We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sunday Cardinal Couple - A Day of Rest...Or Not

Basketball Breather

Coach Walz's basketball squad has actually had a chance to catch their breath, and even have a day completely off before getting ready for current number two team in the nation NC State.

The Wolfpack did drop a game over the weekend, so they probably won't be in that second place position come game time, but make no mistake, this is a very good team.

In any case, we're going to take a bit of a break from basketball as well, but should be back at it with a full preview of the big game from Paulie tomorrow.

Swimming Beats Cincinnati

The UofL Cards beat Cincinnati by a total score of 165-91.  The Senior Day win....yes, really, the swimming regular season is now wrapped up, and it caught me by surprise, too...should help the Cards hang onto, and maybe slightly improve their 19th ranking.

The best results of the event for the Cards were in the 100 yard backstroke, where the Cards owned the whole podium in a 1-2-3 finish by Ashlyn Schoof's (53.62), Tatiana Salcutan (53.80), and Paige Hetrick (54.37).  Also the 200 butterfly, with Tristen Ulett (1:57.36), Carley Lowe (1:58.51), and Gabi Albiero (1:58.89) taking the podium.  Maria Sumida was fourth (1:59.58) in exhibition.  The 200 backstroke with Tatiana Salcutan (1:56.49), Ashlyn Schoof (1:58.37), and Abby Hay (2:00.05) forming the trio.

The Cardinals also took wins in the 200 medley relay, the 100 freestyle, the 200 freestyle (with a 2nd place finish as well), the 100 breaststroke, the 50 freestyle, and the 100 butterfly.

It was a good outing for the Cards, after the men's side of the squad got the win over Cincinnati in a session earlier in the day.

Swimming will be back in action next Friday and Saturday, the 12th and 13th, at the Ralph Wright for the "Louisville First Chance" as a tune up for the ACC Championships the week after in Greensboro.

Women's Tennis Sweeps Another

Tennis has also been in action, and they're just getting their season underway.  We don't have to worry about Senior Day for Tennis until April.  Normally Tennis gets their season started in the fall, takes a little bit of a winter break, and then has the bulk of their season in the spring.  This year, of course, the whole fall portion of the schedule didn't happen, and the first tournament of the spring season at Notre Dame got cancelled because of Covid.

So Tennis is really just getting underway for the year, and so far, so good.  In non-conference play so far, the Cards haven't lost even a single individual match, yet.  Both overall matches have been won by 7-0 scores, and even in the doubles matches where best two out of three individual matches wins the overall doubles points, the Cards have gone 6-0.

I don't want to get expectations too high, as tennis is another sport where the ACC excels and the Cards have a habit of waltzing through non-conference play before hitting the buzz-saw of conference matchups.

The latest match was against Miami (OH), and in it, the Cards only lost a single set, total.

On a very minor side note, the write-up of the tennis match was written by Hollyn Barr taking a break from the field hockey cage.  It's not uncommon for players of various sports to intern with the athletic department and take on roles like this.  It has at times been a chance for the Cardinal Couple crew to meet and chat with various athletes, such as when Yacine Diop ran the scoreboard in the softball press box a couple of years back.

Well done to the tennis squad, and Barr in their roles.  The tennis squad will be back in action Friday afternoon against Wichita State, in Wichita.  No word on Barr's next duties.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Basketball may have had a slight break, but The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast didn't take a break from covering them, that's for sure.

It was over an hour of recap, analysis, and preview of Cards basketball.  It was good fun with lots of games to cover.  Check it out!


Saturday, January 30, 2021

More Conference Realignment -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

EKU Gets Call-Up to ASUN

A brief basketball lull between the three game set from last week and the big Monday game and a surprising lack of events from yesterday leads to an open Saturday. Swimming will be taking on Cincinnati a little later and Tennis will play host to Miami (OH) this afternoon, but Jeff will talk more about that tomorrow. We're due for an update on the basketball comparison, which I'll get to another time. 

Today, though, there is exciting news to report about a Louisville-adjacent program, though it doesn't directly affect the Cards. Like last year, a Kentucky school has announced their advancement to Division-I's Atlantic Sun Conference. The Colonels of Eastern Kentucky University announced (accidentally at first, but officially yesterday) that they'd be leaving the Ohio Valley Conference to join the ASUN beginning in July of 2021. Interestingly, their football team will temporarily join the WAC for the 2021 season before returning to ASUN play in 2022. All other sports will participate in ASUN competition in the 2021-22 seasons.

Interestingly, this appears to be a lateral move for the schools--Jacksonville State is making the same move--as the conferences are both Division I in all sports and compete at the FCS level in football (ASUN will when it begins sponsoring football anyway). The ASUN does bring a bit more prestige to the table, especially when considered as a basketball conference, but that is about it. That said, more prestige usually means more money, and universities are always looking for that. 

A side effect of this move is that the Ohio Valley Conference could be in trouble. EKU's departure leaves Morehead State and Murray State as the sole remaining founding members, and gives the conference just seven football competing members. Morehead State offers football, but does not offer scholarships, so it competes in a separate conference for that sport. The OVC has been around for quite a long time and has had a lot of history in the state of Kentucky especially. It would be a shame to see something happen to it.

Positively, though, this move the ASUN means more competition between EKU and Bellarmine, and we here at Cardinal Couple are big fans of both schools, particularly in women's basketball. The step up in conference prestige and competition will mean more opportunities for success for Sam Williams at EKU, and who doesn't want to see a local school like Bellarmine get to compete against more regional programs around the state for more than just a "buy" game?

We're looking forward to seeing EKU continue to give Louisville quality local competition in all sports, just with a different patch on the chest from now on.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

Once again, it was a busy week in basketball, so we have plenty to keep us occupied for this week's show. It'll be a full house again, so be sure to tune in to hear how wrong we were about our predictions for this week and join us in getting our predictions wildly wrong for next week's matchup against NC State. The show begins at 11AM EST and you can join us live on the Cardinal Couple YouTube Channel or check out the recorded version following the end of the live stream. As always, you can subscribe to the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour by searching for it in your favorite podcast player to hear the weekly episodes as soon as they're posted. 

Until next time, Go Cards!

Friday, January 29, 2021

#1 Cardinals dominate TarHeels 79-68 (16-0, 9-0 ACC) -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Happy Friday, folks!

 I am very happy to finally be able to report a matchup with North Carolina is in the books after so many postponements. I was almost SURE the Cards were well on their way to meeting my 2-week, Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast running score prediction for the squad (91-66) against the TarHeels when they put up 55 first half points on the visitors. But, it looks like I can blame Walz for losing that again this week..  good thing i didn't have rent money riding on that prediction.


Around the NCAA/ACC

By now you probably have heard that two of the nation's top three ranked squads went down last night.  Neighboring #2 NC State lost to Virginia Tech 71-83 after barely beating them Sunday afternoon.  The Wolfpack was without leader Elissa Cunane in this one, she's no doubt eyeing that Monday matchup with the Cards for her return, if she can get the COVID clear.

 #3 UCONN lost to #19 Arkansas 87-90, the Razorbacks lead by senior guard Chelsea Dungee with 37 points, 13 in a 31 point 3Q for Arkansas.  Wake Forest beat FSU 73-59 and the Cards remain undefeated with a 79-68 win Thursday night, their third win of the week. 

Louisville freshmen Olivia Cochran and Hailey Van Lith combined for 28 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, zero turnovers each on the floor for 31 minutes. UNC's grad transfer guard Petra Holesinska came off the bench and lead all scorers with 26 on 10-17 FG% 5-10 beyond 3.

Don't let the score fool ya, the Tarheels never really had any control in this matchup... Louisville dominated offensively and defensively until Coach Walz made several substitutions for some playing time opportunities for bench players. 

RECAP: Louisville WBB vs UNC TarHeels 

Jeff Walz tinkered with the starting lineup again, putting Liz Dixon and Olivia Cochran out there together with Dana, Hailey and Balogun. It worked quite well.  

Four different players started the scoring for to put the Cards up 12-2 early.  After the Cards' first missed shot... Elizabeth Balogun was there for the offensive rebound and then put it back up and in.  In the next offensive possession, Dana Evans missed, Olivia was there to get rebound and she was able to score. By then it was a 16-7 Cards lead. 

With five min off the clock, Balogun led all scorers with 7 pts, 1 rebound & 2 assists.  After the first quarter ended, HVL had gotten off to a 3-4 start beyond 3 -- for 9 points and 2 assists. The Cards were 12-16 shooting from FG range (75%) before a couple of unsuccessful chucks up at the basket in the final minute of the quarter. 

End of 1Q 30-16 Cards 
FG %
12-18 67% Cards
6-13 46% UNC
Reb. 9-4 Cards 
3-pt %
4-7 57% Cards
2-3 67% UNC

Janelle Bailey managed to pick up 3 fouls in first half; by then she had only secured 4 pts (2-5 FG%) 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 turnovers.  The Cards finished the half with three 3-pointers by Evans, Balogun & Cochran in about a minutes time.  Dana fed Cochran the rock with about 6 seconds on the clock and said 'knock it down' and Olivia did just that.  There were four Louisville players scoring in double figures in the first half.. Olivia leading all scorers with 14 points (10 in the 2Q) on 6-6 shooting with 5 rebounds. The team was 5-5 at the FT line, had 2 blocks, 2 steals, and were winning the rebounding battle 20-13. 

End of 2Q 25-14 Cards 
FG % 
9-19 47.4% Cards
5-15 33.3% UNC
Reb. 11-9 Cards
3-pt %
4-7 57.1% Cards
1-6 16.7% UNC

HALFTIME  Cards 55-30

Evans started the half with a 3-pointer and the team tied up a couple jump balls and with about 5 min off clock. Elizabeth Dixon joined the others as double digit scorer. Janelle Bailey picked up her 4th foul with 1:36 left in the quarter recording just 8 points, 5 rebounds in 24 min on floor.  This was just about all of the highlights as Walz experimented with the lineup -- getting bench players quality playing minutes.  Louisville largest lead of the contest was 32 points with 2:52 left in the quarter. 

End of 3Q 16-16 
FG %
6-14 42.9% Cards
6-13 46.2% UNC
Reb. 7-9 UNC 
3-pt %
3-9 33.3% Cards
1-2 50% UNC

Ok...this is where things got a little scary for Louisville as they watched the lead start to diminish.

UNC jumped out to an 8-0 run to start the 4Q , UofL was 0-4 on their first attempts and had 3 turnovers, In fact, going back to the third quarter, the TarHeels were on a 17-0 run with 4:28 left in the game.  That's when Dixon got a nice feed from Olivia for a layup and one. The score was 22-5 UNC in the quarter with 1:18 left and the Cards shooting a measly 2-12 for 16.7%.

UNC's Petra Holesínská had 12 points on 5-7 FG% 2-3 from the deep in the final quarter. The Cards were led by Kianna Smith in the 4Q with 5 points which made her the sixth Cardinal in double digit scoring on the night.

End of 4Q 22-8 UNC  
FG % 
3-13 23% Cards
9-17 52.9% UNC
Reb. 7-13 UNC
3-pt %
1-3 33% Cards
2-3 66.7% UNC

FINAL  79-68 CARDS WIN !! 

Coach Walz post game: 

Coach Walz took responsibility for making the substitutions that lead to UNC to cut the lead more than half to get it within single digits with a little more than a minute left in the game. He said he was trying to get some bench players some minutes and it just wasn't the right combo at the right time. It seems like it was more of a teaching moment for Coach Walz than for what he was going for by putting the subs in those moments. 


F- Free Throws Only three Cardinals went to the line for the night.. where they were sharply 7-8 which is good for 88%, more than our 70% requirement for a CAPITAL F performance
R- Rebounding After winning the rebounding battle 20-13 in the first half, the Cards ended up on the losing side 35-34 on the evening.  They did win the battle for second chance points 11-7, however.  It was a strong performance overall warranting a Capital R in my eyes. 

E- Effort/Efficiency First half: Olivia was 6-6 from the field, Balogun was 3-4, Dana was 4-7 and HVL was 3-5 beyond 3.  The team had 11 assists on 21 made shots.  The second half was a different story... Second half: Dana was 1-6, HVL was 0-4, Balogun was 0-2, Olivia was 1-4.  Five of the Cards six turnovers were in the second half. 

It was a strong enough first half decimation to put the Cards ahead by 25 and UofL was never really in jeopardy of losing.  The first half was a whole lot of fun to watch, and, since Coach Walz took the blame for the second half stall,  I give the squad a CAPITAL E on the evening. 

D- Defense Cards finished with four blocks and four steals and able to hold UNC to 11-28 (39.3%) shooting and 3-9 from beyond three-point range (33.3%) in the first half. The second half was a diffeerent story, the Cards allowing 15-30 (50%) from the floor, and 3-5 beyond the arc (60%) in the second half.  They were able to keep Janelle Bailey off the floor after she racked up 3 fouls in the first half -- Bailey eventually fouling out of the game with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 turnovers.  The Cards held the UNC starting lineup to just 35 total points.   The second half defensive effort knocks this total effort down just a bit, I still give Louisville a  Capital D




"See if you can find out where she got those shoes for me" 

"You like these shoes, Jeff?" 

"Excuse me, but it's clear that I have the best shoes on the court, y'all" 


Spring Field Hockey Schedule released 

On Louisville Field Hockey:

The Cardinals finished the fall portion of the 2020-21 season with an 8-2 overall record with a program-best 5-1 mark in ACC play, securing the regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament for the first time in program history. Louisville posted a runner-up in the tournament after falling 4-2 to defending champion North Carolina in the finals.

"The fall 2020 season certainly presented many challenges," said Sowry. "Our team adapted, adjusted and we made the most of an incredibly difficult situation. We will continue to remain positive, flexible, and to make the most of the opportunities we are presented." 

I'm sure Paul and Jared will have a couple thoughts on this for us on Saturday's show... 

Spring Softball Predicted finish announced:

2021 ACC Softball Preseason Coaches Poll

Florida State (141 points, nine first-place votes)
Virginia Tech (136 points, four first-place votes)
Notre Dame (114 points)
Duke (99 points)
North Carolina (96 points)
Clemson (88 points)
Louisville (81 points)
NC State (78 points)
Georgia Tech (61 points)
Syracuse (39 points)
Pitt (31 points)
Virginia (28 points)
Boston College (22 points)

The Cardinals finished the COVID-shortened 2020 season with a 10-13 overall record on the eve of their ACC-opening series against Boston College. Louisville's early season slate featured 10 games against teams in the top 25 and the Cardinals were on a three-game winning streak at the end of the season.

Middle of the pack seems like a reasonable prediction for this Louisville squad.  That'll make it that much sweeter when the Cards give us a couple upsets.

I imagine this squad will be offense heavy with Cassady Greenwood leading the team with a .386 batting average, followed by her sister, Carmyn at .373. Jordyn Wolfe rounds out the Cardinals' top three hitters with a .324 batting average. Taylor Roby led the team with seven home runs and 16 RBIs, while Celene Funke was 13-for-13 in stolen bases with 12 runs.


Its been great having wins to report on...and a "shoutout" to Jared and Paul for making it to the Yum again late Thursday evening to cover this squad.  (Jared's been getting such quality photos they had to hose him down to keep the wolves at bay.)

Coach Walz says the team has the day off Friday, to relax before they get back to work to prepare for a battle with conference foe, NC State, on Monday night.  The matchup is likely not going to be a #1 vs #2 now that the WolfPack went down Thursday evening.  We will find out their new ranking Monday afternoon.  We will talk about this and more on Saturday's show! 

Have a great start to your weekend, Louisville fans! 

~ Daryl 

Thursday, January 28, 2021


 Louisville Prepares to Host North Carolina

In their third game in five days, Louisville WBB  kicks back into gear in preparation to face North Carolina.  This will be Louisville's second straight home game and roughly the fifth attempt to get the North Carolina game played.

At 15-0, the Cards are off to their second best start in program history. They are joined in the zero loss column by #2 NC State- the Cards and Wolfpack are scheduled to play Monday- and #3 UConn, as well as three unranked teams.

The Tar Heels have had an up-and-down season after an 8-5 start with a 3-5 conference record. UNC has lost three of their last four games. They have had just one victory that hasn't come down to the final minutes when they defeated Syracuse by 24 in December. The Orange later got revenge.

North Carolina has been a small threat on offense as they average 77.9 points per game. They have shot a healthy .419 from the field this year. Free throws have been a strong suit as they make nearly 70% from the charity stripe. They have also attempted 44 more free throws than their opponents.

Courtney Banghart is in her second year
as UNC WBB head coach

Where the Tar Heels really succeed is on the boards. They have a +10.7 rebounding margin on the year and average 47.1 per game.

Like the Cards, UNC utilizes about eight players throughout the majority of the game, but has a few other players that will make appearances here and there. Those players do much of the heavy labor. Four players score in double figures for the Tar Heels: Janelle Bailey (14.7 ppg), Petra Holesinska (12.7), Deja Kelly (11.1), and Alyssa Ustby (10.1). Holesinska has been a three-point threat, shooting .388 beyond the arc. Bailey has led the team with 8.2 rebounds per game. Anya Poole is close behind with 7.2 per game as well as 14 rebounds per game.

The Cards own the series 7-3 and have won seven in a row. Back on Jan. 19, 2020 the Cards took down the Heels 74-67. UNC outscored the Cards by 10 in the final quarter and it was Evans free throws down the stretch that sealed the victory (Ever heard that scenario before?) .  Evans led all scorers in that game with 22 points, Jazmine Jones added 19. 

Rameses has been the official UNC mascot since 1924

This game is officially set at 8:00 p.m. Some reports still had tip-off at 7:00, which was before the game was moved to ACC Network. You can also tune in to Cards Radio 790AM-WKRD to hear Nick Curran and AJ call it.

Paulie and I will be back in the KFC Yum! Center for this one. If you have any requests such as not letting this one come down to the wire we will certainly try to pass that along to the team.

Personally, I'd like to see a blowout in our favor so key players will have a chance to rest in preparation for Monday.

Asia Durr

We knew back in June that Asia Durr tested positive for COVID-19 and would sit out the WNBA season. Durr went on air yesterday on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" to talk about what it's been like for her. Things haven't been great for the former Cardinal. Even to this day, Durr is still suffering from many of the effects from the virus.

"There's days where I feel great, like I could go out and go to the store or I could clean up," said Durr. "And then there's days where I'm like 'I just have to stay in the bed,' and you just feel like you got hit by a bus."

Durr's symptoms have been as severe as coughing up blood and vomiting. She has not been medically cleared to play, or even to do simple exercises. Durr said there is no time frame for her to return to the court or if she ever will return.

It appears that Durr has also had mental health side effects as she broke down in tears during her interview.

We wish nothing but the best for Nite-Nite and hope that a speedy recovery will quickly come her way.


We did see a fair amount of snow last night here in Louisville and some areas have a few wrecks from slick roads. The weather appears to be drier today and the roads should be clear in plenty of time for the game tonight, but if you go out at all today please be careful on the roads. This is your Cardinal Couple Weather report from non-meteorologist Jared Anderson. Watch those parking lots and side streets!   

Happy Thursday and Go Cards!


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Dana. Dixon Deliver -- Cards 79- Miami 76 -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


"Katie, I bet I can get Norika to yell in today's game."

It was a case of Liz Dixon early and Dana Evans late in Louisville women's basketball's 79-76 win Tuesday over a Miami team that refused to go away. The 6'5" Cards post from Memphis, TN delivered 13 points and seven rebounds in the first half for UofL to help lead them to a 44-36 lead. Miami staged a rally in the fourth quarter to trim Louisville's team to four with 1:47 remaining in the contest, but four late free throws by the Gary, IN senior prevented the Canes late comeback attempt from being successful.

Evans scored the Cards last 12 points of the contest and had all but two of the 14 total points Louisville registered in the final quarter. Her 20 points were second high for UofL, Dixon contributed 21 in just 26 minutes. 

"Hands up if you want to hear Norika yell !" 

Tuesday's contest was one where the Cards would build substantial leads at various times but Miami would manage to come back and stay in contention. Witness the Cards 62-46 lead with 4:03 left in the third quarter after a pair of Kianna Smith free throws. That had shrunk to 65-56 by the end of the quarter and the Canes outscored Louisville 20-14 in the final ten minutes to make it interesting.

Katie Meier ws proud of her squad, despite the loss:

"We played tough and it was a heck on an environment. I could tell before the game that the team was really dialed in. I thought we were very focused for 40 minutes." 

"Well, we're all waiting..."

Meyer was looking for her 300th. win in a coaching career that has seen her at Miami for 16 years now. 

Louisville also got nice production from  Elizabeth Balogun (14 pts) and Kianna Smith (8 pts) in getting their 15th win of the season. Dana Evans summed up the victory this way:  

"You just do what you gotta do to win the game. Obviously that's what I do. Whether it get to the free throw line, because, obviously my jump shot was off again tonight --  do what I have to do to help this team win." 

 Evans was 5-15 from the floor in 37 minutes and 2-9 from three-point range but went a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line, logging six of those in the crucial fourth quarter. 


The Cards launched 30 threes in the contest and saw ten of them go in. Kudos to Balogun, she was 4-5 on her long-range attempts and handled the rock well with no turnovers in 28 minutes. 

Jeff Walz spoke at length about the mental strain of three games in five the return to classes for the student-athletes for the spring semester. It doesn't slack up for the Cards as they'll host UNC Thursday night. Early in the season, the Cards were struggling to find games and juggling the schedule, now it's a "cup running over" of contests and opponents. Despite the obvious physical strain, the players will tell you that they'd rather be on the court instead of sitting around wondering if they'll play. 


"Fred" from  SNL (when he's not being
Ian Rubbish) 

FREE THROWS -- Another fine performance from the charity stripe for Louisville. 21-27 is 77.8% and that will get the Cards a CAPITAL "F" by our standards. What was kinda weird was how they developed. Louisville received just four opportunities in the first half and 23 in the final 20 minutes. I can only attribute that to either the refs reeiving new whistles at halftime and being eager to try them out, or Miami deciding that fouling Liz, and Dana was the only way to get back in the game -- the two had 20 of the UofL attempts and made 17 of them. 

REBOUNDS -- Whatever the Cards worked on in practice Monday in terms of getting grabs sunk in. Louisville out-rebounded Miami 34-32. It's interesting to note that Dana may have had a career high with six and Liz barely missed her double-double with nine. The Carrds guard combined for 24, which had to bring a smile to Coach's Walz and the staff's faces. I award the CAPITAL "R" for grabbing the missed shots. 

EFFORT/EXECUTION --  There was still too much standing around, excessive dribbling and offensive stagnancy for Louisville Tuesday, the Cards could get out on the transition game (just two fast break points and 15 assists on 24 made baskets, but the 46.2% from the floor could have, should have been better if you toss out the dismal 25% (3-12) shooting in the fourth quarter. Nothing spectacular here in points-in-the paint either, where Louisville lost the battle 30-26 or second chance points, where Miami had a 20-13 edge. No letter here. 

DEFENSE -- It started well for the Cards on defense, holding the Canes to 38% shooting, but Miami went 8-18 from three-point range (44.4%) and Kelsey Marshall, the ACC's best long-range bomber had four of them. Louisville lost the steals stat six to four, and forced 14 turnovers, compared to Miami forcing 13. Miami's 76 points were 10 over their average and those 76 points were the most the Cards have surrendered this season (DePaul scored 75 early in the season). It was a win, though, so we'll offer a lower-case "d". 


"Another three for me !" 


Maybe a bit of concern that the Cards aren't blowing opponents out of the KFC YUM! Center or on the road as of late but you have to figure that it's a whole new ball gane now, when your foe is looking to kncok off #1 in the nation. I expect a scenario that could be the same on Thursday night, when Janelle Bailey, who I consider the best center in the ACC, brings her TarHeels in to test Liz and Olivia. 

Wins are wins, though, whether they're by two or 22 and Louisville keeps amassing them. Let's hope it continues. 15-0 and (who knows how many more?) to go...

"I get down low when I'm ready to go." 

(A special THANKS to Jared Anderson for the photos. They can move you around, gripe and whine...but your photos always turn out fine...)

Have a wonderful Wednesday!



Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Cards Host Miami -- Other WBB News -- Tennis -- Lax Schedule -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

 Louisville WBB Hosts Miami

In their third game as the #1 team in the country, Louisville women's basketball prepares to host Miami on Tuesday afternoon. The Cards are fresh off a last second victory over Wake Forest and have entered their second straight week in the top spot of NCAA DI WBB rankings

UofL is 14-0 on the year, matching the 14-0 start in 2018-2019. They started 15-0 in 2006-2007. The best start in program history was 20-0 in 2017-2018.

Miami enters the game at 7-5 on the year with a 4-5 conference mark. The Hurricanes are wrapping up a five-game road trip today at the KFC Yum! Center. At 67.1 points per game, Miami ranks last in the ACC in scoring. Their 66.6 points allowed per game doesn't rank much better. Although, having attempted 291 threes on the year, Miami is only shooting 28.9%.

One promising sign for Miami this year is their turnover margin: +2. That is good enough to rank third in the conference behind Boston College and Louisville. While averaging 14.9 turnovers per game themselves, the Hurricanes are forcing nearly 17.

There's a new "Marshall" in town this afternoon

Senior Kelsey Marshall leads the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game. She has also made 33% of the team's made three-point shots with 17. Three other players average between 8.70 and 9.80 points per game.

Rebounding has been by committee for Miami, who has eight players hauling in 3.13 and 5.90 boards per game.

At 65%, Miami has not been a great free throw shooting team. Or at least by the F-R-E-D Report standards, we would not be satisfied with 65% shooting.

Katie Meier is the head coach of Miami WBB 

The Cards are 5-2 all-time against Miami. The Hurricanes came to the KFC Yum! Center back on Feb. 17, 2019 and pulled off the 79-83 upset. Since then, Louisville crushed the Canes 87-41 back on Jan. 9, 2020 down in Coral Gables.

This game is a bit earlier than normal at 4:00 p.m. You can catch it on ACC Network as well as online. You also have the option to 790-AM WKRD to hear Nick Curran and AJ.

Other WBB News

-- Dana Evans was named ACC Player of the Week. Is there any real debate? Evans has straight ice in her veins and should be everyone's top contender for Player of the Year. The senior averaged 23.0 points per game in the wins against Syracuse and Wake Forest while playing every minute of both games. She also averaged 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.5 steals over that stretch.

-- Louisville remained #1 in the latest AP Poll with 739 points. NC State is close behind at 710 points for the #2 spot. Pending no upsets for either team in the next few days we will have one Hell of a game next Monday.

-- UConn and South Carolina remained at #3 and #4, respectfully. After a match-up that the Bruins came out on top, UCLA and Stanford switched spots with UCLA taking #5. Syracuse dropped out of the rankings and into the receiving votes category. They are joined by Georgia Tech.

Women's Tennis Opens Season With Sweep

Louisville women's tennis head coach
is Mark Beckham 

It was a solid way to start the season as women's tennis as they swept Ball State 7-0 The Cards three doubles groups all won with scores of 6-2, 6-3, and 6-4.

Nikolina Jovic starts season as #1 seed

Nikolina Jovic played in the #1 role, winning 6-3, 7-5. Andrea Di Palma was in the #2 spot and won 6-3, 6-3. Raven Neely was in the #3 hole and defeated her opponent 7-6, 6-0. Chelsea Sawyer was #4 on the chart and claimed a victory 6-2, 6-3. Rhea Verma lined up #5 and won 6-4, 6-3. Dina Chaika was in the final spot and won 6-3, 6-2.

The Cards start the year 1-0 and return home on Saturday against Miami (OH).

Lacrosse Schedule Released

Another spring schedule was announced yesterday as we saw the lacrosse schedule released. The LAX Cards have 15 games on the schedule, eight at home and seven on the road.

Louisville starts the season with four straight home games, hosting Florida (Feb. 13), Colorado (Feb. 18), Notre Dame (Feb. 28), and Cincinnati (March 3).

They then hit the road for a three game stretch. The Cards will visit Virginia (March 6), Central Michigan (March 12), and Marquette (March 14) before returning home briefly to host North Carolina (March 20).

Scott Teeter is the Louisville LAX head coach

Some later ACC games will feature double headers over the weekend. Louisville travels to Boston College for a two-game series (March 26 and 28) before a visit to Virginia Tech (April 3). Louisville's home season ends with three straight home games. They host Duke (April 10) and close with Syracuse for a double header (April 16 and 18).

The Cards conclude the regular and conference season on the road at Notre Dame (April 24)/. After that, the ACC Tournament, although we haven't got a firm "Yes, that will happen" yet. 

This is a top-flight, challenging schedule for Scott Teeter's squad. The LAX Cards will play 11 of the 15 contests against squads that were ranked in the top 25 last season. They face #1 UNC, #2 Norte Dame twice, #4 Syracuse twice, #8 Florida, #15 Virginia, #18 Duke, #19 Boston College twice and #24 Virginia Tech. In the power-packed ACC, the Cards are the lone squad that wasn't ranked in the top 25 last season. The Cards do return their top two scorers of the shortened 2020 fall season in Hannah Morris and Ally Hall. 

We'll still be without any nighttime games at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium, but the Cards do have an evening game at Syracuse. The home schedule features a game on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday plus three games on Saturday and two on Sunday.

In-person media coverage of lacrosse this year is still uncertain, although we will provide plenty of lacrosse news and coverage both near and afar here at Cardinal Couple.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Monday, January 25, 2021

Cards Escape at Wake 65-63 -- Monday Cardinal Couple


Dana delivered. 

It was a narrow escape for a 13-0 #1 in the country Louisville women's basketball squad yesterday against Wake Forest and it was Dana Evans who drove the get-away vehicle to keep the Cards unbeaten. 

The scenario was like one of those old time, noir moves from the 40's. The heroes were in trouble. Wake Forest was playing the role of the villains, giving the protagonists (the Cards) trouble at every turn. Things looked bleak, as the plot thickened and darkened -- a nine point home squad lead for Jen Hoover's Deacs and just 7:15 left in the scenario.  Would our heroines survive? Could they manage to escape the clutches of the crew conspiring to send them off the deep end? Cue the screeching violins and trumpet blasts. These birds from up north were grounded and the hunter was approaching.

Dana delivered. 

Evans delivered 10 of her team-leading 25 points in the final seven-minute stretch and, when it came down to crunch time, with the Cards trailing 63-62, she drove to the basket -- maneuvered around the taller Wake defenders -- and sank an improbable, off-balance and falling down jumper over out-stretched hands. And drew a foul from defender Gina Conti.

 Basket good, Cards leading 64-62 now,,,and the "cool as a January morning" Evans, after a few celebratory bumps with teammates, strode to the charity stripe and knocked down the free one for the 65-63 lead. Wake Forest had a final chance but the Deacs Ivana Raca went for the win instead of the tie and her three at the buzzer was wide left.  The Cards had survived 

This was Louisville's worst game of the season and I don't think you'll find many who would disagree.

We learned that a four-guard line up against a two-center opposition formation wasn't going to work. Wake out-rebounded the Cards 43-32 and had 38 points-in-the-paint, compared to the Cards 32.

What was supposed to be a  UofL romp over a squad that had just gotten shellacked by Georgia Tech by 29 a few days prior turned into a frantic, nail-biting -- but successful -- scramble for the win.  

The Cards couldn't hit shots...the 39.7% from the floor won't go into the annals of "best game ever" discussions. The threes were even worse, at 33%. Fortunately, Wake went 1-11 from beyond the arc and shot the face-palm, what-are-we-doing 12-24 from the free throw line. The Homer Simpson "DOH!" exclamation audio comes to mind when analyzing Wake's three-and-free shooting.  If you are a Wake apologist and need to point to two things that cost you the upset Sunday afternoon, here's your signs. 

Evans received a ton of help from her sidekick at guard Elizabeth Balogun. "E" was masterful with 12 points, six grabs, three steals and three blocks. One can't say enough about the clutch minutes Liz Dixon contributed or the double-double Olivia Cochran generated (10 points, 11 rebounds). 

The Cards got a huge boost off the bench from Norika Konno's five-point run in the second quarter that kept the Cards in a some-what comfortable lead. It wasn't Kianna Smith night, we'll just leave that comment right there and not amplify it. The "bakery" was open for Hailey Van Lith early, her five turnovers were by far the highest on the Cards squad, but, let's give her credit for the huge bucket she delivered when the Cards were mustering a comeback in the 4th. quarter. 

In the end, was the best guard in the ACC, arguably the best guard in NCAA women's college basketball who refused to lose when the chips were down, brought the sunshine on a cloudy day and put the Cards back on the flight to Louisville with the win. Dana doesn't like to lose. She didn't and Louisville loves her for it. 


WE drag Freddy Krueger out, for the 
"Nightmare on I-40" Cardinal win 

FREE THROWS -- The Cards were perfect from the charity stripe -- 13 for 13 -- and 11 of them came from two players, Evans and Cochran. NO QUESTION ABOUT THE CAPITAL "F" EARNED HERE. 

REBOUNDS -- Olivia Cochran was doing all she could in the grabs category but Wake Forest out-rebound Louisville 43-32. The discrepancy was most noticeable on the offensive boards, where Wake owned them -- 24-13. No letter here. 

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- The Cards shot well to begin and end the game but the middle two quarters were less-than-exemplary. Too much dribbling and not enough passing against the Wake defense. Only 11 assists on 23 made baskets. Yes, the fourth-quarter comeback was state-of-the-art, so I'll settle for a lower-case "e" here and more than a few may argue whether even that was warranted. 

DEFENSE -- If there was a free throw defense stat/formula...never mind....Louisville held Wake to the same exact shooting percentage (39.7) that the Cards managed. Wake was beating the Cards up pretty badly in the paint, though. The Cards did win the steals (8-6) and blocks (4-1) stats, and allowed just 63 points...and they did win the game, so, I'll award a lower-case "d" , despite the Cards losing the second-chance stat 19-13. Their defense was two-points more effective than Wake's in the end


Jeff Walz was asked how the Cards designed the winning shot and he glibly responded "Pray". It was a "W" ...t though, and they count the same in the standings whether they're by 2 or 22. That sounds good for a close-to-article sentence here,  but I'd toss this game video in the toilet and never view it again, if I were the Cardinal coaching staff. Louisville exorcized the Demons on a Sunday, but, the win was in doubt until...

Dana delivered. 


Bassy's brood flies north for a bird battle Tuesday.

Louisville entertains "the U" next, when Miami comes to town for a Tuesday, 4 p.m. matinee at the KFC YUM Center. The Canes come in at 7-5 (4-5 in ACC play) and were off Sunday. They probably needed the rest, since their last game was a furious , come-from-behind win over Pittsburgh 72-68. This one looked to be all Panthers early on, they held a 31-10 first-quarter advantage, but couldn't maintain it. 

Have a puddle-dodging Monday!


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Wake Up For Gameday - Sunday Cardinal Couple

 Wake Forest Hosts the Cards

In this nearly-every-other-day game schedule that the Cards have been maintaining for much of the season, the game days roll on.  Today, it's Wake Forest in Winston-Salem at 2 p.m, part of a nice double-header on the ACC Network with Clemson hosting Syracuse at noon. And, for the Cards WBB pursuits, radio always an option on Cards Radio 790 WKRD AM with Nick and AJ. 

Wake Forest is currently sitting just about in the middle of the ACC standings, 7th out of the 15 total teams.  I'll claim the exact middle based on Duke and Virginia having bowed out of playing for the year.

There is an argument to be made that the Demon Deacons are about to start sliding down the standings a bit, though.  When you look at their schedule played so far...well, it's not bad, including a win over a then-24th-ranked Missouri State though of course that doesn't impact conference standings, a split of two very closely contested games against UNC, wins of Miami, Boston College, and Virginia Tech.  With the losses coming to the aforementioned squeaker against UNC, NC State, Notre Dame, and Georgia Tech.

It's pronounced RA-ZA not RA-CA, if 
you  want to try and reach her on the phone...

The Deacs have started a pretty brutal part of their schedule, however.  That GT game basically started it off, they follow that up with the game today against us, the #1 team in the country, then Florida State, Clemson, Syracuse, and the 2nd game against Georgia Tech.  Clemson will be the easiest opponent in that slate, and they're no cakewalk.  Wake also has 2nd games against NC State and Florida State to come.

So who should we be watching on the court?  The sharp shooter most efficient shooter on the squad is Christina Morra shooting at 56.6% from the field.  She is not the biggest scorer, however, with Ivana Raca and Gina Conti taking the one and two spots of that ranking.  A big part of the difference between total points and shooting percentages is the three pointers.  Morra has not taken a three point shot all year. 

Your Becky Burke-esque three point bombers are Jewel Spear and Alexandria Scruggs, each taking about 2/3 of their shots from beyond the arc.

Wake Forest head WBB coach Jen Hoover is 0-6 against 'the Cards
including last year's 75-61 loss in Louisville. She wasn't thrilled. 

Watch out for Conti in the guard role as well, her steals and turn-overs stats are almost identical to Dana Evans for the season.

There's probably not too much need to be wary of shot blocking.  The team leader for blocks is 6'2" Raca with eight on the season.  For comparison's sake, 6'1" Elizabeth Balogun has 24.

The "Deac" is a noted ladies man" and warns 
Paulie away from his gal at the ACC Tournament. 

The only other stat I see that piques my particular interest is assists.  Conti is the team leader with 42, compared to Dana Evans 60, on the year, but particularly of note is that Wake trails their opponents in assists 117-169.  That suggests that the Cards could make an extra effort to help each other on defense and worry less about the Wake players dishing the ball off to others.

Overall, you never want to take a game for granted, particularly in the ACC, but as long as the Cards come out, play their game the way we know they can play it, then we should come away with a win today.

Volleyball Tidbits

The unprecedented spring part of the NCAA volleyball season has begun, though the Cards won't play until February 27th, at least based on currently scheduled games.  There could be some non-conference games that might get scheduled, but I'm not holding my breath for them.

Beyond the college courts, however, the Athletes Unlimited Pro league is getting together for practice with play slated to begin also on February 27th.

AU Volleyball is going to be...interesting.  There aren't set teams, with players drafted each week.  There's a whole scoring scheme that rewards individual players for their individual efforts as well as their current team's success.  You can check out the scoring system at

There are several players with more or less direct UofL connections involved in AU Volleyball.

First and foremost, UofL alum Erin Fairs will be playing.

Next, Taylor Morgan, who was filling the UofL Volunteer Assistant Coach role in the fall.  Morgan graduated a year ago from Minnesota, and as a middle blocker was part of the team that eliminated UofL from the NCAA tournament the game after UofL's big win over Texas.

Prime UofL rival for the past 4 years Leah Edmond from UK will be in the league, and finally a big sis, Deja McClendon, who played her college ball at Penn State is the older sister to Maya McClendon who played a couple of years for UofL before transferring to Arizona State.  The McClendons are Louisvillians, with both Deja and Maya playing their high school ball at duPont Manual High School.

So you've got a few Louisville rooting interests in this one.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Back mostly to basketball, the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast, unsurprisingly, largely focused on basketball with recaps of previous games and some discussion about this upcoming Wake Forest game as well.  We did touch base on the announced volleyball schedule, and we got more good day job news from much of the crew.  Lastly, did we get an answer?  Do seals have ears?  or is it sea lions that do?

Check out the fun below, as always.