BALOGUN, EVANS LEAD LOUISVILLE IN WIN
It was a wonderful night for the Cards guards Tuesday Night in the KFC YUM! CENTER but rebounding wasn't quite where Walz expected it to be in the 75-56 win for UofL. Junior Dana Evans exploded for 19 points on seven for 14 shooting and sophomore Elizabeth Balogun nailed the first five three-pointers she attempted for her 15 points. This was a game that Louisville was in control of from the start. Worried about three-point shooting? I think "E" has alleviated those fears.
After allowing an early basket to the Hilltoppers, UofL eventually went on a opening quarter 9-0 run to establish a 17-8 lead on a Bionca Dunham jumper. WKU would get no closer that six points the rest of the way. Four Cardinals ended up in double figures -- Liz Dixon and Bionca Dunham with 10 points each for Louisville.
Louisville won each quarter and started out with excellent shooting, hitting their first 9 out of 11 shots. Walz played all eleven that were dressed for action, no one played more that 32 minutes and Coach Jeff Walz tried a variety of combinations in the win. The 31-63 shooting checks in at 49.2%, WKU went 19-57 from the floor - 33%.
Kasa Robinson did not play -- shoulder injury -- and Molly Lockhart remained on the side lines with her foot in a boot, No details yet on whether the two would be ready for Murray State on Friday yet.
Freshman Norika Konno entered the game for the first time with 3:03 left in the first quarter -- along with Yacine Diop. Ya-Ya scored on a jumper inside the paint less than a minute after entering and Konno got the crowd of 8304 enthused with a winding, driving layup early in the second quarter through the lane that earned her a basket and free throw attempt.
The first half ended with the Cards comfortably ahead 34-25.
Louisville push the advantage to 41-25 to start the second half. with a Jazmine Jones layup, Evans three-pointer and a Dunham jumper off a feed from Jones. The Cards had pushed the advantage to 55-43 after three quarters and went on to outscore the school from Bowling Green 20-13 in the final quarter.
Walz was pleased for the most part with the starters and rotation. For Kylee Shook, it was a night to forget, though. The senior forward saw just 12 minutes, went 1-6 from the floor -- missing several wide open chances near the rim and picking up two fouls in just 32 seconds in the first quarter.
Louisville barely out-rebounded the smaller Toppers 40-37 and the majority of the Cardinal grabs came from Dixon (13) and Jones (8).
A serviceable win over a WKU squad that is experience, has excellent leadership and looks to be stronger than last year. It's probably unfair to do a realistic recap and review of either team so early in the season -- and Louisville does have some definite things to work on. A win is a win, though. Evans was steady at the point, Jones almost had a triple-double with eight points, eight rebounds and an incredible 10 assists.
You can't say enough about "J.J." airlines.
Final individual numbers:
Evans -- 32 minutes, 19 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists
Balogun -- 29 minutes, 15 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists
Dixon -- 28 minutes,10 points, 13 rebounds and 3 assists
Jones -- 25 minutes, 8 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists
Dunham -- 18 minutes, 10 points, 3 rebounds and no assists
Konno -- 26 minutes, 9 points, 1 rebound and 2 assists
Diop -- 15 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist
Shook -- 12 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds and no assists
Robins -- 8 minutes, no points, 1 rebound and no assists
Duvall -- 5 minutes, no points, no rebounds and no assists
Laemmle -- 2 minutes, no points, no rebounds and no assists.
For WKU, three in double figures (Porter with 15, Givens 12 and Creech 10).
The potential of the 2019-20 Louisville WBB squad is a work in progress, with so much talent and high-profile players...but I liked what I saw in the opening effort for the most part. The Georgia Tech transfers showed why they were ACC Freshman of the Year last year (Balogun) and All ACC Freshman Firsst team (Dixon).
It takes time for a roster this huge and relatively new to each other to jell. I do believe the "jelling" will continue to improve as the games go on and I expect we'll see a even better effort in that regard Friday when Murray State comes to town.
Another great recap can be found from our buddy Sam Draut from Sports Illustrated at the link below:
Sports.Illustrated's. Sam's Synopsis
THE FRED REPORT
If you are new to the site, we do a FRED (Free throws, Rebounds, Effort/Execution and Defensive analysis) after each game. We assign a "capital letter, small case letter on no letter at all". Case Hoskins does his own CASE report when he has the write-up.
FREE THROWS -- Not many chances for Louisville at the charity stripe, with just three Cards attempting then, but 5-9 is just 55.6% and Louisville can certainly do better than that. Konno was 3-4, Evans 2-3 and Jones 0-2.
NO letter awarded.
REBOUNDS -- Beside Dixon and Jones' big board efforts, not much else to brag about here. Louisville barely won the board battle 40-37.
NO letter awarded.
EFFORT/EXECUTION -- Louisville played all 11 that were dressed and, for the most part, did what they had to do. 16 turnovers isn't too bad for their first game and 40 points in the paint a fairly decent number. Loved Jaz's energy, Evans direction of the offense and Balogun's three-point excellence. 20 fouls are way too many, though, even with the extended rotation. So are 16 turnovers.
small case "e" awarded.
DEFENSE -- Louisville held WKU to 56 points and created seven steals. I was very impressed with the low second-chance numbers allowed WKU...second chance points (16) and points off turnovers (15). The squad looked a little better than I expected on defense and Walz never employed a press, which may be been wise...considering WKU's talented guards Creech and Porter. A definite poor job on the officiating, whistling Louisville for 20 fouls and EKU just 14. You win by 19 and hold the foe to 33% and you get a:
Large Case "D" awarded.
FINAL FRED TALLY: -_-_e-D
THEY SAID IT:
First off, a poor job by UofL staff in checking the microphones for audible accuracy in the media room and getting post-game stats to the media in a timely matter. They also couldn't produce a post-game "full" book. A printer jam was the supposed reason for no post-game "big" book, but we were also told their aare two printers in the production room. If they were in the FRED REPORT, I would award NO letter. Very disappointing. Rant over, but i expect a better game from them Friday. You're supposed to be providing information.
POST GAME WITH "E" AND DANA
POST GAME WITH COACH WALZ
POST GAME WITH WKU's GREG COLLINS
So...one in the books for #9 ranked UofL WBB and a contest that was a solid one, entertaining but not overly spectacular.
Remember that WKU is even better than last year, it would appear... and has a very solid guard combo in Porter and Creech, outstanding boards specialist in Raneem Elgedawy, probable CUSA player of the year in Dee Givins and strong bench, who got 16 pf their 56 points.
Louisville needs to toughen up inside. Dunham and Dixon had OK efforts but the Cards need to block out better and "go to" missed shots. One would think free throw shooting would be a lot better after a summer and fall of practice.
Let's take the "W' over a team that I think will make NCAA Tournament and move on. LOUISVILLE will improve as the season goes on and the players become more comfortable with each other.
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Give them a little time to continue jelling and I think you have a Final Four squad.
( THANKS TO THE INCREDIBLE JATED ANDERSON FOR THE PHOTO WORK! WE'LL GIVE HIM A CAPITAL "J" FOR HIS EFFORTS !)