10-0 FINAL RUN PULLS CARDS TO WIN
10-0 runs. They can be either a bonus or breaker for a team. Louisville women's basketball experienced two of them last night in a wild 71-63 win in from of 1156 fans last night in Martin, TN. in double overtime.
The first 10-0 run came at the start of the contest. Louisville failed to score in the first three minutes of the game and created a deep hole that the Cards eventually dug their way out of by managing the last 10-0 of the contest to get the win.
A win that was ugly, frustrating and inexplicable at times. Nevertheless, a win and one that pushed the Cards to 11-1 on the season. A win that looked like it might be a colossal upset for 47 minutes of the battle between the SkyHawks and the Cards.
Louisville never led until late in the fourth quarter, when Kylee Shook scored inside to put UofL up 49-47. UT Martin would counter with two free throws, though, to force the first of two extra sessions.
Jaz Jones found an opportune time to score seven of her nine points in the first, extra five minute session. A session the Cards led 58-56 with five seconds remaining, but managed to foul a shooter (Kyannah Grant) that had missed her last three attempts. Naturally, she sank both of these attempts to force the second overtime.
Dana Evans gave the Cards a lead they would not relinquish with 1:33 left in the final overtime when her jumper connected to make it 65-63 Cards. Louisville got a Yacine Diop jumper and four Evans free throws in the final 53 seconds to finally pull away for what has to be the ugliest win of the season for Jeff Walz's squad.
If you could shoot your foot in this one, Louisville managed to find a way to do it. The Cards had 22 turnovers and UTM found a way to score 25 points off them.
Sophomore Damiah Griffin, who I managed to pretty much ignore in yesterday's scout of the SkyHawks, blistered the Cards for 25 points on 8 for 13 shooting. She knew what she was doing out there in terms of attack and battling the sometimes slow-to-react Cards defense.
If there was one main factor that prevented UTM from getting the upset, it came from the free throw line. They went 15-28 from the charity stripe (53.6%) and that was probably a main topic of conversation in the SkyHawks locker room after the game.
We'll look for a few sunny and bright, rainbow type-of-things now that the storm has past in this scary one and the first one has to be the off-the-bench play of Diop. in 28 minutes she scored 15 points, her second big effort in a row. Dana also gets a warm ray of sunshine her way, with a team high 22 points. Those two combined for five points to save the Cards chances in the fourth quarter. Down 47-42 with under three minutes to play, Evans nails a three and finds Diop for a jumper to tie it at 47-47 at the 2:47 mark.
Louisville played to the level of their foe last night, a foe that does extremely well on the Pat Summit Court in the Elam Center. They were 4-0 this season coming into Thursday night's game. Jeff Walz and the Cards probably didn't help make UTM's home any more of a desirable spot for non-conference opponents to visit after last night either.
|Doesn't start but brings it when she gets in. Ace in the hole Diop|
The second quarter wasn't pretty at all, unless you were a UTM fan. A 13-6 run by the SkyHawks put them up by eight at 29-21 with three minutes until halftime. By them, Louisville already had 10 turnovers. Fortunately, a 5-1 run, spurred by Shook and Dunham closed it to 29-26 before UTM got the final bucket of the half.
UofL climbed within one of the lead with 4:11 left in the third on two Evans made free throws and at 37-36 after Jones only bucket in regulation with 2:12 remaining in the third quarter.
Jeff Walz spoke in terms of what he could depend on each night during the post-game words and, right now, it is solely Dana Evans. She played all 50 minutes of the contest. She was 10-10 from the free throw line. She handed out eight assists. Cardinal teams over the last couple of years have had multiple players who could be counted on each game. Hines-Allen, Carter, Fuehring and Durr. This year, Evans is the only one walking away from the carnival balloon toss each time with a prize.
Give the Cards credit for managing to ride a tired horse that was shortening stride and hugging the rail to the wire for what was eventually a pull-away win.
Call it "dreams of home" before getting there, as UofL now goes on a 10-day Christmas break before returning home to face dangerous Syracuse on Dec 29th. Call it a comedy of errors and missed shots but still finding a way to throw one huge and final knockout punch. Or, call it a come-from-behind win. I'm not going to call it much of anything. I'm just glad they survived the bumpy flight and turbulence.
When you wear the target on your back, you can expect to be shot at. Either you avoid the incoming shots and return the fire or take the bullets and fall down. Louisville survived an all-out attack from a talented mid-major last night but looked like they were going to lose the gunfight for 47 minutes of a 50 minute showdown.
I watched this one, alone... on the laptop, in a hotel room after a sad funeral earlier in the day for a beloved relative. For quite some time last night, it seemed I was attending another dirge for a befallen. Whether the Cards will take advantage of their "rising from the dead" last night as they now march toward the second half of the season remains to be seen.
THEY SAID IT
Post game comments from Walz and UTM head coach are available at the link below:
(The link leads you to another site. Credit to TCZ's Tom Farmer for the footage. We're all about promoting the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports and applaud all efforts to join us in that mission.)
THE FRED REPORT
|"What's the matter, Fred?"|
"I just watched the Cards play UTM on-line"
REBOUNDS -- Louisville held sway here 49-42 and should have, holding a huge height advantage. Kylee's 11 grabs, part of her double-double (15 points) were fine but just one of her collections of misses were on the offensive glass. An OK job overall, but not deserving of a capital letter, I go with the small-case "r"
EFFORT/EFFICIENCY/EXECUTION -- For what lack of it there was, Louisville did manage to win the fast break points 26-2. This hardly looked like a #6 in the nation squad, though, and there were way too few second chance points (4) and way too many fouls on made UTM baskets, creating the "and 1" scenario more than anyone except UTM fans wanted to see. No letter here for a lackluster effort. 22 turnovers and 15 UTM steals speak volumes.
DEFENSE -- UTM shot just 36.5% for the game but, perhaps the Cards best defense came from Kylee Shook, with six blocks, and Yacine Diop, who had three steals. The defense finally rose late, holding UTM scoreless in the final two minutes of the second overtime. It wasn't pretty for the most part, though, and I withhold any letter award.
FINAL FRED TALLY: F-r-_-_
A "W" that Louisville eventually got, maybe because UTM was too tired to make much of an impact in the final three minutes. Maybe the Cards worst performance in a win of the season. Consistency, hustle, and playing smart took a step back Thursday night on the road.
Sometimes. you just have to look at something for what it is and "let it go". This wasn't pretty. effective or something to gain from and grow on, unless the coaches use it as a teaching tool on how not to play DI WBB Hoops... but it was a win. Time to move on.
If you're looking for a positive aspect, rejoice that Kylee set a new record at UofL for career blocked shots. Anytime you can pass Angel McCoughtry in a stat, that's a huge accomplishment.
|Better things await down the road.|
You earn what you receive.
Louisville finally put in the work, albeit late, to get the win. It was, in a sense, earned...but game play like this against the ACC opponents ahead are going to earn the Cards more than a few "L's" down on the remainder of the schedule.
Hopefully, the time off will give the student-athletes of the WBB hoops team a chance to reflect and recommit while they refresh and renew. There's a lot to evaluate.