Sunday, January 31, 2021
Saturday, January 30, 2021
EKU Gets Call-Up to ASUN
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
Friday, January 29, 2021
CARDS PREVAIL OVER UNC 79-68
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
12-18 67% Cards
6-13 46% UNC
Reb. 9-4 Cards
2-3 67% UNC
9-19 47.4% Cards
5-15 33.3% UNC
Reb. 11-9 Cards
1-6 16.7% UNC
6-14 42.9% Cards
6-13 46.2% UNC
Reb. 7-9 UNC
1-2 50% UNC
3-13 23% Cards
9-17 52.9% UNC
Reb. 7-13 UNC
2-3 66.7% UNC
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.
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."
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.
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.
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
EVANS, DIXON COMBINE FOR 41 IN CARDS WIN
|"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 days...plus 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.
THE FRED REPORT
|"Fred" from SNL (when he's not being|
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".
FINAL FRED TALLY: F-R-_-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
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
DANA DELIVERS AS CARDS DODGE DEMON DEACONS 85-63
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.
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, though...it 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.
THE FRED REPORT
|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
FINAL FRED TALLY: F-_-e-d
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...
|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 Forest Hosts the Cards
|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.