LOUISVILLE 3X3 SQUAD FALLS IN USA BASKETBALL 3X3 SEMIFINALS
The joy and excitement of basketball in June that the gang here at Cardinal Couple has been reporting on over the last couple of days continued Sunday. The Cardinals squad of Liz Dixon, Kasa Robinson, Kianna Smith and Payton Verhulst reaching the semifinals of the Red Bull 2021 USA Basketball 3X3 Nationals yesterday.
A trip to the finals, though, was thwarted when the Cards went up against Force 10 on Sunday afternoon and fell 17-13 to the squad composed of four former collegiate and WNBA players in Cierra Burdick (Tennessee/Las Vegas Aces), Linnae Harper (Kentucky/Ohio St./Minnesota Lynx), Alexis Peterson (Syracuse/Seattle Storm) and Megan Huff (Hawaii/Utah/Las Vegas Aces.
The Cardinal contingent had defeated Force 10 on Saturday 16-10 in pool play but the Force squad turned the tables on the Cards Sunday. In the event's "different" scoring structure -- where a "3" is worth two points and a regular basket worth one point -- Liz Dixon and Kianna Smith led the way for the Cards in scoring. Smith finished with six points and Dixon five.
An impressive showing by the four Cardinals, who went 3-2 during the two days of action aat the Naismith Hall of Fame facility. Louisville defeated Maryland, the Midwest MoneyMakers and Force 10, while taking an overtime loss to Oregon and, ultimately the tournament champs...Force 10. .
It's probably way too early to accurately speculate how these Cardinals four will figure in to the 2021-22 UofL women's basketball squad...but one would think Smith and Robinson are prime contenders for starting roles and significant minutes, Dixon being part of a powerful post presence with Olivia Cochran and Verhulst seeing significant time at wing or guard. And Merissah Russell is competing for Canada in the FIBA Women's Americup 2021 -- she's just one of four collegiate players on the Canadian squad.
We'll see...Jeff Walz and the Louisville coaches have a roster of nine returnees from 2020-21 and four newcomers that will definitely compete for court time. The Cards could probably enter two squads in ACC play this next season and both would finish in the top three of the conference standings. Opposing coaches couldn't be blamed if they throw their hands up in the air in frustration when they try to figure out who to stop and key on int the Cardinal lineup.
I can't wait....how about you?
CARDS IN WNBA SUNDAY
Sunday WNBA action featured three former Cardinals in action with their two WNBA squads.
It was a puzzling drubbing administered to Myisha Hines-Allen's Washington Mystics yesterday by the Atlanta Dream. After a close first half, where the Dream held a narrow 51-49 lead, the wheels fell of the train for the DC squad and Atlanta put together a 50-29 second-half thumping of Washington to win 101-78 in "the ATL".
Dream guards Courtney Williams and Odyssey Sims combined for 41 points and the Mystics had a costly 17 turnovers in their worst loss of the season. Myisha led Washington in scoring with 16 points and had six rebounds for the Mystics, who fall to 4-6 with the road loss.
Meanwhile, it was a good start for the New York Liberty's west coast journey, knocking off the Phoenix Mercury 85-83 and the Cardinal greats had a great showing. Jazmine Jones had 16 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes for NYL, and she hit the go-ahead three-pointer with a minute to go to give the Libs the win. Kylee Shook had 10 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes
The Liberty got the win without Sabrina Ionescu, who is day-to-day with an ankle injury and did not see court time in Phoenix on Sunday. Hopefully she'll recover soon for the east coast squad....but here's hoping Jaz can continue to make the most out of Ionescu's absence.
Have a meaningful Monday and stay cool!