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Monday, February 8, 2021

Cards WBB hang on to defeat Notre Dame 71-65 -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


In what was upset-filled Sunday of ACC women's basketball, Louisville held off a Notre Dame fourth-quarter comeback by getting a three from Dana Evans with 57 seconds to play... to stretch a one-point lead out to four and eventually get two Evans free throws to escape the KFC YUM! Center with a 71-65 win. 

We'll get to the "upsets" later in today's column, let's talk about Louisville narrowly avoiding one of their own. Notre Dame was the team that would not go away.

The Cards sometimes porous defense and shaky offense was largely responsible for allowing the Irish to erase a 64-54 Louisville lead with 6:50 to go in the game and go on a 9-2 run late and get within at 66-65 one when Dara Mabrey connected on a three with 1:41 to play. Another "check the blood pressure" moment when Maddy Westbeld stole the ball from Kianna Smith right after that basket, but, thankfully -- her layup came up short.  Evans "dagger" ensued and the Cards looked to be safe, after quite the scare. The final five points to Evans. 

Kianna Smith had a game-saving fourth quarter for Louisville as well...canning two threes to build the 10-point lead -- Liz Dixon was the only other Cards to score in a final quarter where Louisville managed just 13 points.  

It was a contest where the Cards would build leads that approached double digits or better and then watch as the Irish battled back.  It was also a contest where both teams shot under 40% and had double-digit turnovers. It was hardly a 40-minute work of art by either squad, but "most-points wins" and thanks to Evans huge night, 2912 fans left the KFC YUM! Center happy on Sunday. 

The first two quarters were "bookends" -- where the Cards scored 21 points in each and Notre Dame scored 17 each. That 42-34 halftime lead was created when Evans had the last five points again over the final 1:30 of play. Dana's 16 first half points led all scorers and Elizabeth Balogun added 10 in just 13 minutes of action.  A quiet first half for freshman Hailey Van Lith, Notre Dame had assigned junior Mabrey to guard her and held Van Lith to three first half points. That's what she would finish the game with, as well, in just 19 minutes. 

A win is a win, you know how the song goes, I know -- but the Cards weren't able to shut the door on the Irish after shoving them out on the porch last night. Notre Dame, it should be said, does have quite a bit of talent on their squad, they had four players finished with ten points each (Westbeld, Vaughn Brunelle and Miles) and Walker totaled nine. Miles, in particular, seemed to be able to get to the basket quite easily against the Cards and her six-point run, with three baskets, in just 90 seconds of the third quarter pulled the Irish back within two at 52-50. 


Fred Durst mirrors the way I felt after Sunday's game

FREE THROWS -- Louisville went 8-12 from the line and that equals 66.7%. Dana was OK with hers at 5-6 but no other Cardinal made more than one and five other players attempted them. 66.7% is below the 70% standard we set here for a letter, so no letter is awarded. 

REBOUNDING -- The Cards managed a 41-41 tie on grabs with UND and you can thank Cochran (11) and Robinson (8) for that. Robinson grabbed two crucial ones at the end of the game --  off missed UND shot attempts -- that denied second-chance opportunities, so hats off to her. ! can safely award a small-case "r" here for the tie. 

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- I wasn't thrilled with the 12 turnovers and seeing several leads throughout the game evaporate, but the Cards were not loafing around, it was more things weren't going their way. Interior passing still need to get better (Dixon and Cochran combined for just six points in 42 minutes) but Dana's heroics in the final minute, and all game were a joy to watch. I'll go with the small-case "e" here. 

DEFENSE -- Pluses were Kianna Smith's career-high five steals and Louisville eight blocked shots. The Cards also forced 13 turnovers. The "build a nice lead and watch it evaporate" scenario was troublesome, though. The defensive lapses were rough to watch at times and almost cost the Cards the game. I can't award a letter here. 



The Cards dodged another bullet on Sunday, some might say it was from their own pistol -- but ACC wins are rarely easy and when you're a top-five ranked team, that target is oh, so big.

Witness what happened to NC State yesterday. A fired up UNC squad took it to the WolfPack all game long and got the 76-69 win. The NCST loss drops them to 7-2 in conference play and 2.5 games back of Louisville in the standings. Wake Forest wanted in on the Sunday fun and had a bit of it with a somewhat surprising 61-52 win over third-place Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are now 9-3 in conference play.


I had a few readers compliment me and Jared for the "fun with pictures" segment we did a couple of games back, so here's another one.  Let's just call it "sitting comfortably" 

                                                     "I'm sitting down for awhile...."

                                                 "Ok, Kasa, I'll lay down !!"

                                                        "Hey, can I try?" 

                                                         "This IS fun, E !!" 

                                     "Hey, back to work! Look at what time it is !! " 

~~~~~(Photos by Jared Anderson today)~~~~~

Have a marvelous Monday



  1. Nice photos/comments, especially that last oneπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  2. Dana is "Ice Ice Baby".
    Loved her post game comment that she just "does what she does".
    Yeah. But we gotta stop depending on end of the game and Dana delivering daggers for victories.
    First quarter we let them get THREE run-outs simply beating us down the court because we didn't hustle back. Inexcusable.
    Outscored in the 4th AFTER leading by 10, inexcusable.
    We did do enough to win, but we definitely made it harder than it had to be.
    Glad Kianna wore the bun, she shot it well, O with the 11 boards was fantastic, E played a mostly solid game, of course Dana did what Dana does, but...most valuable minutes this game goes to Kasa. That girl is something else. Glad we had two announcers who know the game and pointed out ALL the little things she does.
    Dana is ACC AND National POY, Kasa is ACC defensive POY, easy choices in my book.

    1. She is the best player in the ACC, no matter what the ESPN announcers, ACC Network announcers or anyone else says. Dana delivers, the Cards are 18-1 and no one stops Dana.

      Nick O

    2. We had two of the best announcers yesterday, I thought they gave Dana ALL the props she deserved. Think it was Antonelli that put her in the top two with Boston of SC the other front runner.

    3. Deb always gives us props and is a big fan of Walz and the students, especially Dana. She's a font of knowledge and does her preparation work very thoroughly.


  3. Not nearly enough credit here given to Mikasa. We don't without her yesterday. Not a scorer, but a leader nonetheless.

  4. Kara is a facilitator and often goes unnoticed by the casual fan. Walz knows what he has though and she sees the minutes in crunch time.

    Blue Lou


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