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Saturday, February 8, 2020

Spring Seasons Underway -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Softball Splits Games on Opening Day

If you had high expectations for this year's Louisville softball team, you may find that they took a step toward meeting those expectations when they opened the season yesterday. The Cards started the day by knocking off top-25 Ole Miss 4-2 before dropping what was a close game for 5.5 innings to Baylor, who was also receiving votes.

Cards Jump Out Early, Hold on to Win 4-2 over Ole Miss

The day started with a first pitch to the Cards at 12:00 PM, and it didn't take too long for Louisville to get the season started offensively. The first inning was quiet for both teams, but Taylor Roby sent a shot over the left field fence in the top of the second to support her own pitching effort. Ole Miss answered back in the bottom half, and the teams went into the top of the third tied at 1. Things got a little squirrelly then, as the Cards would score two in the inning. The first came on a double steal that sent Jenna Servi to second and Charley Butler home, and the second came when Servi scored on a Carmyn Greenwood infield single. 

With Roby shutting down Ole Miss for most of the game, the 3-1 lead looked like it might be enough. Caitlin Ferguson added some insurance with a home run of her own in the top of the sixth to make it 4-1. Ole Miss didn't go down without a fight, though. They rallied in the bottom of the seventh to score a run and then load the bases with one out. At that point, Roby was relieved by Chardonnay Harris, who shut down the rally without allowing any more runs. 4-2 was the final and the Cards had opened the 2020 season with a win over a ranked opponent.

Louisville Can't Hold on After Back-and-Forth Game, Falls 7-4 to Baylor

The second game seemed poised to have a similar feel. Getting underway just 45 minutes after the previous game finished, the Cards hardly had time to catch their breath. Just like the first game, the first inning went by without much ado. This time it was Harris getting the start in the circle, and she opened this game just how she closed the first. Louisville once again struck first, scoring on an error and a groundout to lead 2-0. Baylor, like Ole Miss, answered with a run of their own, but the Cards took a 2-1 lead into the third. Roby found her way around the bases in the top of the third after a walk led to a run and the Cards were up 3-1.

Unfortunately, the wheels fell off a bit defensively in the bottom of the third and two hits, three walks, and an error led to three runs for the Bears. Louisville trailed for the first time this season at 4-3 after three. Familiar names tied the game, when Celene Funke hit a triple (you don't say?) and was brought home by a Caitlin Ferguson RBI single in the top of the fourth. That would be the end of Louisville's scoring, though, as the Cards would go on to drop this one 7-4. Baylor used four hits and an error to take the three run lead in the bottom of the sixth and the Cards were unable to answer with any runs in the seventh.

Louisville is back in action today with another pair of tough matchups. The Cards open with Texas State at 10AM before drawing Mississippi State at 3. With just the matchup against Missouri tomorrow, let's see if the Diamond Cards can't escape the weekend with a 4-1 record.

Lacrosse Opens Season with Cincinnati Tomorrow

Scott Teeter's team is ready to get underway in his third season at the helm as the Cards prepare to take on regional rival Cincinnati. The Bearcats were the first opponent of Teeter's Louisville tenure and the Cards won that first matchup 15-9. Louisville is 12-0 all time in the series against Cincinnati, but the Cards are coming off of a 5-13 season while the Bearcats went 12-7 (4-1) last year.

Louisville, of course, won the head-to-head matchup last year. The Cards will look to get back on track, from a program standpoint,  this season with a victory in the opener. Tomorrow's game starts at 1PM and will be available on BearcatsTV (link).

Paulie and Jared are headed up I-71 to take in the action. Expect a post-game interview with head coach Teeter and Jared photos in the Monday Cardinal Couple. 

Reflecting on the Loss of Gigi Bryant

I've been grappling with how to write this and whether or not I even should, but I decided I wanted to put my thoughts out there. I do not want to come off as uncaring or disrespectful in anyway. Let me preface this with a couple of items. First, I am not the biggest follower of women's basketball. I keep up with Louisville women's basketball (with a bit less fervor than the other writers here), and I have a high elevation view of the sport at large via my obsession with sports/Twitter. Second, I did not follow Gigi Bryant's career. Prior to the tragic crash, I could not have told you her name. I knew who she was, as any sports fan who lives on the internet did, because it was impossible to not see Kobe taking in every basketball moment with his daughter that was caught on tape. With that said, I can't stop thinking about the first thing that came to mind when the news of who all was on the helicopter was official and the stories continued to come out.

This was a big loss for women's basketball in general. 

Image result for gigi bryantThe women's game is still growing. There are, and have been, huge stars in the sport. The list of nearly household names in women's basketball is becoming large enough that I'd be sure to miss someone egregious if I tried to put them all here. However, unfortunately, the realm of women's sports continues to be viewed through the lens of how it relates to men's sports. Countless teams of all sports are associated to their male counterparts, including with team associations at the professional level, and entire women's leagues are compared to the success of men's leagues. That's not the way it should be but it is the reality. 

The Bryants represented an opportunity to bridge that gap. Famously, when Kobe was pushed on when he would have a son to take up his mantle in basketball, Gigi asserted that he didn't need a son because she would fill that role. Kobe waxed poetic about her skill. In hindsight, it is clear to me that Gigi Bryant was going to be the face of the WNBA. As the "W" grows, and pushes for better rights for players and teams, their standing is consistently improving. Bryant's timing would have been perfect, as she would have reached the pinnacle of the sport at the exact moment that the league itself would be poised to explode. Fair or unfair, Kobe's presence would bring even more attention to the sport. 

The loss of Kobe and Gigi (and the other players onboard who were fantastic young players in their own right) is a blow to the game of women's basketball. In a sport where one of the best coaches in the college game has to reply on Twitter to people saying that no one cares (in more unkind words) about women's basketball, star power matters. Women's basketball lost a star far too young, and may have lost a huge opportunity in the process.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

After a hiccup in scheduling last week, the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour is back on track this week. In fact, we'll be so much back on track that we're coming to you at the original time. Today's show will start at 11AM and can be found directly on the Cardinal Couple YouTube Channel. Be sure to tune in live as we discuss the week in Louisville women's basketball, the opening of softball's season, and more. If you can't catch the show live, be sure to check out the rebroadcast available directly after the show ends. 

Until next time, Go Cards!

*Author's note: Please note that my opinions are my own and may not represent the opinion of other writers at Cardinal Couple. I am happy to see disagreement with my views in the comments, but ask that such comments remain respectful.*


  1. Beautiful, Case, beautiful.

    Curtis "I am Gigi, too" Franklin

  2. Hello Friends !
    Arthur here !

    A very nice refection on the life of Gigi Bryant and what that family meant to the game, Case.

    Clemson is playing softball, our first season, and the Tigers got off to a great start in Orlando, beating St. John on Friday 6-2. We took that 1-0 record into the contest against Duke but the Blue Devils prevailed 11-0. Yesterday, we took two more losses. IU nudged the Tigers 5-4 and then UCF was the better 8-0. Today, a rematch against St. John.

    Our home opener is Wednesday against Western Carolina. Our new facility is a beautiful stadium. We chose to just attend selected games, didn't get a season ticket package, but look forward to going to the WCU game against us.

    Clemson WBB brings in Boston College today. Maybe we can break our five game losing streak, but, the Eagles have been pretty good recently. A 1 p.m. game, so we'll just drive down and back, no overnight stay. Bea has been sniffly with head congestion since Friday so, there is a chance we may not go, she's still asleep and we'll do a further evaluation on how she feels when she wakes up.

    Have fun in Cincinnati today. Jared and Paul. I don't quite get all the nuances of Lacrosse, we don't offer a team in it in the ACC, but it looks to be fast-paced and exciting.

    For hoops, hoping the Cardinals can get back in the win up in Syracuse today !

    Your friend
    #1 Clemson Fan
    Greer, SC

  3. A Heartfelt article on Gigi wow I'm still so numb.


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