has White screaming in elation from mid-court and Thomas double fist-pumping while five Cardinals slowly and forlornly leave the court.
FSU led in points scored in three of the quarters. They cut Louisville's lead in half to start the third quarter with a "three" and had the contest tied before the final quarter. No one had an answer for White on the boards...and Louisville attempted just six free throws, compared to the more aggressive 'Noles taking 14. There's a story in that somewhere...not one Walz was willing to elaborate on...but "Silly" Joe Vaszily, the head of the officiating crew, made a few calls that only he saw, judging by the crowd response.
Free throws, however, did not lose this game for Louisville. Neither did 2-15 three-point shooting nor 2-12 marksmanship in the third quarter. This game was won by effort, and the Cards seemed a step slow, a bit disjointed and out-hustled and muscled at the end.
A team that has had a couple of close escapes on the road can't cheat the hangman in front of maybe the loudest crowd of the season on Sunday. They'll move on, the season is certainly not over and 10 more conference games and a ACC Tournament appearance awaits Louisville...beginning with the "Did I read that right?" 11 a.m. start Thursday at Miami. The key is....how will the Cards respond?
THE FRED REPORT
|FRED THOMPSON. His expression mirrors|
my Monday Morning attitude.
R - Rebounds. In short, Louisville got their "a$$" kicked on the glass. MHA and JJ did give it a go, getting 15 and 11 respectively...but the final numbers were 52-52 in favor of Chief Osceola's bunch. The 20-11 FSU advantage on the offensive end was largely due to White's yeoman effort of nine. The Shelby, Nebraska native and Illinois transfer tied her season high of 16 total in the game (against Sacred Heart...and we're pretty sure that wasn't the Lexington, Rd high school). No letter here.
E- Effort/Execution. Overall, the Cards turned in 10 great minutes and 30 minutes of getting outplayed. What was up with Durr's 5-21 shooting and the six-point third quarter. Still, it wasn't a blow out and UofL had a chance to send it into overtime with less than ten seconds to play against a top 15, two-loss team. We'll release a lower-case "e" here.
D- Defense. The Cards didn't have many answers for keeping Thomas and White, the two main Seminole shooters, at bay but held FSU to less than 30%. Those two were 10-33 and the other seven FSU players were 9-35. You'd usually expect a "W" for Louisville after a defensive effort like that and it was the fourth lowest opponent total of the year. I just can't award a letter for a loss, no matter how stellar the stat was. No letter.
FINAL FRED REPORT: -_-_-e-_
Points off turnovers (won by FSU 16-5) and 2nd chance points (also FSU 18-13) were key factors in FSU going to 18-2...but this game was lost by one team wanting it just a little more than the other and doing the things necessary to win it for the duration. Coming back to life after having one foot in the grave and down by 15. Fighting just a little harder for loose balls and missed shots. Preventing Durr an open look on the final play. You earned this one FSU. Enjoy it. Notre Dame awaits next one week from now.
You play for all 40 minutes. The sooner Louisville understands that, the better. There were no last minute heroics, senior moments (unless you include FSU's) or magical plays to pull the Cards out of this one yesterday. Just a wistful glance at what was and what might have been. 20-1 isn't the end of the world. It's a damn fine season so far. But, to 14,248...it was a rotten way to end a Sunday.
I went back and looked at my pre-season prediction. I had the Cards at 18-3 to this point of the season (with losses to FSU, Notre Dame and Ohio State) and two more to come before ACC Tourney Play starts (to UConn and Syracuse). So, I'm ahead of what I predicted, but disappointed in the loss.
Drop the hot potato and move on to the next entree. The time to eat is always so short...