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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Basketball, Softball Earn Wins -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Four games yesterday in quarterfinal ACC WBB action. Let's get to it


Maybe considered an upset, Syracuse led early, weathered a strong Miami third quarter and advances. How about guard Tiana Mangakahia! 25 points. The Cuse was 45% from the deep and overcame 52 points from Miami's inside threat of Mom and Hof. The Q with a great coaching job. 


The Irish struck early and often and handled the Tar Heels behind Arike Ogunbowale's 28 points. ND also won the paint scoring battle convincingly 54-30. Paris Kea tried her best for Sylvia's crew with 27 point and Janelle Bailey returned to the lineup with a double-double (19-10)...but  Irish eyes were smiling at the end of this one.


Read Case's recap below. That covers the "escape from Alcatraz" quite well

NC ST 69 V FSU 62

This was a back and forth slug-fest that the Pack eventually won. Freshman center Elissa Cunane was on fire in the post with 22 points. Four of Ms. Wuf's gals hit double figures. For FSU, gurd Nicki Ekhomu banged home three threes and ll eight free throws in a losing effort.


Softball Takes 2 in War Eagle Challenge

I know there was a big basketball game last night, but we'll get to that shortly. Softball played two games yesterday, and they came away with two drastically different wins, so we'll give them some love. The Cards took on Radford and Michigan State, and got 1-0 and 14-1 wins, respectively.

In the first game, Louisville snagged a run when Caitlin Ferguson doubled down the left field line to score Sidney Melton. Megan Hensley took the mound in the bottom half and sat Radford down 1-2-3. The game would continue much the same for the next seven innings, with neither team scoring a run for the remainder of the game. Hensley went on to pitch 4 and 2/3 innings, allowing 3 hits, 2 walks, and 1 HBP, but no runs. She struck out six. Taylor Roby came on in the 5th and struck out three of the eight batters she faced. She allowed 1 walk and 1 hit in her 2.1 innings. The Cards did manage to pick up 6 hits at the plate in the first game, but only scored the one run. Fortunately, it was enough.

The second game, against Michigan State, was an entirely different story. Again, Louisville took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, this time on a Sidney Melton fielder's choice, scoring Celene Funke. MSU struck back, scoring an unearned run on a wild pitch and error by the catcher. It was Louisville's only error of the game, and the scoring player had the first of only two hits for Michigan State. Their last hit came in the bottom of the second.

Louisville was not satisfied with just one run in this one, and had chased the MSU starter by the third inning. The Cards scored 5 runs in the top of the second, then 5 more in the top of the third. By the time they reached the top of the fifth inning, the Cards were up 14-1 and MSU needed a massive bottom half to even continue the game. They didn't get it, as Danielle Watson sat the Spartans down 1-2-3. Watson finished with a "complete game," pitching all five innings and allowing just two hits, one walk, and the unearned run. She had two wild pitches, both in the first inning, but struck out five of the 18 batters she faced. She was electric, for the most part, and made sure that MSU was well out of the game for the duration after Louisville's offense caught fire.

The Cardinal offense picked up 16 hits and drew three walks on their way to 14 runs. Thirteen of the fourteen were earned. The Cards were led at the plate by Funke and Watson, both earning three hits. Melton and Hensley both had four RBIs, and Funke and Maddy Newman both scored a run in each of their seven total plate appearances. Newman was 2-2 with a walk. Every Louisville batter with more than one at bat earned a hit, and each batter that walked had a multi-hit day. It was about picture perfect on offense, and we'll see if Louisville can maintain that confidence against a bit better competition. 

The Cards will get a rematch against Radford this morning at 10 before taking on hosts, Auburn, at 3PM. Louisville will then face Mercer tomorrow at 11AM, before returning home for a Tuesday double header against Morehead State. Holly Aprile's team is now 13-6 in her first season at the helm, and riding a 6 game winning streak. They'll look to continue that success as they rapidly approach conference play.

WBB Survives Tough Battle Against Clemson

It wasn't easy, but Louisville advanced to the ACC Tournament Semifinals yesterday evening with a hard fought victory over Clemson behind 24 points from Asia Durr and a 21-7 fourth quarter. Louisville will take on NC State this afternoon, as the Wolfpack dispatched the Seminoles in the late game last night. 
The Cards didn't have an easy go of it, trailing Clemson by 3 at the end of the first quarter. Louisville won the second quarter 21-12 and it looked as though they might leave the Tigers behind, carrying a six point lead into half time. It wasn't to be though, as Clemson returned the favor in the third quarter, winning 25-13. The Cards took a lead at 53-51 with 3:51 remaining in the quarter, but Clemson went on a 9-1 run to end the session and took a six point lead into the fourth. Louisville looked shaken, but came back out of the break rejuvenated. Whether it was a reminder that they were better than the Clemson team, or a wake-up call that games would be like this for the remainder of the season, Louisville caught fire in the fourth quarter. 

The Cards scored the first three baskets of the fourth quarter in a minute and a half, tying the game at 60. Clemson continued to hold on, scoring a three pointer with 6:36 left to draw within one point at 65-66. Louisville left them behind after that. Strong defense, coupled with efficient offense, allowed Louisville to stretch the lead to 8 over the next three minutes. With just 3:35 remaining, the Cards choked the remaining life out of the Tigers, forcing long possessions on defense and using clock on offense. The tigers next basket would come over two minutes later, after just five total possessions. In case you were wondering what a masterclass in holding on to the end of the game looks like, it's what the Cards did last night. Maybe the men's team should take note. After Asia Durr missed a jumper with 43 second remaining and a six point lead, Clemson took 12 full seconds to miss a jump shot. They then chose not to foul Dana Evans as she calmly dribbled the length of the court and found an open Jazmine Jones for an easy layup. From down 6 with the ball and 43 seconds remaining, Clemson went to down 8 with 19 second remaining, and only two possessions had passed. That's... not great. Clemson turned the ball over just five seconds later, and the two teams let the clock run out, heading for the handshake lines.

Offensively, the Cards were led by 24 points from Durr and 15 from Evans. Arica Carter finished with 10 points, but was mostly quiet, with 3 fouls and 3 turnovers to go along with her 3 assists. Durr shot only 37% from the floor, which isn't the most efficient night a player can have. She also took 0 free throws. Sam Fuehring chipped in with 14 rebounds and was one of three players with 8 points. Despite all of that, Bionca Dunham may have been the most important player for the Cards last night. She finished with only 8 points and 7 boards, but 6 of the points and 5 of the rebounds came in the fourth quarter. Dunham was clutch on both ends of the floor when the Cards really needed someone to step up. She did find herself with a technical foul, but it was in a double foul situation, and she committed only two other personals in 26 minutes.

Defensively, Louisville did not have their best night, until the fourth quarter. The Cards allowed 4 players to go into double digits, and Clemson was shooting 46% from the floor before the Cards locked down and held them to 3/13 in the fourth quarter. Louisville also picked up 20 team fouls and only earned 2 steals, though they did induce 14 Clemson turnovers. Louisville's defense will need to be more on par with their season averages than last night if they intend for their season to continue for more than a couple of weeks. 

Since Paulie is predisposed, and told me quite "passionately" that he did not want to take this morning's write up, I'll humor you all with a FRED report, while also adding in my CASE report after.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I probably would have taken a less rational and more opinionated approach to a recap that would have definitely NOT been in the keeping of our motto here...the joy and excitement of UofL women's athletics. Best to hand the baton off when you're in that kind of mental state.

-- Paulie


Fred a bit disgruntled. He has full reason to be
F - Free Throws: Louisville made it to the line only five times in this one, shooting a total of 9 free throws. They made seven of them, which was good for 77.8%. If I remember Paulie's scoring criteria correctly, that is good for a capital 'F', thought it would be nice to see more action at the line for the Cards.

R - Rebounds: The Cards finished with 39 rebounds, only four more than the Tigers, but also matched wits with Clemson in defensive boards, meaning the advantage was entirely on the offensive end. The two finished tied in second chance points, but without the additional opportunities the Cards created, who knows what may have happened. I'll award a lowercase 'r' because this report is only partially statistically driven and I get to be subjective where I want.

E - Effort/Execution: I'll leave a few of the things that can go in this category out as they partially overlap with the CASE report, but I liked that Louisville outscored Clemson 12-0 on fast break points. That shows a concentrated effort to run more than the opposition, getting downcourt quickly on both ends. Additionally, despite only 5 more turnovers, Louisville created 9 more points off of them. Couple those with the resilience to continue coming back, the dominating fourth quarter, and the fact that Louisville played a short bench last night, leading to extended minutes, and that's definitely worth a capital 'E'.

D - Defense: I mentioned already that I wasn't thrilled with the defensive effort from the Cards, but they did ultimately hold Clemson to 41.3% shooting, had more steals, and forced more turnovers. Since the CASE report will be more harsh to the statistics, and the fourth quarter defense was so fantastic, I'll be generous and award a capital 'D'.

So in one of the only FRED Reports you'll get from me this year, the Cards earn a F-r-E-D. Now let's see how they did more objectively.

C - Care: Louisville turned the ball over 9 times. That's fewer than the 14 committed by Clemson, and, believe it or not, fewer than 10. Ten is a pretty good litmus test for turnovers, and statistically, Clemson has been very good at forcing turnovers. They check in at 8th in the country, just behind Kentucky by .02 turnovers, forcing 21.43 per game. Louisville committed fewer than half of that average. Capital 'C'.

A - Assists:  Louisville finished this one with 20 assists. That's a pretty big number. They made 31 field goals, giving them a 64.5% assist rate and compared to the 9 turnovers, a whopping 2.22 ATO. As I mentioned in my article a few weeks ago about the top teams, Louisville was near the bottom of the top tier in ATO, and they'll need to continue to assist in high volume to maintain an efficient offense and succeed later into the year. Easily a capital 'A'.

S - Steals: Louisville finished with 2 steals. Not good. It is more than their opponent's 1, but it is also far below the standard of 7.5. Still, the rules are the rules, and that's technically enough for a lowercase 's', though they really need more steals, as it's a big part of their game.

E - Efficiency: Louisville's team without Asia Durr shot 50% from the floor. Louisville's team without Asia Durr also only scored 51 points. Durr is a volume shooter, and sometimes that can have a mixed impact. In this case, she scored a lot of points, and did so often enough to keep Louisville close/ahead. She also dropped the team FG% down below our threshold of 45%. The Cards did shoot 77.8% from the line though, so they'll earn a lowercase 'e'.

All in all, this game didn't feel like a C-A-s-e game. I thought there were a bit more deficiencies as I kept up with it live, but it would seem that maybe the thought process surrounding the whole game was wrong. Clemson came out with a fire, fighting for their postseason lives, and they did their best to knock off Louisville. The Cards, to their credit, played a pretty good game. Had they not, they'd probably be on their way back from Greensboro right now. 

Louisville is back in action today against NC State, a team they embarrassed just over a week ago. The Wolfpack are almost surely seeking revenge, as well as looking to prove that they were not pretenders when they reached the top ten. Louisville will need to put together another strong game, coupled with better defense than last night, if they wish to hold of the Pack's advances. Tip-off is at 2:30PM on ESPNU.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

Do you guys think there will be anything to talk about today? Paulie is off gallivanting around another state, but we'll see if we can reach him, and some group of us will surely descend upon Mellwood Avenue to come to you live from the studio. Without Paulie to herd us cats, we'll see just what happens today. We'll talk recent softball success, the continuing lacrosse season, and, of course, ACC Women's Basketball Tournament action. Tune in to WCHQ FM at 100.9 FM, the WCHQ App, online at, or on Facebook Live at 11AM for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour.

Until next time, Go Cards!


  1. You all could blow everyone's mind and not even mention basketball...

  2. Just survive somehow.

    Curtis "a survivor" Franklin


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