EARLY RUN, BALANCED SCORING HELP CARDS GO TO 16-1
For the second straight game, the University of Louisville women's basketball squad jumped on an opponent early with solid defense and early scoring. The Cards, now 16-1, 5-0, went on a five minute, 14-0 run in the first quarter to go from trailing 6-5 to holding a 19-6 lead against the Demon Deacons.
In that stretch, Dana Evans had six points, Jazmine Jones added four and the Cardinal defense forced Wake Forest into four turnovers and held them to 0 for 4 shooting.
The Cards led 19-9 after one quarter and Wake Forest was searching for answers to solve their 4-14 shooting (28.6%) and slowing down a Louisville squad that had a 10-0 points-off-turnovers edge and was out-scoring them 10-4 in the paint.
Wake Forest has had a propensity for playing opponents close all season, and, they would eventually get it together enough to actually win the second half 38-37, but the second quarter featured Louisville equaling their 19-point first quarter by benefiting from the foul line (6-6) and turning back two Wake challenges to them. The Deacs trimmed Louisville's lead to 21-16 after Canadian sensation Christina Morra connected inside at the 7:46 mark. A minute later a huge three from Alexandria Scruggs created a bit of nervousness in the 9414 fans in attendance when her three made it 23-19.
A huge Evans three pushed the lead back out to 26-19, but, Wake came knocking at the door again when Alex Sharp nailed a jumper to make it 28-23 with 2:45 until the half.
Coach Walz has warned us several times that the fan base shouldn't expect any 18-0 or real huge runs out of this group of Cardinals this year. But, his squad did piece together a half-ending 10-0 run. Jones and Evans led the way again. Jaz's spectacular leap, catch and score on a beautiful pass from Evans with just five seconds left in the half set the tally at 38-23, which created Louisville's largest lead of the contest.
The Cards held a huge advantages in points-off-turnovers (21-0) and Wake hadn't been to the free throw line yet, something that WFU coach Jen Hoover was raising a huge ruckus about on the sidelines and during timeouts during the first 20 minutes. Wake actually had a small rebounding edge 19-17, but those costly 12 Deacon turnovers were a key factor in first half play and Wake needed to regroup and find some answers for stopping the effective Cardinal offense.
Evans (13 pts.), Jaz (8 pts) and E (7 pts) were carrying the load for Louisville in the first half and Bionca Dunham had already collected five defensive rebounds in the first twenty minutes. Just four turnovers for the Cards was a positive factor as well.
|Jen can go to either hand, as you see in the photos,|
when she's offering suggestions to players or baiting refs.
She uses her feet to jog five miles each morning. WHAT ?
Wake trimmed the Cardinal lead to 10 with 6:25 left in the third and Morra's strong inside bucket made it 49-42 with 2:29 remaining in the quarter. By the time the clock struck 00:00 in the third, the Demons had cut UofL's halftime lead in half and the score stood at 55-47 with ten minutes to go. Wake was showing signs of life again and had won the quarter 24-17.
The fourth quarter was just plain puzzling.
The referees decided they hadn't had enough work in thirty minutes and called a combined total of 13 fouls, after whistling just 20 total in the previous three quarters. Neither team could take advantage of the whistle-fest, though. Louisville went 4-8 from the charity stripe and Wake Forest 2-5.
Louisville called on Jazmine Jones to provide the spark and magic and she responded with 10 final-quarter points. Dana added seven and UofL pushed the lead back to 14 after a dramatic Jones score to start the session.
Just 75 seconds into play, J.J. drove to the basket, performed a fantastic spin move past WFU defender Alex Sharp and got a layup that was deserving of "four-letter network consideration" for one of the top 10 plays on Sunday. The "ankle-breaking" sequence became a Twitter sensation almost immediately after she performed the surgery and it spurred an early 8-2 Cardinal run that finally buried the visitors for good.
|Look, Ma ! I got a 1000 pt. ball and picture with Coach !|
75-61 for the Cards, who pick up their fifth straight ACC win to remain the only undefeated squad in the conference. Four in double figures for Louisville and a hard-fought win over a Wake Forest squad that just wouldn't go away and was competitive much of the game -- save for the three extended Louisville runs that turned the contest into a Cardinal win.
THE FRED REPORT
|Cards string up another victim. Poor|
Fred the Bear...ventured out of Wake Forest.
REBOUNDS -- Wake has been out-rebounding foes by an average of 11 a game this season and they out-grabbed the Cards by 10 at 42-32. Sharp, Raca and Morra hit the glass very hard and very tenaciously for WFU and Louisville, despite eight grabs from Kylee and seven from Dunham, just couldn't match that prowess. No letter here.
EFFICIENCY/EXECUTION -- Only nine Cardinal turnovers is a welcome stat to see. Especially Diop with just one in almost 20 minutes. The fast break was providing points (10-0 edge), the Cards shot an "O.K." 40% from the floor but they did have 19 assists on 30 made baskets, which is encouraging. Jaz continues to be a heat-seeking missile finding the target on the floor with 8-10 shooting and Dana nearly had a double-double with 20 points and nine assists. After deliberation, A CAPITAL "E" is the way to go in the award.
DEFENSE -- Guarding proved to be spot on early when Louisville pulled away and we note the 19 WFU turnovers, nine Cardinal steals and five blocked shots as well. Wake did out-hustle the Cards in second chance points 16-6, though, and ended up shooting 40% for the game after an ice cold start from the floor. Louisville's defensive effort got the job done, it wasn't spectacular, but it does deserve a small case "d".
FINAL FRED TALLY: F-_-E-d
THEY SAID IT
Post-game comments from Jen Hoover, Jeff Walz, Dana Evans and Jaz Jones await your listening below:
DANA AND JAZ
-- It's encouraging to see the Cards, once again, come out and throw the hammer down on the opponent early. The "dual alphas" Dana and Jaz are also surrounded by a very strong supporting cast. "E" quietly amassed ten points in 21 minutes and Kylee nearly got a double-double with 122 points and eight grabs. Bionca works so hard at both ends of the court, is the vocal leader on the floor and... you have to go a step beyond, past the stats, to fully appreciate what she does out on the hardwood nightly.
--The Cards Seygan Robins was on a "scooter" last night, word is she had a small "procedure" on her ailing right foot on Friday. One has to wonder if maybe a red-shirt this season might be in the offing for her...with just two appearances this season. Time will tell.
-- Louisville takes to the highway for their next two. A Thursday trip to Boston College, who got beaten on their home court by a resurgent Virginia team yesterday, and a Sunday trip to Chapel Hill, NC., where the surprising TarHeels will put their 12-4 record up against the Cards. UNC was handled pretty easily by FSU yesterday in Tallahassee 78-64 to drop them to 3-2 in ACC play, but they are still a formidable foe at home, 8-1 in games played at their place.
(PHOTOS AND POST-GAME VIDEO FROM THE EXCELLENT JARED ANDERSON TODAY)