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Sunday, June 13, 2021

June Basketball? Yes, Please. - Sunday Cardinal Couple

 June Basketball

In addition to our regular summer updates on Cards in the WNBA, we get an additional, frenetic Basketball event to report on today.  The Red Bull USA Basketball 3x Nationals.

Red Bull USA Basketball 3x Nationals

If you've never watched International style 3v3 Basketball, you're in for a treat.  This is high paced, quick, flashy, and fun basketball with very few stoppages of plays.  And four of our favorite Cardinals are participating on a team.  Liz Dixon, Kianna Smith, Mykasa Robinson, and newcomer Payton Verhulst.

Yesterday's play in the event was pool play, with the Cards facing off against Force 10, Oregon, and Maryland.

The Cards emerged from pool play with a record of 2-1.  No real worries here as all of the teams from the pool play advanced to the tournament bracket today, with the pool results only determining seeding.  Where did  UofL end up in the seedings?  Your guess is as good as mine as three of the four teams in the pool ended up with records of 2-1, and the event uses FIBA tie-breaker formulas to decide.

What we do know is the UofL will be playing against the Midwest Money Makers at 10:05am in the quarterfinal round.  Semifinals would be at 12:35pm, or 1pm, with the Finals at 2:15pm.

In yesterday's play, the Cards started out playing Force 10 during the first part of the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast livestream.  The Cards were able to nearly continuously, but slowly, stretch out a lead against Force 10, winning at the 10 minutes of game play, 16-10.

Next up in the afternoon was Oregon, and this was a battle of two great 3v3 teams.  Tied at 12 after regulation, Oregon would go on to win the OT for a final score of 15-12.

The last game for the Cards was against Maryland.  I was working on a home project, and didn't tune into the game until about three minutes in with Maryland leading 10-1.  I saw a mind-blowing comeback happen in front of my eyes with Louisville winning it in the end, 20-18.

We don't have full stats for these games, and I would pity a stats crew trying to keep up with gameplay.  So some subjective impressions.

UofL only has two big offensive producers on this team, in Kianna Smith and Payton Verhulst.  Liz Dixon will produce if she gets a good possession close in to the basket, but that just doesn't happen all that often in a compact game like 3v3 basketball.  Mykasa Robinson did sink some shots, but she is still significantly a defensive player and distributor, but that can work in the 3v3 format.

Much of CardNation is probably interested in seeing Payton Verhulst in anticipation of her appearance on the KFC Yum! Center floor in the fall, and I'm delighted to say that I think you're going to like what you see.  She's a good shooter, dropping shots from beyond the arc, but also not afraid to body players up and use contact, a particularly important skill in 3v3.  She's quick, but wasn't just blowing past defenders like Kianna Smith was.  She did have a tendency to pick up her dribble without having a next step in the action ready, which is particularly problematic in 3v3.  In full court, you have four teammates who can work to create an option for you in this situation, in 3v3, you only have two options available so you generally want to have your outlet pass, or shot, lined up and ready to go before you stop your dribble.

If there's a star of the team, it's probably Kianna Smith.  She's burying "threes", blitzing past defenders on the drive and just generally doing it all.

And if you are going to tune in today, and you should, let's do a quick rundown of rules for the 3v3 form of the game.

It's played on a "half court", though it's really more like a third of a court.  A change of possession requires to the new team to take the ball out past the "three point arc" with no stoppage in play required.  A field goal scores a single point, a "three point" shot scores two points (thus the "sarcastic quotes" above), and a free throw still scores a single point.

The teams play for 10 minutes, or until a team reaches 21 points, whichever comes first.  Overtime is decided by the first team to score two points.  In the case of rare stoppages from foul shots or out of bounds, play is started, playground-ball-like, with the defensive player "checking" the ball at the top of the key to the offensive player.

There are, as the name implies, three players playing per side, with a roster of four, allowing for a substitute.  Teams will almost always cycle the substitute in for one of the players on the floor at every stoppage of play.

This form of basketball is loads of fun and I can't recommend that you tune in to this strongly enough.  The games in this event are available via Twitch at  Again, the Cards start play today at 10:05am against the Midwest Money Makers that went 0-3 in pool play vs Legacy, Kansas State, and NC State.


The Chicago Sky with Dana Evans were in action yesterday in Indianapolis against the Fever.  We think Cardinal Couple Writer Daryl Foust was in attendance, but never got confirmation of that.

Dana played just under 10 minutes of this game, got a three pointer and a pair of free throws for five points.  Also chalk up a pair of assists for a good contribution for a rookie.

I wasn't able to catch this one live, so no real subjective observations other than from the highlight clips, but the Sky look like a lot of fun to follow.  Candace Parker is back on the court and got a casual double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds.  Stef Dolson is also back from helping the US National Team qualify in the Olympics for 3v3 Basketball, and let's face it, "Big Momma Stef" is a always a joy to watch, on or off the court.  Add in the Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot, "How did she do that?" style of play, and how can you not love the Sky?

The rest of the Cards in the WNBA will be in action today.  Myisha Hines-Allen and the Washington Mystics will tip it off at 3:30pm against the Atlanta Dream.  This one is on NBA TV, Bally Sports South, or TSN2.

Kylee Shook, Jasmine Jones, and the New York Liberty will tip (with Shook almost certainly doing the actual tip) at 6pm with the Phoenix Mercury.  Catch this one on Bally Sports AZ+, Yes, or TSN2.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

The prodigal son has returned!  Case was back with the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast (which means it also got published to the usual podcast directories and feeds, which Case takes care of), along with myself, Jared, and Paulie.

Basketball was the subject of a lot of discussion with the 3x3 Nationals getting underway during the show.  We recapped the end of the WCWS which the Cardinal Couple crew all enjoyed in general, even without a great deal of UofL connection.  We did touch a bit on the iniquities between the WCWS and the CWS, because, well, the NCAA is still being the NCAA.  And another challenging Cardinal Couple quiz....Jared extended his win streak to three weeks in a row, barely edging out "Yours Truly" by a mere 10 points.   Check it out!



  1. 3x3 Cards looked good against the Midwest Money Makers in the win. That's some fast paced hoops. I was especially impressed with Dixon!

    Nick O

    1. I am really loving this format. It's so much fun.

      I was always a bit meh on Shoni Schimmel during her playing days relative to most fans, but she would've been right at home in this format.


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