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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

USA U 18 women advance to FIBA Americas final -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Give the Colombia FIBA U 18 squad credit.

They came out fired up in their semifinal match against USA and gave the Jeff Walz coached squad a competitive game for 15 minutes. The Colombians actually led USA 26-25 with five minutes left in the second quarter. Turnovers by USA and some incredible play from Colombia's Yuliany Paz in the post and Maria Alvarez from three-point range had the Americans shaking their heads...but Walz and the players got things straightened out and a 17-0 run to end the first half got USA out of danger. 

With a 19-18 lead at the end of the first quarter, USA was finding out that Colombia was not going to roll over for them. Colombia capitalized well off USA mistakes and Paz was punishing USA inside. But...the depth and the talent of Walz's squad finally kicked in and they took a 42-26 halftime lead. Colombia would make one final attempt to upset the Americans...cutting the lead to 11 at 51-40 with 4:54 left in the third quarter but it was all USA after that. A 58-41 lead after three and a strong 25-6 fourth quarter advances USA to the finals tonight against Canada. 

The Canadians, also 5-0 now in FIBA Americas play, downed Chile 98-52 last night to get to the finals. All four teams (USA, Canada, Chile and Colombia) advance to the FIBA World Cup Championships. 

Jeff Walz on the contest: 

"It was a great basketball game. We knew it was going to be competitive and it was one we needed, because we needed to understand that when you have breakdowns -- physically or mentally -- good teams take advantage of that. And that's what Colombia did a fantastic job of - they really hurt us when we had breakdowns. And then we had different players step up for us and that's what's so exciting about this. Everybody is capable of playing big for us.  I thought that the group that was out there for us at the end of the first half really gave us the big boost we needed and then we were able to continue". 

That half ending group mentioned by Walz included three players that did all the scoring in the 17-0 run. Ashley Joens nailed two threes during the stretch, So did Rhyne Howard. Naz Hillmon-Baker contributed the other five points. 

Jenna Brown led USA in scoring with 17 points...which included three threes. With 14 points were Joens and Howard. USA shot 10-23 from beyond the arc (43.5%) and out-rebounded Colombia 55-29. Maori Davenport collected 11 of those grabs. Sharpshooting Colombia guard Alvarez ended up with 19 points, hitting six three-pointers, and Paz added nine points and 10 rebounds. 

USA and Canada face for the finals tonight at 9:30 and it can be viewed at:

These two squads faced in a scrimmage before the actual FIBA tournament got underway and USA took a 72-42 decision. It may not be as easy tonight for Walz and company. It should be a fun game to watch.


Let's hope for a better viewing tonight. Last night's internet broadcast was marred with "freezes", loss of signal and inadequate audio. From what was audible, you do have to acknowledge the Spanish-speaking crew that's calling these contests for their unfiltered and exciting emotion-filled delivery and comments anytime anyone but the USA does something good. They're trying to help grow the game in the Central and South America regions and that's good for all of basketball. 

Facebook Live can be tricky....we get that. Ask our Cardinal Couple producer "Worldwide" Jeff McAdams about it. What is puzzling is that these games aren't being shown on any of the sports-themed television stations that dot other cable, dish or app-type viewing.  Isn't there a ESPN, Fox, Univision or some other channel that could provide a feed?

Maybe trick billiards, underwater boxing, scrabble tournaments, miniature golf national championships and paraplegic tennis matches are deemed more important. I get e-mails about the "nothing-to-see-here" attitude that the "sports leaders" have toward the FIBA's. I guess it all has to do with ratings. Maybe competitive lawn-mowing will include me in their amateur bracket. I'm pretty quick with "turns" and my "straight-line cut" skills rank pretty highly here in the neighborhood for accuracy and length.  

But, I digress. Go USA! Go get some tonight.  

Some very pressing questions answered in the link below by USA U 18 players and coaches.


Women's soccer is the first fall sporting event we'll be covering live this season and it comes up on Sunday...with a 6 p.m. "friendly" against Morehead. There is a women's sports Fall Media Day going on Thursday and we'll report coverage of that on Friday. One of the teams that will be represented at the media event is women's soccer and UofL received great news that sophomore defender Emina Ekic was named to the preseason voted on by the 14 ACC coaches. 

She also was chosen for the 2017 first team All-East Region Team at the end of last season, a team that is selected by the United States Soccer Coaches Association. 

Ekic had a very impressive freshman campaign for the Cards...who were voted to finish ninth in the preseason ACC poll. She led the 2017-18 Kickin' Cards with seven goals and was named co-Freshman of the Year in the ACC. Ekic, who attended high school locally here at Louisville Manual, had 17 starts for Louisville last season. Hopefully, she'll be at Fall Sports Media Day Thursday so we can get a few comments from her. 

Congratulations to "E squared" and Uofl women's soccer! 



  1. Darn it, Paulie. Thanks for the spoiler alert. Here I was imagining you in a sombrero swilling tequila with senoritas and slamming pinatas. And, I'll take you on any time in grass cutting. My precision cuts down here in Naples draw rave reviews from my neighbors and passer by's. I think I'm on the ESPN top 100 to watch list for 2018. Bring it.

    Good luck to USA tonight!

    -- The Real Joe Hill --

    1. C'mon, man. They make you cut grass when you live in a condo? I'm calling shenanigans here.


    2. Yeah, well, I used to cut grass. How was Mexico? bebe cervaza?

      -- The Real Joe Hill --

  2. I rent. Still cut Mom's grass at the homestead though. Still have huge game in that and my weed-whacker skills are "Play of the Day" quality.

    Great Twitter clip! I'm M&M's, waffles and most def B.

    Curtis "Stays away from the green M&M's" Franklin

  3. Hey, ho!

    Dave O here! USA U 18's only competition might well be the U 17 USA squad. Here's hoping Coach Walz has made a huge impression (positive impressions, of course) on Blackwell and Davenport. They'd be two great additions to UofL WBB.

    After watching bits and pieces of the last three games, I've come to the conclusions:

    -- Geno is going to like Christyn Williams a lot. Any coach would.

    -- Rhyne Howard should step in and start for UK when she arrives there. Unless Matthew Mitchell is blind. OK...well wait and see on that.

    -- Olivia Nelson-Odoba is all business around the hoop. Geno scores again.

    -- I'm wondering if the two Colombian girls from last night -- Paz and Alvarez -- are on any University or colleges radar? IMHO, both have D1 skills.

    -- I'm glad Jenna Brown is Stanford bound and not ACC bound. She could be a top notch guard in D1.

    -- 100% in agreement with Paulie. These games need to be on cable. Watching Facebook Live is like going back to the days of "dial up" Internet connection.

    I've taken a hiatus on yard work since my son is back in town an living with us. I didn't have much game there to begin with. I did "go green" though with electric lawn mower and battery weed trimmer. Ours is a rather small job. 30 minutes or less to do front, side and back.

    Banana pancakes rule, peanut M&M's get my vote and Beyonce does a very beautiful, inspiring and well-orchestrated song called Halo that I've added to several of my playlists. She's also very pleasing to the eyes.

    Here's wishing USA U 18 all the good fortunes tonight against Canada. Ol' Dave O is off to walk around a pasture, lose white orbs and to try and avoid sand and water.

    Yeah, right.

    Dave O

  4. u know that anyone could coach this team to 30 point wins even a grade school reading coach you louisville fans think walz is mr everything and he got no flaws or bad sides but you wrong cuz walz ruin as much talent as he develop

    1. My first impression was to delete this comment. But, I decided to leave it as an example of the broad range and wide assortment of readership we get here. Even the galacticly stupid have a voice.

      I also have to wonder what school you cheer for? Are you a recruit that UofL may have passed on? Do you have an affinity for grade school reading teachers? What defines a "Mr. Everything"? Don't we all have good and bad sides?

      I wish you peace.

      Go Cards!

    2. LOL. Played that like a full house against a straight or flush. Tip of the cap, Paulie!

      Curtis "Wondering if I could coach the USA U 18 team" Franklin

    3. Thanks for stopping in Matty Mitchell!


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