BALANCED SCORING, SHUT-DOWN DEFENSE LEAD TO 20TH WIN OF THE SEASON FOR LOUISVILLE
With six in double figure scoring (almost seven) and a defensive effort that allowed just 29.7% Pittsburgh shooting, Louisville had no trouble Sunday against the Pitt Panthers in the KFC YUM! Center with a 83-49 win.
The crowd of 11624, bolstered by over 1500 Girl Scouts, saw Louisville jump on the Panthers early, maintain the pressure throughout the entire contest and go to 20-1 on the season and 9-0 in ACC play.
|R.I.P #24 and Gianna. We will always remember you.|
Louisville came out to find that the Panthers were OK with being competition early, and the Cards fell behind for the first 3-1/2 minutes. Two Liz Dixon free throws evened the score at 7-7 and started a three-minute, 13-0 run for Louisville that put them up 18-7 after Kylee Shook was on the receiving end of a fast-break pass from Elizabeth Balogun. A Dana Evans three-pointer bumped the advantage up to 21-13 with 1:55 left in the first, and that's how the first ten minutes ended.
Evans had seven of the UofL points after one, the Cards had taken advantage of a 5-0 edge in fast-break points and second chance opportunities. Louisville forced the visitors into six first-quarter turnovers.
Louisville and Pitt played pretty evenly for the first half of the second quarter. A Bionca Dunham set the tally at 26-17 and kicked off a 13-5 Cardinal run that developed over the next four minutes. Kasa Robinson, Louisville defensive stalwart, got the crowd up and cheering wildly when she went on her own 4-0 run with a jumper, steal and resulting layup to push the Cards to a 36-22 advantage. That sequence started a half-ending 9-2 Louisville spurt that sent the Cards to the locker room holding a 41-24 lead.
Louisville won the second quarter 20-11 and Evans led all scorers with 12 points. Elizabeth Balogun was having a productive first half, as well, with seven points and six rebounds. And, how about our own Philly Fanatic Dunham...putting in a fantastic 15 minutes that netted her eight points, five grabs and three assists. The Cardinal defense had held Pitt to just 10-34 shooting (29%) and Pitt had committed 10 turnovers.
Would the Cards keep up the impressive defensive tenacity and continue to score at will in the final 20 minutes?
|Coach looking one way, everyone else the other way. Hmmm.|
Dunham, Evans and Jones were pretty much done for the afternoon, the Cardinal dual-posts tallied the next six points and Balogun capped off the quarter by nailing a three as time expired on an exciting sequence. Dixon grabbed a missed free throw attempt from Robinson, quickly got the ball to a wide open "E" and she drained the attempt with a second on the clock.
66-35 after three quarters. Nine Pitt turnovers in those ten minutes had led to 12 points-off-turnovers for the Cards and the only real question that remained was if UofL would go into one of their recent fourth quarter swoons?
It kinda didn't happen but it was a tale of two stories in the fourth period.
With Diop, Shook, Balogun, Dixon and Robinson on the court to start the fourth , the Cards built the lead to 40 at 75-35 after Ya-Ya finished a fast break with a layup at the 7:34 mark. Pitt hadn't scored yet in the fourth and Walz emptied the bench after that, bringing in Jess and Lindsey for Balogun and Shook. The Cards largest lead came seconds after that at 77-35 when Dixon connected in the paint off a Laemmle pass. Thus concludes the first story. A 11-0 Cards happy success.
The theme of the second story of the fourth quarter concerns Louisville's shooting. It wasn't very productive in the final five minutes, going just two for eight, and Pitt did take the latter part of the final period 14-6. The contest had been long since over, things were well-in-hand for a Cards "W" and no UofL starters were left on the court. Jess scored Louisville final bucket, with a nice hesitation move and drive to the hoop with 26 seconds left and, at the buzzer, the board read Cards 83- Panthers 49.
Despite the final five minutes, Louisville won the fourth quarter 17-14, Diop leading the way for Louisville with six points in the fourth. Freshman Dayshanette Harris had a huge final period for Pitt, hitting three buckets and three free throws for nine of her total 18 points. 83-49 was the final and Walz ended the evening on court with a passionate plea for the fans to buy USA vs. Louisville tickets. We stand with him on this one.
Listen up, knuckleheads. This is the team that will represent the USA in the Olympics. Angel is coming to town. A 2 p.m. start ensures you won't miss any Super Bowl action and why are you interested in a football game without Satterfield or Lamar, anyway?
THE FRED REPORT
|Former Pitt three-point specialist Fred Potvin|
saw this coming, left Pitt to go to Canada.
REBOUNDS -- Louisville controlled the defensive board 29-22 but Pitt took the offensive boards 18-13. "E" stood tall for the second game in a row, co-leading Louisville with eight, but huge props to Kasa Robinson for ending up with eight also. Jaz with just one grab in 22 minutes is a bit disappointing, but she led everyone on the court with five steals. Louisville won the game, barely took the rebounding battle, but I'm offering just a small case "r" here...when an opponent shoots just 29%, I'd expect a lot larger "grab" differential than two.
EFFICIENCY/EXECUTION -- When you build up a 42-point lead and win by 34, a lot of things are going right for you. The Cards shot 47.7% from the floor, has 23 assists on 31 made baskets and committed just 10 turnovers. And, only three of these were from the starters. They went to war in the paint most of the game and won points-in-the-paint 32-20. Taking the categories points-off-turnovers (19-13), second-chance points (13-9) and fast break points (17-2) easily allows me to deem a CAPITAL "E" in this category.
DEFENSE. It was spectacular for 30 of the 40 minutes played. Getting 15 steals. Pitt had 22 turnovers. The visitors shot 29.7% and 21% from the three-point range. I could go on-and-on, but this one was an easy decision to make. CAPITAL "D" for the defense.
THEY SAID IT...
Pitt's head coach Lance White beat almost all of the media except me to the press conference podium and I neglected to bring my auto recording device, so we didn't capture his brief post-game remarks. I asked all the questions after his opening statement, confused him with a couple of them...so, maybe it's good that we didn't get his remarks.
I've put Jared on "Cardinal Couple official post-game social media probation" for lollygagging around and neglecting this important service we try to provide for you. (He's actually been on watch since the start of the season for possible infractions and discrepancies).
i may start looking for someone who can beat my old, hobbled carcass to the media presentation room after a game and record this stuff. OK, Pitt's head coach was quick on the draw because of radio obligations that followed, but, I need someone who follows the Lion King song title.
@mrandersonjared did manage to show up in time for the Louisville players and Walz. Give him grief on Twitter for me. Those links below.
LINK: KASA AND BIONCA POST GAME
LINK: JEFF WALZ
Cardinal fans showed up in huge numbers and got what they came for, a exciting game and a dominating Cardinal win.
Despite, Walz's glib post-game comment to my question about the pre-game objective and whether the squad met it of not...(he responded with that the pre-game objective was to score one more point than the foe)...he did go on to say that Louisville did distribute the ball well, get balanced scoring and play shut-down defense. Four player with 12 points each in Shook, Dunham, Balogun and Evans....Jones with 11...and Yacine knocking on the double-digit door with eight.
So, an expected trouncing of the worst team in the ACC happened. Turn the page, let Lola and Lucy write a "W" on the schedule on the refrigerator.
Next, is Muffet's mediocre crew in south Bend. Yes, Walz wlll tell you they are a dangerous team, Louisville must be ready and so on and so forth. He gets paid to prepare his team in that "one-game-at-a-time, all-foes-are dangerous" fashion. But, Notre Dame is not dangerous this year and a great opportunity lies ahead to give them a beat-down like Virginia did yesterday afternoon 90-60.
Cardinal fans are sharks in the water for this one. They smell the out-of-control bleeding going on within the South Bend swimmers and are ready for a Cardinal WBB attack.
Let's hope the Cardinal players are focused, ready and can give the Irish a significant thumping, despite Walz's carefully thought-out "win by one" pre-game emphasis.
(TODAY'S EXCELLENT PHOTOS AND POST GAME VIDEO FROM JARED ANDERSON. HE MAY NOT KNOW WHERE TO BE WHEN BUT HE'S THE BEST DAGGONE PHOTOGRAPHER IN THE BUILDING)