Thursday, December 20, 2018
Louisville women's basketball hopes for pleasant results in Mt. Pleasant --Softball Academic Success -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
CARDS FACE CENTRAL MICHIGAN TONIGHT
The University of Louisville women's basketball team puts their 11-0 record on the line tonight when they face the Central Michigan Chippewas tonight in Mt. Pleasant, MI at 7 p.m. A very dangerous and worthy opponent at 8-1 and victor over two opponents Louisville has also faced this season, the Chippewas return four starters from a 2017-18 squad that made it to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen last year.
CMU has downed these Cardinal opponents this season. A win over Western Kentucky (108-90) and Chattanooga (73-50) as part of their impressive resume so far. They also have wins over ACC member Virginia (74-61) and Vanderbilt (66-57) as well, the Chippewas have suffered just one loss -- to talented mid-major South Dakota State -- and return home to McGuirk Arena after being on the road for nearly a month....where they downed UCF 75-68 on Nov. 21st. Although not received any top 25 recognition in any of the major polls, Central Michigan is considered the top team in the MAC and returns to defend the conference title after going 15-1 in MAC play last year.
So, who should #4 Louisville worry about?
Senior Presley Hudson leads CMU in scoring at 23.3 p.p.g., which is fifth-highest in the nation. The 5'6" guard averages four made three-pointers a game and is almost automatic at the foul stripe with a 93.3% success rate. Senior Renya Frost averages a double-double for the "Chips" (16.0 p.p.g./10.7 rebounds). The 6'0" forward was the MAC Tournament MVP last year. Sophomore guard Michaela Kelly, a 5'6" sophomore, averages 13.8 a night and is 16-34 from three-point range.
It's Ugly Sweater Night in McGuirk as well and the game is pretty much a sellout despite the students being on Christmas break in the 5,300 seat arena.
GOSH PAULIE, HOW CAN LOUISVILLE WIN THIS ONE?
One of the Cards biggest opponents tonight just might be the calendar. This is Louisville's final game before heading off on Christmas break tomorrow morning. The players will spend 5-6 days at home before returning to prepare for the next contest, against North Carolina on January 3rd. Will the Cardinal student-athletes have their "heads" in the right place? Is the anticipation of seeing loved ones and friends for a few days the prime thought in the Cardinal squad's thought-process right now?
Getting past the mental aspect of the holidays, the Cards can come at an opponent in waves and many ways. Stop Asia...arguably the best player in women's college basketball this year...? Fine...Dana and Jazz will pick you apart. Concentrate on the Cards guards? No problem, Sam, Kylee and Bionca will "inside you" all night long. Think you can outrun the UofL squad? Good luck...the Cards are 28-0 in fast break advantage in the last two wins over UK and NKU. We haven't seen a guard yet this year who can keep up with Dana Evans and Arica Carter runs the squad with the precision of a brain surgeon performing an operation.
Louisville has played and beaten tougher this season, but the pre-holiday test on the road for them should be interesting. We're hoping the Cards are of "business trip" mentality and go in, negotiate the terms and seal the deal.
Are the Chippewas that "tiger by the tail" in the Cards pre-conference schedule? A enthusiastic arena, high-level performing opponent and veteran squad face Walz and company.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME IN MT. PLEASANT?
The last time the schools met was on Dec. 2nd. Louisville traveled to Mt. Pleasant with a 4-1 record and engaged the Chippewas in Rose Arena (the previous name of McGuirk) and it was a tight contest...Louisville up by two with 10 minutes to play.
Then, someone pulled a fire alarm. Action was halted for about 20 minutes while the arena was emptied. When the teams re-took the hardwood, CMU coach Sue Guevara and Jeff Walz met at mid-court to discuss the bizarre halting of action. According to Sue:
" I told him that I had no idea what had happened or why. Then, as we're talking, something falls out of the ceiling. We both looked down and see a screw from the ceiling on the floor. I turned to Jeff and said "Oh, god, you're screwed.'"
When play resumed, it was the Chippewas who caught on fire and took a 84-75 upset.
That UofL 2009-10 squad ended up 14-18. Who knows what shenanigans CMU has in store for tonight? Tornado warnings? ID checks? Building inspections or the lights going out? Elvis appearance?
Radio, of course, a way to follow the team tonight. 790 WKRD with Nick and A.J. The game will also be shown on ESPN + which means you'll probably have to pay for that viewing privilege.
WHAT DOES WALZ THINK?
Jeff Walz has previewed this contest several times in the past few days. He expects a great ball game. He knows the Chips can score. He'd like to see the Cards force CMU to a half-court game with defense. Keeping turnovers low when Louisville has the ball will be key. Getting up shots (more than the foe) is always a priority. Getting good shots. The Cards guards will receive a test. Rebounding must be better than against NKU...and creating after the rebound on the defensive end is a priority.
Blocking out, seizing the opportunity -- these things are key for a UofL win. The Cards are, obviously, a big game and potential program-shaping win for any Cardinal foe.
Not a "trap" game, as Walz pointed out after the NKU win, but a tough road game against a worthy and dangerous opponent. Good preparation for the tough ACC schedule ahead.
I expect Asia to step up and be "prime time" in this one. We'll see and know in about 12 hours.
SOFTBALL SUCCESSES IN CLASSROOM
We reviewed Louisville women's basketball success in the fall semester academically yesterday. Louisville Softball has released G.P.A.'s as well and more excellent numbers are there.
Louisville Softball with the 3.204 cumulative grade point average for the fall, with 14 players over the 3.0 mark.
Rebecca Chung, Madison Cousineau, Celene Funke, Megan Hensley, Sidney Melton, Maddy Newman, Paige Schindler and Danielle Watson named to the Dean's List after getting a 3.5 or better semester effort.
Coach Aprile getting it done with her charges in the classroom as they get ready for the season. A sincere and heartfelt "Congratulations"!! to the Floyd Street Fence Swingers from all of us at Cardinal Couple!