STANFORD SECOND HALF SURGE SINKS CARDS
A tale of two halves last night in the AlamoDome.
The University of Louisville women's basketball squad was operating on all eight cylinders in the first half and getting great defense against the Stanford Cardinal. Dana Evans and Kianna Smith were leading the Cards to a 21-13 first quarter advantage and the Cards had pushed that lead to 38-26 at the half. The Cardinal defense had limited Tara VanDerveer's squad to 10-of 36 shooting and the Cardinal was one for nine from three point range. It a was all any Cardinals WBB fan could ask for and hope for -- those first twenty minutes.
Basketball is a 40 minute game, though, and the PAC 12, #1 seed in the Alamo Region assumed control in the final quarter.
They were greatly benefitted from a student-athlete who never saw the floor in the first half. Post Ashten Prechtel hit all six of her shots, totaled 16 points and led the Cardinal in a rally that saw them cut the Louisville lead to 50-48 after three quarters and obliterate the Cards in the final quarter 30-13 for the 15-point win.
Stanford put four in double figures, Prechtel was joined by Lexie Hull's 21 points, Kiana Williams' 14 and Haley Jones 10. Stanford shot 20-32 in the second half, made six out of eight three point attempts and won the rebounding battle 45-37.
What Jeff Walz said post game was true. The Stanford height and length wore Louisville down and Prechtel turned the game around for the Trees.
It ends the 2020-21 season for Louisville. It ends a stellar collegiate stay for Dana Evans, the senior guard led Louisville with 24 points, the only UofL player to reach double figures. Evans confirmed in post game remarks what we all knew -- that she was headed to the WNBA Draft and added that her time at Louisville was everything she could have asked for, except a National Championship.
A fire alarm continually going off and a recorded announcement to vacate the facility was an annoying rival of attention during Jeff Walz's post-game remarks. And, vacate the building, the bubble and San Antonio the Cards will, as Stanford advances to play South Carolina in the Final Four.
A painful loss and one that's hard to write about. But, I remain very proud of the Louisville squad and the 26-44 record they compiled. An ACC Regular Season Championship and bringing joy and excitement in this COVID-crazy basketball season. Evans departs, but all the other Cards return (as far as we know -- the transfer portal being what it is, it's hard to say just what will happen) and Walz has a strong nucleus to begin the 2021-22 season in the Smiths, Van Lith, Robinson, Dixon, Cochran, Balogun, Konno and two top-notch freshmen headed to the 'Ville in Payton Verhulst and Sydni Schetnan. Plus, potential transfer portal additions.
At the end, as the Cards huddled on the court post-game, Walz pointed to the other end of the floor where Stanford was celebrating. He told them to look at the celebration, and asked the squad if that's what they wanted to be doing this time next year. Louisville fans would like that just fine. Tomorrow's wishes begin today -- hopefully and eventually in front of a packed KFC YUM Center and no worries about distancing, masks and continuous sanitizing of surroundings.
A season to remember and I'll let you write your own final epitaph for your thoughts on a season like no other.
Let me know in the comments section. Reflect, remember, reminisce and rejoice if you want on a very good season that ended too soon.
As for me, I'll long remember the dedication, joy, hard work, excitement, love and effort Dana Evans gave us Cards fans. There will never be another Dana Evans, just like there will never be another Asia, Shoni, Angel, Myisha or Jaz for this program. The question is -- who's next to capture the hearts, love and minds of Louisville women's basketball. The future is bright for Louisville women's basketball, great things lie ahead. You win as a team, you lose as a team and this team brought a lot of joy to a lot of people.
Thank you, Dana. You made covering this season a joy for this old guy. Best of luck in the WNBA.
THE FRED REPORT
|This Fred's expression probably mirrors|
the feeling of a lot of UofL WBB fans
this morning over that second half.
FREE THROWS -- Once again, a wide disparity in teams getting to the charity stripe. The Cards couldn't get a call from a referee crew they'd never seen before. Stanford went 11-17 from the line, Louisville 1-4. Six total Stanford fouls in 40 minutes, 17 called on UofL. Dana Evans and Kasa Robinson the only Cards to reach the stripe. No letter for 25%, the discrepancy is appalling and shameful.
REBOUNDING -- Stanford controlled the boards in the second half and that eventually sank the Cards. 45-37 in favor of the Trees, it was 23-22 in favor of Louisville after 20 minutes. I've said here before that speed and quickness can overcome height -- sadly, I was proved wrong last night. No letter.
EFFORT/EXECUTION -- The numbers aren't all that bad for Louisville. 40.6% from the floor, just 10 turnovers and 10-19 from three point range. 63 points wouild normally translate into a Louisville win, but the Cards were defeat in two areas -- second chance points, which went in favor to Stanford 23-8 and points-in-the paint -- a 38-24 Stanford advantage. I'll give us a small-case "e" here, that first half was spectacular for Louisville, but Stanford's height and a super sub finally got the better of the Cards
DEFENSE -- Once aain, a tale of two halves. After a great UofL defensive effort in the firstt 20, where Stanford shot just 27.7%, they rallied for 20-32 shooting for 62.5% in the final twenty minutes. The fourth quarter was fatal for UofL, allowing 30 points and 10-13 Stanford shooting. No letter.
FINAL FRED TALLY: _-_-e-_
So, we now turn to the rest of the spring schedule here at Cardinal Couple. We hope you'll stay with us as we explore and laud the pursuits of Softball, Volleyball, Soccer, Lacrosse, Field Hockey and more.
We'll not abandon basketball completely -- monitoring and reporting on the off-season developments of Cardinals WBB as news comes up, but exciting things lie ahead for many other Louisville women's athletic squads and we'll be here to bring them to you.
We appreciate you, the reader. YOU are Cardinal Couple.