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.