JONES, EVANS COMBINE FOR 43 IN WIN OVER UTA
UofL Women's basketball survived a shaky first quarter, blew out to a 16-point lead in the final quarter and managed to hang on against a pesky UT-Arlington squad in the Virgin Islands yesterday.
It was the Cards first away game of the season and the squad appeared to miss the friendly confines of the KFC YUM! Center, trailing 21-20 after the first quarter.
Jeff Walz explained the shaky start this way:
" I expected this. I told the kids that before we came down here, I was very impressed with watching UTA in film study. They play a physical brand of basketball."
Nothing wrong with coach's eyesight or evaluation skills...it turns out.
The Cards were depending on their on-court leaders, Jazmine Jones and Dana Evans to carry the load, but the dangerous mid-major from the Lone Star state was intent on an upset. They were still threatening the Cards early into the second quarter -- leading 26-25 -- when Louisville finally got comfortable and played their style of basketball...going on a 8-0 run in two minutes to assume a 33-26 lead.
Two Evans made free throws started the run. After a UTA failed possession, the Cards took off running and Kylee Shook took a fast-break pass from Elizabeth Balogun, made the bucket, got fouled and sank a free throw. Jaz hit one of two from the stripe and UTA took a timeout to slow the run. After the stoppage, Jaz nailed a jumper to give Louisville the eight-point lead.
The half ended 43-36 Cards. Jaz had 10 and Evans 12 of the Cards points.
UTC was not done, though.
The Cards were able to win a close third quarter and held a 60-50 lead with 10 minutes to play. That grew to 16 after back-to-back threes from Jaz and Dana, to build what looked like a comfortable 70-54 edge with 6:29 left.
The Mavericks, though,were unwilling to secede, mounted one last charge and went on a 13-2 run over the next five minutes to cut that lead to 72-67 with 1:33 to go.
UTC employed the foul theory the rest of the way but Jones and Evans nailed four free throws and UofL was able to keep UTC scoreless to gain their sixth win of the season.
UTC head coach Krista Gerlich commented after the contest:
"We knew coming in everybody would probably overlook us. We just wanted to give it out best shot and try to punch them in the mouth first. We talk all the time about the upsets going on in men's basketball. We want to see some of those in women's basketball as well".
And, credit the UTA squad. They never gave up and made things a bit nervous for us listening to the radio feed back here in Louisville. A couple of threes by UTC guard Claire Chastain and two steals had the momentum in the Mavericks favor during that nerve-wracking final stretch. Four missed shots by the Cards in that five minutes stretch were painful to hear. And, UTC had a chance to cut it to three with a minute to go, but a huge block and ball recovery by Balogun, stemmed the UTA charge.
Louisville goes on to second-day action against Oklahoma St. today at 1 p.m. The Cowgirls got bucked by #1 Oregon on Thursday. A 34-13 first quarter pasting from the Ducks showed that Louisville wasn't the only team in St. Thomas that was struggling early. As for UTA, they get Oregon today. We'll see how the "punch in the mouth" philosophy works against Ruthy Hebard, Sabrina Ionescue and Minyon Moore...
THE FRED REPORT
|"A beautiful day from the free throw|
REBOUNDING -- Louisville barely takes the "grabs" stat 34-31. Shook, as you might expect, led the way with seven in 23 minutes. UofL had trouble keeping UTA star Marie Benson away from the ball, though, she totaled eight for the Mavericks. In a contest where both teams shot over 45%, there aren't going to be a lot of rebounds, so I'll assign a lower case "r" for Louisville's effort. The non-starters had nine of the boards, "E" getting three.
EFFICIENCY/EXECUTION -- I surmised it at the start of the season that Jaz and Dana would be the engineers of this Cardinal Cannonball Express and they did not disappoint, with 43 points, nine assists and 15-18 free throw accuracy. 20 turnovers are way too many, though, and the Cards late collapse force me to withhold a letter award here.
DEFENSE -- Good at times but the Cards were allowing too many points-off-turnovers (23). Louisville also allowed 30 points in the paint, which doesn't bode well either in terms of guarding inside. The lack of a strong shutout late in the contest could be hazardous against both OK State and Oregon. No letter here.
FINAL FRED TALLY: F-r-_-_
|"Repeat that final score again?"|
Maybe a nice Thanksgiving meal and evening activities will make the Cards feel a bit more "at home" and ready to tangle with another team today that employs the "knock 'em around" style of hoops.
The "jelling" continues. Louisville needs more out of the Georgia Tech transfer duo of "Liz" and "E" and I have to believe Yacine Diop is capable of much more than what Louisville is getting from her.
(A huge "Thank You!" to Nick and AJ on the radio for verbally describing the action. Yes, a picture is worth a 1000 words, but their call made me feel like I was there during this one and their insight, commentary and descriptions are why they're the best at what they do.)
|"Who took the last drumstick?!?"|
The lessons learned in early battles help you win the war.
The key, here, I guess is that Louisville faced a tough test on the road, overcame a couple of tough stretches of action and that the ones you expect to shine did.
Have a fun "black Friday" ! I hope you find what you're looking for and no one gets injured in the running-of-the-bulls when the store doors open.
We'll have THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR Saturday at 11.am. as we go a bit further down that "green mile" toward the cessation of the station. I'm not sure who will join me and Jeff in the WCHQ 100.9 FM studios yet, but it'll be an entertaining hour in the magnificent, majestic mansion of Mellwood, that we can guarantee you.
Watch on Facebook Live, or listen on whatever device you choose. Maybe we'll have two Louisville wins to celebrate and discuss and I might bring a duck into the studio to help us preview the Saturday game vs. Oregon down in St. Thomas.
It's often been said that we're "quacks" ....tune in and waddle along with us.
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