FIVE IN DOUBLE FIGURES LEAD LOUISVILLE TO ROMP OVER FSU.
The University of Louisville women's basketball team put five student-athletes in double-figures and used a blistering, dominating 26-14 second quarter to grab the lead over visiting Florida State en route to a 28-point, 84-56 victory over the visitors Sunday afternoon in the KFC YUM! Center.
There were questions about how the Cards, and who among the Cards would try to end FSU's three-game win streak over Louisville. Jeff Walz answered one of those questions when he turned pout a starting line that was slightly altered from normal (with Mykasa Robinson getting the nod over Kianna Smith) and the two squads engaged in a close first quarter battle.
A Dana Evans three gave the Cards an early 9-6 lead four minutes into the contest. Shortly after that Kianna Smith entered the contest with Liz Dixon and sank her first attempt to push it to 11-6 Cards. FSU responded, though, with a 6-0 run, including two Bianca Jackson baskets to take a 12-11 lead. A three by Jackson gave the Noles a 15-13 lead and that turned out to be the last time FSU would have the lead in the quarter.
This one was starting out as a close back-and-forth fight in the first quarter. Kianna Smith responded to the Jackson's three with a three of her own just 12 seconds later and the teams ended the first ten minutes tied at 17-17.
The Cards actually trailed 20-19 after two minutes of play in the second quarter, but responded with three trifectas in a two-minutes stretch -- starting with Elizabeth Balogun's "make" and ending with two straight successful bombs from Smith and, suddenly, the score read Louisville 28 - FSU 20. A 9-0 scoring stretch from the Cards had FSU on their heels.
Louisville defense had held FSU to 1-7 shooting in those first five minutes of the second quarter and had dealt a blow that FSU would not recover from.
UofL was not done.
They controlled the rest of the quarter 14-11 and got a buzzer beating three from HaileyVan Lith to set the halftime score at 43-31 Cards. Louisville was six for nine from three point range in the first 20 minutes, shot an impressive 65.4% (17-26) from the floor and had 11 assists on those 17 baskets. Dana Evans never left the court in the first half and had nine points and three assists. Kianna Smith had 11 points with 4-5 shooting in 16 minutes (the ankle looked to be just fine) and three threes. And, FSU, the best free-throw shooting team in the ACC had only gone to the line six times -- making just three. The Dee Kanter led officiating crew had let the squad play, calling only nine first half fouls. Jackson and Morgan Jones were the only offensive threat for FSU, JAckson providing 12 of the duo's 20 points.
FSU was able to cut the Cards margin to ten after the first three minutes of the third quarter, but Louisville responded with a three minute, 8-2 run that featured four points from Olivia Cochran. The Cards pushed the lead to 64-45 with a minute left in the third after two Dixon free throws and the quarter ended that way. It was a quarter where Walz went deep into the bench -- Dana Evans saw just two minutes of third-quarter action -- and the fresh, rested Cards were rapidly wearing out the Noles, who were coming off a extended COVID pause and weren't a very deep team to begin with. A 21-14 quarter win for UofL and 7-14 from the floor, including two threes from Van Lith.
|"I'd like to get done with this one in time to|
catch the Bucs vs. Saints tonight, please."
Louisville continued to push the pace on FSU and the Noles never got within 21 points of the lead in the final ten minutes. Walz finally pulled all the starters but Robinson with three minutes to go and the Cards up 80-55 and Norika Konno, Merissah Russell, Ramani Parker and Ahlana Smith closed out the game -- Parker connecting twice in the paint to create the final 84-56 win.
THE FRED REPORT
|YABBA DABBA DOO! MOVING UP FROM #2!|
FREE THROWS -- Louisville went 9-10 (90%) from the line. Only four Cards attempted the charity tosses and Cochran's 4-4 were tops for the team. FSU was a surprisingly chilly 10-16 from the stripe. (62.5%). You know the routine...WHEN LOUISVILLE SHOOTS OVER 70%, WE AWARD THE CAPITAL "F".
REBOUNDING -- A nice surprise to see the Cards grab this important aspect of the game 38-25. Liz Dixon strengthened her status as "most improved Card" from lastt yeara with 10 grabs (a double-double for her with 10 points as well). They limited FSU to six offensive grabs and WE PROUDLY BESTOW A CAPITAL "R" FOR THE CARDS STRONG REBOUNDING EFFORT.
EFFORT/EXECUTION -- Consider that Louisville had just 11 turnovers on the afternoon and onlu one player had more than one. Consider the 22 assists on 32 made baskets (69%)! Consider the 35-3 bench scoring slaughter and add in 54.2% shooting for the game. It's clear the Cards came play, did it very efficiently and DEFINITELY EARNED A CAPITAL "E" FOR THE HUSTLE, ACCURACY AND PERFORMANCE.
DEFENSE -- FSU shot just 40% against the Cards and the Cards had five blocks and four steals. UofL forced 13 turnovers and completed the defensive stat sweep with a 29-19 advantage in defensive rebounds. A CAPITAL "D" DEFINITELY EARNED.
FINAL FRED TALLY: F-R-E-D
Team play, defense and great shooting got this twelfth win of the season for the Cards. Kianna Smith led all Cards with 16 points, followed by Hailey Van Lith's 15 and Olivia Cochran's 14 (in just 24 minutes). Dana reached double figures with 12 points and Liz ended with 10. All told, 11 Cards played, all but Konno and Russell scored -- Dixon's 0 grabs and Evans eight assists led the way in those two categories.
The blowout win, coupled with an overtime loss by #1 Stanford to Colorado, most likely will propel Louisville to the #1 spot in NCAA WBB when the next AP Poll comes out later today. Dana Evans , indicated that they squad did not know about the Stanford loss until after their game. How would Louisville celebrate the potential #1 ranking? She responded:
"We may celebrate in the gym during practice. We still got work to do"
That work continues Thursday night when Syracuse comes to town for a curious 9 p.m. tip. What, are we back in the days of C-USA and playing UAB? The target grows larger on the back of the Louisville WBB's jerseys, but it's hard to hit a moving target and the Cards never seem to slow down...
(THANKS TO JARED ANDERSON FOR TODAY'S PHOTOS)