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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Women's Basketball Holds off Virginia Tech; Softball Wins Two -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

    ************ACC Tournament Update************

Louisville's guys -- The Monkeys. (I didn't invent the title.)
Louisville 64 - NC State 59.  If this sounds like a broken record, forgive me, but...once again the Cards got off to a slow start and trailed the Wolfpack 18-12 after one quarter. Chelsea Nelson was having a lot of success inside and out against the Louisville defense and, although the Cards were getting balanced scoring...they did not grab the lead until the second quarter at 32-21. It was a lead that got as high as nine in the third quarter...but was tested at times between the efforts from Nelson and Akela Maize. The Cards won the final three quarters. Two impressive stats...the Cards won the points-in-paint battle 38-26 and points-off-turnovers 12-4. Sam Fuehring led Louisville with 125 points and was joined in double figures by Jaz Jones (13), Mysha Hines-Allen (12), and Arica Carter (11). The Irish vs. Cards in the finals tomorrow at 2 p.m.

Together again! 
Notre Dame 90 - Florida State 80. This was a back and forth affair that Notre Dame got the final run in to win it. FSU 8-0 to start, then a Notre Dame 10-0 run. FSU led at the half 43-42 and by eight in the third quarter before Notre Dame eventually took control. Marina Mabrey was amazing for the Irish with 28 points and two buzzer-beating threes. A marked difference in free throw shooting with the Irish going 22-26 and Florida State just 6-7. Another interesting stat...the Notre Dame bench played just two for a total of 26 minutes and neither scored. FSU's bench contributed 22 points. This was a two-point game after three quarters and Notre Dame shot 62.5% in the fourth to put the Noles away. 

Louisville Holds on For Round Three Win Over VT

In a sequence eerily reminiscent to the men's game the night before, Louisville women's basketball had a late four point lead on a team from Virginia and got uncomfortably close to a shooter with time running down. Despite way more contact in yesterday's game than Thursday night's, Jazmine Jones was lucky to not be called for the foul. Asia Durr sunk two free throws, and instead of a buzzer beating three winning the game for Virginia Tech, it merely cut the deficit. Louisville survived with a 73-70 victory and advance to today's semifinal matchups.

I was only able to watch this one as background entertainment at work, so I can't quite fill in all of the gaps in what happened. I watched Louisville jump out to a 5-0 lead, but I didn't see what allowed Virginia Tech to quickly erase the lead. I saw the two tussle back and forth for a bit, and when I next checked in, Virginia Tech was running away with the game. It took only a few minutes of my attention to realize what was going on. Louisville couldn't shoot, and Virginia Tech couldn't miss. There were other factors at play, of course. Untimely, and unusual, turnovers, early foul trouble, terrible execution and shot planning, just to name a few. Despite the issues, Louisville was able to cut the lead to three with just a minute remaining in the first half, and it looked like their momentum would carry them to a lead they could open up. It wasn't meant to be yet, though, as a free throw stretched the lead to four, and then Rachel Camp had her hand in the first of three buzzer beaters on the afternoon as she assisted Alexis Jean on a two pointer to end the half. Cards trailed by six shuffling their feet into the locker room.

Coming out of the half, Louisville was playing more aggressively, if nothing else. They scored first in the half, but Virginia Tech was able to easily stretch their lead back. It went the same for the first three minutes of the half before a three offensive rebound sequence for Louisville led to a foul sending Myisha-Hines Allen to the free throw line. She sunk two and kickstarted a 12-0 run for the Cards to flip the 6 point deficit into a 6 point lead. After stretching the lead up to 9, Louisville led by 7 with just over thirty seconds to go in the third. It looked as though they'd get a good chance at the last shot to open the lead up any further. Instead, they settled for a bad shot early enough in the clock that Virginia Tech was able to set up a good offense and Rachel Camp sunk a two to cut the lead at the quarter break to just five.

The first half of the fourth quarter played out nearly exactly like that of the third quarter, only with the roles reversed. The key difference was that Louisville was able to squash Virginia Tech's run at six points, holding onto a one point lead. Louisville would stretch that lead back to eight, and it became ultimately insurmountable. As time ran down, the sequence I mentioned earlier took place, and Rachel Camp's three was effectively meaningless. It wasn't pretty, but as I've said many times this season, the wins don't have to be pretty, they just have to happen.

I can't finish without giving some key players the mention they deserve here. Myisha Hines-Allen finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. She shot 66% from the floor including 1-1 from three and was 4-5 on free throws. She did all of this in only 23 minutes being limited by foul trouble. Sam Fuehring was also extremely efficient. She put up 17 points on 60% shooting, was 5-5 from the free throw line and finished with 6 rebounds. Despite four fouls, she had no turnovers, a block, and a steal. Jazmine Jones had what appeared to be a rough ankle injury in the first half, but it was apparent on the replay that it was only a severe turn. She was able to recover and come back in the second half, and provided key guard play, finishing with 12 points and 8 rebounds. Finally, Asia Durr was the last double digit scorer for the Cards. She scored 11 on only 3-19 shooting. Asia was key in motivating her teammates and kept her head in the game. I've said it before, shooters shoot. Asia will eventually start hitting shots and return to the offensive machine we've known her to be. She was key from the free throw line, where she went 4-4, including the two to ice the game.

The CASE Report

It's been awhile since I've done a CASE Report. Switching to only Saturday's effectively put an end to my women's basketball write-ups because Friday games are so uncommon. A refresher for those that need it: C is for care, where we look at how well the team held up with the ball in their hands. A is for assists, and compares the team's effectiveness at creating shots vs giving up the ball. S is for steals because Louisville loves defense. And E is for efficiency. That one speaks for itself.

Case McCoy, younger brother of Colt McCoy
C - Care: Louisville finished yesterday's game with only 6 turnovers. Let me tell you... Watching the game, it felt like a lot more than that. However, the numbers say what they say, so we can take solace in knowing that the few turnovers they had only seemed to come in the biggest moments of the game. At least they overcame them. Virginia Tech has slipped in the turnovers forced standings since we last looked, but they do still average 15.67 on the season. We are looking for Louisville to commit only 60% of the opponent's average, and the Cards completed that task, as 6 is only 38% of 15.67. The Cards also committed fewer turnover's than VT's 13, so they'll earn a capital 'C'.

A - Assists: Many people have expressed frustration that I incorporate turnovers when analyzing assists, but it's my made up assessment benchmark so I'll do what I want. Anyway, those people would be pleased to know that Louisville finally achieved an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.0, finishing with 12 assists. Unfortunately, the Cards assisted on only 43% of made baskets, and we're looking for 60%, which shows that they were playing a bit of hero ball. Sometimes it worked, other times it didn't. One out of two benchmarks reached, so that's a lowercase 'a'.

S - Steals: Louisville was on top of it defensively yesterday, cutting into passing lanes and harassing ball handlers. The Cards finished with 9 steals, which is over the benchmark of 7.5 and they stole more often than Virginia Tech as the Hokies only had 3. That's a capital 'S'.

E - Efficiency: The Cards finished yesterday's game with a shooting percentage of 40%. That's decent, but it's not the kind of offensive efficiency we've come to expect from a high level performing team. We're going for 45% shooting in this category. While it's easy to attribute the low overall efficiency to bad three point shooting yesterday (only 4-19), Louisville still only shot 47% on two point baskets. It's also pretty inefficient to continue taking bad shots and not cleaning them up with offensive rebounding. Fortunately, the Cards were great from the free throw line, finishing 13-15 for 86.7% and going 9-9 in the second half. That'll warrant a lowercase 'e'.

For those keeping track at home, Louisville finishes with C-a-S-e, which is their best finish since I started to increase the toughness of the scoring. The Cards will be taking on NC State at noon today, and despite how well they might have graded out yesterday, they'll need to be better going forward in this tournament and the rest of the postseason. Today's game can be found on ESPNU.

Softball Sweeps Home Double Header

After dominating UAB on Thursday night, Louisville prepared themselves for back to back games at Ulmer yesterday afternoon and evening. The Cards took on Maryland and UAB (again) and finished the evening with two wins. From our text conversations, Jeff and Jared found quite a bit to take exception with during last night's game, but a victory was had nonetheless. The Cards are still in the early part of their schedule and will look to clean up any issues as they work towards the meat of the year.

In the first game, Danielle Watson, the freshman that seems to have nailed down the ace spot on the staff, stretched her season record to 10-3. She pitched all 7 innings, allowing only three hits, one earned run and striking out eight. The biggest thing to me, is that she finished with only one walk and one HBP. I've harped on Louisville's inability to prevent free baserunners, so only allowing two free passes in a game is a victory in my opinion, especially when the free passes don't amount to anything. Maryland's only run came on a leadoff homerun in the fifth, which you can live with when you lead 3-0.

On the offensive side, Louisville didn't have their best game, working only six hits and three walks against 5 strikeouts. They did parlay baserunners into runs, though, scoring four, but they also left four on base. Caitlin Ferguson and Nicole Pufahl were the RBI getters in the first game, with Poof scoring the Cards final run of the game on a wild pitch.

In the second game, Megan Hensley pushed her record to 3-1 on the year. She pitched six innings (with Watson closing out the game) and struck out just one while allowing 5 hits and two runs. She had no walks and just one HBP. Another low free pass game. While Hensley finished with only one earned run, the unearned run came in on a field error by the pitcher, so it's kind of still earned in my opinion. 

Fortunately, the Cards offense came out of the gates on fire in the second game, using a 5 run second inning to create a big lead. They'd ultimately finish with 6 runs in the victory, using a team on base percentage of .407 against only 3 strikeouts for a pretty efficient offensive showing. Celene Funke, Ferguson, Jamie Soles, and Alison Szydlowski drove in the four RBIs. They did still leave four on base, but that's just another thing to add to the practice list.

The softball team has gotten out to a pretty good start to the season, sitting now at 13-4. They've taken their lumps in a few games, but they've ultimately been able to overcome a lot of their issues. As they go forward, we'll look for the Cards to continue fixing things that aren't working and improving as the season goes on. That season continues today when the Cards take on Miami (OH) at 3PM. It's set to be a beautiful day, but if you can't make it out, today's game is available on ACC Network Extra.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

Paulie is in Greensboro for the Women's ACC Tournament, but that won't stop us from putting on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. At the very least, you'll have me, Jeff, and Jared manning the mics, and I've heard rumors of a potential guest joining us on Mellwood Avenue. Tune in to WCHQ FM using your radio dial (100.9), your computer (, or your smartphone (the WCHQ app) at 11AM to hear us break down the weeks ahead of and behind us in Louisville women's athletics.

Until next time, Go Cards!


  1. Off I go for another day of ACC fun! The crowds have been better than last year at Conway but nothing like we are accustom to at the YUM!

    One funny thing from yesterday. The ACC prints out a transcript of the post game interviews. Someone didn't do a great job of editing or proofreading and attributed a few quotes to "Jess Walz". Paige pointed it out on Twitter and we started the "Who's Jess Walz" query. Go some great responses, including my favorite..."they're thinking of moving her to wide receiver."

    Good ol' ACC. Always good for a couple of chuckles, intentional or not.

    GO CARDS! BEAT PURDUE....(Oops, State) !!


  2. Another hard fought ACC tournament win for the cards, great job lady off to the Final.A shout out to AC & Sammi Jean playing good Defense way too step up!!LTLAG

    1. IMHO ACC saved the day she was clutch down the stretch,
      Ice water in her that LA girl!
      PS we need Asia to be Asia tomorrow.
      Go Cards! Beat in Irish.

  3. Have run into regular readers David Watson and Joe Hill who arrived yesterday together A great story about that I'll let one of them tell) and many other Cardinal fans.

    Rod Stewart sang Tonight's the Night. Today's the day for Louisville WBB. Time to put our stamp on this tourney.



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