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!