We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Track, Tennis, and Swimming Roundup -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Leon Sets School Record

With Louisville WBB on a typical Thursday-Sunday schedule, they've stayed out of the bounds of my columns recently. Fortunately, with some of the other winter and spring sports getting underway, I'm able to be kept busy. One of those sports is indoor track and field. After last week's successes in Birmingham, Louisville traveled to Blacksburg for the Hokie invitational.

Competition at the Virginia Tech meet is tough. There are still plenty of events today in the second and final day of the meet, but Louisville sits without a victory so far. Louisville saw most of its success in the pole vault, where Gabriela Leon and Auriane Viola both put in personal best jumps. Leon broke her own school record, but their jumps were good for only 3rd and 4th. No other Cardinal stepped on the podium yesterday, but Brooke Weimar (2), Synclair Savage, Rachel Darden, Morgan Bentley, and Zoe Yeast all earned personal bests in various events.

Day 2 of the event began at 9:00 AM so be sure to follow the Track and Field twitter account for live updates.

Tennis Wins Opening Double-Header

The Louisville women's tennis team opened their season with a pair of matches against Cincinnati and Marshall in the Bass-Rudd Tennis Complex. Louisville has typically seen success in their opening matches, performing very well before the rigors of conference play get the best of them. Yesterday, they opened the 2022 season 2-0 in non-conference play once more. We can only hope that this season is the year that they turn it around and carry their non-conference performance into the ACC season and make some noise with the talent on the roster.

The match against UC was decided early. Louisville won the doubles point and then went on to win the top-3 seeded singles matches in relatively quick fashion (6-2/6-1, 6-1/7-5, 6-1/6-2), giving them the four points required to win the match. UC won the 4- and 5-line matches with Louisville going to a tiebreaker in the final match to win it 3-6, 7-5, 10-8. With another match to play in the afternoon, I'm a bit surprised that the final match wasn't abandoned, given that the overall result was decided, but I can also understand wanting players to get their full first match in. Louisville won 5-2.

The match against Marshall was a bit more dicey, but Louisville managed to claim the 4-3 win. Despite the closer final score, Louisville secure the victory in the same number of matches: five. The Cards again won the doubles match, then won the 5, 2, and 6 slotted singles matches to earn their four points. Marshall's Emma Vanderheyden defeated Rhea Di Palma to make the score 3-1 before Louisville completed the victory, and the Herd won the two remaining matches. Though both the 3 and 4 spots were in tiebreakers, it appears that Louisville's Chelsea Sawyer was ready to be done with the long day, as her loss was marked as a retirement in the middle of the tiebreaker after the score had already been decided. 

The Cards will be back in action tomorrow when they take on Miami (OH) starting at 11.

Louisville Swimming and Diving Hosts Kentucky

After their big win over Indiana last week, there's no resting on their laurels for the Cards. Though the men's team is unranked, the 15th-ranked Louisville women will have their hands full with the 13th-ranked Wildcats. Both teams are coming off of victories, with Louisville upsetting Indiana and Kentucky taking care of business against Marshall. Kentucky's meet was just Wednesday, so they are on much less rest than Louisville.

Louisville will be led by Gabi Albiero, who has stood out as one who could be the next Cardinal great in the pool. Albiero was named the ACC Swimmer of the Week after her performance against Indiana. To remind you, she took two individual victories and was on two winning relay teams. Albiero's mark in total wins was matched by Riley Gaines, a Kentucky senior, on Wednesday when she won three individual events and a relay. 

Today's meet should be an exciting one, and Jared expects to be on site to cover it. The swimming events are set to begin at 1PM with diving going first at noon.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

It's a return to the good ol' days today with a two-man show. Paulie and Jeff will bring you all the news and notes, while recapping the ugly win over BC in a trap game and the even uglier collapse in Raleigh. The rest of us are out for various reasons as my basement floor undergoes a remodel, Jared rehearses to play some tunes, and Daryl has an appointment that cropped up right in the recording window. The show must go on, though, and Paulie and Jeff are well-accustomed to the setup. As always, you can check out the live stream of the show by going to the Cardinal Couple YouTube page and clicking on the live video. Jeff usually creates that about an hour before the show, which officially starts at 11 AM Eastern. If the live time doesn't work for you, there are plenty of playback options, so be sure to check out whichever is best for you!

Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link
Anchor (podcast host): Link
Apple Podcasts: Link
Breaker: Link
Google Podcasts: Link
Overcast (free account required): Link
Pocket Casts (free account and app required): Link
RadioPublic: Link
Spotify: Link

Until next time, Go Cards!

Friday, January 21, 2022

UofL WBB Epic meltdown vs NC State -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Good morning readers.   I really thought I would have a positive write up following the big to five matchup Thursday night.    In fact, I almost erased everything I had written in the first three quarters after what was an almost unexplainable fourth quarter meltdown.   I do believe, however, that the Cards will meet with the Wolfpack again this season, and then UofL can get their payback.  

Lets get right into it.  

Louisville WBB falls at NC State 68-59

Coming into this one, my hope was that the Cards would not come out slow in the first quarter.  That was not the case for the first quarter, instead, it was reserved for the final and arguably most important quarter. 

Olivia Cochran lead all scorers with 19 points on 8-12 shooting with 7 rebounds. Emily Engstler chipped in 15 and lead the rebounding campaign with 11 while Hailey Van Lith had 14 points.  The Cards shot 36% from the field, only landing 3 attempts from beyond the three point line. 

End of 1Q  18-15 Cards
FG %
9-19 47.4% Cards
6-12 50% NC St.
Reb. 10-7 NC St.
3-pt %
0-1 0% Cards
1-4 25% NC St.

With the Cards winning the opening tip, the offense shifted its gears scoring in the opening seconds when Hailey Van Lith drove to basket and missed but Olivia Cochran was there for the put back.   Nc State would respond when Raina Perez nailed the 3 pointer.  With 2 minutes off the clock, the turnovers would begin for the Wolfpack.  Kianna Smith would take advantage and hit the deep jumper to put the Cards back ahead 4-3.   NC State would turn it over again as the team transitioned back on offense, they fed the rock inside to Olivia, who was on Cunane for much of the first half.   Olivia drilled the 15 foot jumper to put the Cards up 6-5.  The first quarter was a competitive battle of back and forth offense.  NC St led the stat sheet but also had 5 turnovers which lead to six Cards points.  HVL went 2-7 for 4 points and took a lot of shots for cards.   Engstler and Cochran both had an efficient quarter going 3-5 from the field.  

End of 2Q  16-6 Cards

FG %
6-19 31.6% Cards
2-13 15.4% NC St.
Reb. 16-11 Cards
3-pt %
1-5 20% Cards
0-3 0% NC St. 

Louisville opens the quarter with a Kianna Smith layup putting the Cards ahead 20-15.  Up to this point, 16 of Cards 20 points were in the paint.   Payton Verhulst and Liz Dixon were first off the bench for the Cards.  Dixon disrupts the Wolfpack to lead to 7th turnover for NC St.  Olivia Cochran returns to the floor and gets the big block on Cunane.  Cunane was visibily disrupted by the Cards defense as her shot comes up short.  Cochran showed up huge in this match, grabbing the offensive rebound, passing it back out, before getting it back, scoring underneath scoring her 11th points of the game on 5-7 shooting as well as grabbing 4 rebounds. NC St takes a timeout with 6 minutes left in the quarter when cards go up 28-17 after cards go on 8-0 run.  UofL had scored 22-28 points in the paint with an 11-2 advantage in 2nd chance points.  Engstler lands the three to make it 31-17 cards.  NC State had 10 turnovers to the Cards' 3 going 1-11 while the Cards also went on a scoring drought to close the quarter.

HALF  34-21 Cards 

End of 3Q  17-16 Cards 

FG %
7-17 41.2% Cards
4-16 25% NC St. 
Reb. 12- 11 NC St. 
3-pt %
1-2 50% Cards
0-6 0% NC St.

Cunane was held to 2 points in the first half, but opens half to score, HVL responds with a mid range jumper and a 3 pointer to put cards up 39-23.  Cochran gets back to where she left off and hits the jumper for her 6th bucket and 13th points of the game.  Olivia continued her patient dominance under the basket in the next possession when she showed great maturity to let the defense come off its feet before she put it up and in.  The Cards found many ways to keep the pressure on the Wolfpack in the paint, Dixon delivers the back door cut to Kianna to put the Cards up 47-31.  NC St. goes almost six minutes without a fieldgoal to close out the quarter.  By this time, the Cards had made a strong case that they were in control of both the offense and the defense in this game... Emily had a highlight worthy pass to Ahlana Smith but the three pointer didnt fall. A. Smith finished 0-5 in 22 minutes on the floor.  The Cards entered the 4th quarter with a 14 point lead... 

End of 4Q 31-9 NC St. 

FG %
3-14 21.4% Cards
11-14 78.6% NC St. 
Reb. 9-5 NC St. 
3-pt %
1-5 20% Cards
5-6 83.3% NC St. 

And this is where it all fell apart. The lead for the Cards dwindled to single digits when Diamond Johnson lead the charge for the Wolfpack, hitting a 3 pointer to make it 53-44 with 7:53 left, the first single digit lead for the Cards since the 6:39 mark of the second quarter.   NC St would not slow up and the crowd was really urging their Wolkpack on, who went on a 10-2 run to make it 53-47.  Louisville was visibly rattled, struggling to keep possession of the ball or find a basket by this point and NC St. took advantage.  HVL couldn't score and the Cards turned it over on a shot clock violation followed by a few unforced turnovers when the Cards would just throw it out of bounds..  Walz asked the team to calm down during a timeout when they pull it within 53-52 but by this point, the Wolfpack had smelled blood.  I wish there were more UofL stats to report but unfortunately, it was all NC St.  as Jakia Brown Turner and Johnson took over the entire effort.  NC St. started the game 1-13 from 3 point land and went 5-6 in the fourth quarter.  

FINAL NC St. 68, Cards 59



Louisville vs Wake Forest 
Sunday 2 p.m.
@ Yum! Center


Fred Gwynne's expression 
                                         (from The Munsters) mirrors the Cards fourth quarter


FREE THROWS --  The Cards went 7-12 st the line which only 58% efficiency at the line.   The refs called a tighter game in the second half, putting NC State at the line alot.  Olivia lead the squad goiing 3-4 at the line.  lower case f

REBOUNDING --  Louisville was outrebounded 42-39, but the Cards did lead the offensive rebounding category grabbing 18 of them for 19 second chance points.  Englster lead UofL with 11 rebounds. lower case r 

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- I kind of just want to scream on this section of the report... it is amazing how three whole quarters of quality execution can be blown in the final 10 minutes of play.  The Cards managing only 4 buckets in the fourth is a giant question mark for me and will lead me into the final section of the report...  lower case e 

DEFENSE --  There was a reason Coach Walz was ready to leave by half time, I suppose, as the nations second leading offense came out of the break to score 47 points in the second half after scoring only 21 in the first.  The Wolfpack scored 5 of their 6 three pointers in the fourth quarter and shot 42% from the field.  What looked to be a stellar defensive performance for the Cards diminished and sent the Cards home with their second loss of the season.   no letter. 



Cardinal Couple Radio - The original "gang of two" at Cardinal Couple (Paul and Jeff) will lead the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour this weekend as the rest of the gang has some 'life stuff' to deal with Saturday AM.  



As always 

Go Cards! 



Thursday, January 20, 2022


 Louisville Visits NC State in Top Five Match-up

One of the biggest games of the NCAA Women's Basketball season happens tonight as #3 Louisville and #4 NC State gear up to decide who the top team in the ACC is. The rankings listed reflect the AP Poll.

I'm going to try a different format for game previews that should be simpler to follow so let's see how this goes.

Teams: #3 Louisville vs #4 NC State

Records: Louisville (15-1, 5-0 ACC), NC State (16-2, 7-0 ACC)

Where: Reynolds Coliseum, Raleigh, N.C.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET (assuming we don't run into a RAIN delay in a basketball game- looking at you, KFC Yum! Center and UofL men's basketball)


Radio: 790-AM WKRD

Head-to-Head Record: Louisville leads 8-5

Coaches: Jeff Walz, 15th season as Louisville head coach

                Wes Moore, 9th season as NC State head coach

Key Players: Louisville: Kianna Smith (12.2 ppg), Hailey Van Lith (11.9 ppg), Emily Engstler (10.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.8 steals per game)

                     NC State: Elissa Cunane (14.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg), Diamond Johnson (12.0 ppg), Raina Perez (8.8 ppg, 3.2 assists per game)

This is a game that has been circled on everyone's calendar since the schedule was released. Stacking up with Kentucky and UConn (prior to Paige Bueckers' injury), this should be considered one of Louisville's top three games this year.

Louisville and NC State has become one of the top rivalries in both the ACC and NCAA in women's basketball since the Cards joined the ACC. The Wolfpack won the first two meetings in 1985 and 2004, but the Cards have owned the series since then. During the Asia Durr era, Louisville won six straight meetings, including a 92-62 victory when Durr exploded for 47 points.

The emergence of Elissa Cunane has helped NC State bring a little balance to the rivalry by winning the last two games. The 6'5 center, who is one of the best players in the country, has proven to be a challenge for UofL in the post in recent match-ups. Her return from injury in the Feb. 1, 2021 proved to be the difference maker.

The two powerhouses last met in the ACC Championship last season. It came down to the final couple seconds when Perez heaved up a prayer that went in when 0:02 remaining to take a two-point lead.

As a team, NC State is averaging an incredible 79.7 ppg, giving them a +22.9 point advantage per game. They shoot over 40% from three-point range while knocking down 8.5 of them per game. The Wolfpack also limits their turnovers with just under 13 per game while forcing opponents into 16 turnovers per game.

Louisville has a fantastic defense. Minus a couple of games, they've been able to shut down opponents and the defense has propelled them to most of their wins. The Cards have finally started to find some offensive rhythm. Hailey Van Lith and Kianna Smith both seem to be seeing the basket well right now. This has opened up the inside game for Emily Engstler and Olivia Cochran to become more of a threat.


However, Engstler's emotions have raised concerns lately. As we have mentioned before, Engstler plays with a lot of passion and heart, but wears her emotions on her sleeve and isn't afraid to bicker with the officials, something that the stripes hate. Engstler had technical fouls called on her in back-to-back games with Jeff Walz earning himself a tech in the game prior to those two, giving the Cards a three-game streak in early January with a technical called.

Olivia Cochran and Mykasa Robinson each received a technical foul against Kentucky while Chelsie Hall received one against Michigan. The combined six technical fouls is 16 total games for the Cards is a high number.

So, what are the keys to the game for a Louisville win?

-- Contain Elissa Cunane. No one is going to silence her from the stat sheet entirely, but limiting her touches and open looks near the basket is a start. Keep a body on the senior center after every shot.

-- Control emotions. Playing with a fire under your belt and plenty of passion is good, but keep emotions under control. Anything that can result in a free shots for NC State is not good here. We have a better chance of Jeff McAdams going back to a gas-powered car before we find good women's basketball officials, but the whistles cannot get into Louisville's head.

-- Trust the game plan and scouting report. How many times have we heard Jeff Walz praise the scouting report and the game plan, giving that credit for a win? The entire coaching staff has sleepless nights watching film to look for weaknesses to expose opposing teams. They do a great job at it. They'll come up with a game plan to execute that. Even if it doesn't reflect on the court immediately, be patient and trust it.

Happy Thursday and Go Cards!


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Cards, Cats tie in Women's Golf -- Caroline Blalock gets All-American Honors -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


The University of Louisville began their spring season with a 4-4 tie against Kentucky in Naples, FL the Battle of the Bluegrass. 

Since Louisville won the last head-to-head meeting between the two, they'll retain the Battle of the Bluegrass Cup. Club Pelican Bay Golf Club in Naples, FL was the host for the event.

Mairead Martin, Carmen Griffiths, Gabbi Bentancourt and Carly Haines won their individual matches against UK golfers. The Cars were down 4-3 in the match, awaiting the outcome of Haines match against Ryan Bender and the match was still even after 18 holes -- so it went to extra holes. Haines won the match on the 20th hole and created the tie between the two squads.

The Cards entered the spring season ranked as the 32nd. team in DI and will resume the spring season on Feb 29th. when they travel to Duran Golf Club in Melbourne, FL for the Moon Golf Invitational.


Louisville Lacrosse graduate-student/midfielder Caroline Blalock has been named to the Inside Lacrosse All-American squad. It's the second year in a row the five-year captain has been honored with the award. Caroline and her twin sister Sarah are the only graduate students on the squad and have been on the squad since head coach Scott Teeter arrived at Louisville.

Caroline led the team last season in assists, ground balls, forced turnovers and was second in scoring for the 5-11 Cards. 

She's from Ellicott City, MD --which has the oldest standing train station in the country -- constructed in 1830 for the B&O Railroad. 

Louisville Lax begins the 2022 season on the road with games at Colorado on Friday, Feb 11th and at Denver on Sunday, Feb 13th. The home slate begins Friday, Feb 18th hosting Marquette. 

Jared will get you ready tomorrow for WBB's big game against NCST.Thursday.


Tuesday, January 18, 2022


It has been all quiet on the Cardinal front other than women's basketball in the middle of their season. The Cards are fresh off a road win against Boston College over the weekend and gear up to take on #4 NC State in Raleigh on Thursday. Road wins are important when it comes to conference play and road wins against ranked opponents are even more crucial when it comes to the NCAA Tournament resume.

Louisville has started ACC play hot, going 5-0 with three home wins and two road wins that are highlighted by a win at a ranked Georgia Tech team. The wins have come against 8-8 Syracuse, 10-7 Pittsburgh, 13-4 Georgia Tech, and 12-5 Boston College (twice).

Between games getting rescheduled and whatnot, the ACC standings look a little funky.

7-0 NC State

5-0 Louisville

4-1 Notre Dame

4-1 Virginia Tech

4-2 North Carolina

4-2 Georgia Tech

3-3 Boston College

2-2 Miami

2-3 Duke

2-5 Wake Forest

1-3 Florida State

1-5 Pittsburgh

1-5 Syracuse

0-3 Virginia

0-5 Clemson

The Cards and Wolfpack remain the only undefeated teams in the ACC. That will change when the two leaders meet up.

Notre Dame is quickly back near the top of the conference after just a couple down seasons following a coaching change. Virginia Tech is a team that typically hangs around the top of the conference but is known to falter down the stretch. Perhaps this is the year Kenny Brooks and company will finish strong. North Carolina has also looked impressive so far with their two losses coming to NC State and Notre Dame. Georgia Tech is the final four-win team and have proven to be one of the best in the country based off their defense alone.

Boston College has shown signs of being a good team with the duo of Soule and Swartz, but still has a hump to get over. Miami is sitting middle of the pack too and has been a team that can beat the top dogs at times but will then drop a game they shouldn't, historically. Duke is riding on new coach Kara Lawson and several new players, including former Card Elizabeth Balogun, who is averaging 10.9 ppg.. They started hot before losing four of their last six games.

Wake Forest is one of four teams with five losses this year, but is the only of those teams to have multiple wins so far. Based off win percentage, Jen Hoover's team sits about half a game ahead of Florida State, who has surprisingly struggled this year with Coach Semrau back at the helm.

Pittsburgh is down near the bottom, and after their game against the Cards on Jan. 6, it's easy to see why. Syracuse, who is running on a new coach and a mostly new team, has struggled quite a bit this season, as their record has shown, but they have good reason to struggle this year. Virginia has only played three conference games due to COVID-19 issues and is having a downright awful year. Clemson is the other winless team in the ACC but with two more losses than Virginia. Sorry, Arthur, but your Tigers are on pace for a third straight losing season and don't have much fight left in them.

It looks like the ACC regular season title will come down to either Louisville or NC State. Still, you have about four other teams that could sneak into one of the top two spots. If a team does sneak into one of those spots I would put my money on Georgia Tech or Notre Dame.  North Carolina continues to surprise, though, yes, NC State throttled them pretty easily when they met, but Courtney Banghart has developed some very good talent.  

If the NCAA Tournament started today, roughly nine or 10 teams from the ACC would make it, making this an up year for the ACC. Personally, I'm all for it. Unlike football, women's basketball in this conference is strong and ready to dominate.

After a road game this Thursday, the Cards close out January with three straight home games.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!

Monday, January 17, 2022




A day today where we remember the works and efforts of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr and his works and efforts to battle racial discrimination and injustice in our nation. One of the early pioneers in the civil rights movement, King strove to make America an equal land of opportunity for all. Besides looking at today a just a national holiday, let us never forget his efforts to battle injustice. 


What a difference a quarter can make. 

Louisville women's basketball stumbled out of the gate in the first quarter Sunday afternoon against Boston College as if they'd had one too many at Roxanne's on Beacon Street Saturday night. I'll call it the worst quarter of the season for the #2/3 team in NCAA DI WBB, and I'd dare you over a shot of Jameson's to find one worse. The Cards trailed the Eagles 20-10 and were allowing way too many Boston easy baskets and shooting just 33% from the floor. 

If the Cards are known as one of the best defensive teams in the country, it was way overdue in displaying that in the Conte Forum. So, Jeff Walz decided to go "small" (without Olivia Cochran or Liz Dixon on the court and try to convince his troops to pick up the man-to-man defensive pressure. 

And, the strategy worked.  The Cards went on a 11-1 run in the first four minutes of the second session, and a Hailey Van Lith jumper tied the contest at 21-21. The Cards were not through yet, either. They soared to a 30-23 lead after another Van Lith jumper, and had pulled off a 20-3 run on their hosts, forcing nine Eagles turnovers in the quarter and just 20%.shooting.  When the halftime buzzer sounded, it was 32-25 Louisville and the Eagles players were probably wondering if anyone caught the license plate number of the truck that has just hit them. A 22-5 Cardinals quarter. 

A quarter where Hailey Van Lith had six points and Ahlana Smith came off the bench for five of her seven points. 

Credit the Eagles for going in at halftime and gathering their wits somewhat. And credit Louisville for not relapsing into their first quarter ways. The Cards would build their lead to 12 in the quarter, and see it shrink to four. A strange turn-of-events with two seconds left in the third, when a technical foul was called on BC's Jaelyn Batts for running out onto the court from the bench in celebration after the Eagles came up with a loose ball. Van Lith sank the ensuing two free throws and the Cards held a 48-39 lead after three quarters. 

Boston College would never get closer than nine points in the final quarter and Louisville led by 15 at 62-47 with 1:04 to play after a Kianna Smith jumper. A 63-53 win for Louisville, one where they outscored BC 53-33 in the final 30 minutes of the game, 

An unexpected 21 turnovers for the Cards and Boston College did get 10 steals. But, BC shot just 38% from the floor, despite Taylor Soule's heroics with 17 points. 34 combined points from Kianna Smith and Hailey Van Lith sends Louisville to 15-1 overall and 5-0 in the ACC. Van Lith and Smith got scoring support from Cochran (8 points), Ahlana Smith (7 points) and Kasa Robinson (6 points). Emily Engstler was limited to four points but had six steals and seven rebounds.

It wasn't a classic nor very pretty at times. but Louisville did overcome the sluggish, staggering start and remains tied for the lead in the ACC with NC State, who rolled Duke 84-60 on Sunday.


The late Sen. Fred Thompson's expression
probably mirrors how most Cardinal fans felt
after the first quarter of this one... 

Free Throws --  7 for 11 from the line for Louisville, a 63.8% effort for Louisville which doesn't quite meet our 70% standard to earn a letter. only four Cards attempted them, and only Olivia Cochran was perfect from the stripe. NO LETTER HERE. 

Rebounding -- Louisville won the battle of the boards 38-36. Engstler led the Cards with seven in 24 minutes, An interesting stat where 11 Cards rebounds were credited to "TEAM".and I'm not sure why so many went undesignated to a player.  BC had nine team rebounds.  But,, not bad for Louisville, in a game where the Cards played "small ball" quite a bit and Cochran and Dixon played just 26 of the 200 total minutes. CAPITAL "R" HERE.

Effort/Execution -- The Cards had 13 assists on 26 made baskets (Kasa Robinson 4 but she lead Louisville in turnovers with five) and did a much better job moving and throwing the ball accurately after that horrendous first 10 minutes. But, those first ten minutes would have sunk a lesser team for the game. I liked the way the Cards battled back, but 22 fouls are a bit too high, so I can only award a lowercase "e" here. 

Defense  -- Defense got Louisville back into this one and ultimately helped them win the game. BC was 2-15 from three-point range and had 24 turnovers. The Cards got 10 steals and had four blocks. I'll award the CAPITAL D" -- they did hold Boston College to 53 points and just five second chance points.  


I've said it before and I'll say it again, road wins in the ACC are worth their weight in gold and this was a much improved Boston College team from the one Louisville played on Dec 30th. But, if the Cards start out this poorly at NC State on Thursday, they'll lose by double digits. Louisville didn't panic, slowly and methodically worked their way back into this one and pulled away. What is sad is that barely over a 1000 attended this one?. Maybe the city was still in a post-game New England Patriots depression and hangover after they got throttled by the Bills, but the Eagles are only drawing in and averaging a little short of 800 per game this year. 

Nevertheless, the Cards roll on and let's hope they got home without too many problems, based on the wicked weather headed Massachusetts way Sunday evening. The big one awaits Thursday, in Raleigh, a battle of two top-five teams. Cards and Wolfpack.


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Basketball on a Hill - Sunday Cardinal Couple


There was a basketball game yesterday, but that's a bit outside of our normal coverage here on Cardinal Couple.  There was a good bit of fun with a Cardinal Couple favorite in anticipation of it, so an opportunity to share it.

Lucius "Too Tall" Winston with Emina Ekic:

Yes, the Harlem Globetrotters were in town yesterday with a game at the KFC Yum! Center.  You were thinking of another game, perhaps?  In the lead-up to it, Racing Louisville attacker, and former UofL Soccer player Emina Ekic matched up with "Too Tall" in a game of Horse.  Ekic showed off some of her skills, both with her feet, and on the hardwood, demonstrating that she does have a bit of shooting range in the process.  No results are available, but presumably the Globetrotters were victorious over the Washington Generals.

But back in our wheelhouse, the Louisville women's basketball team has made the trip to Chestnut Hill, arriving safely and ducking a bit of incoming winter weather while they're at it.

The Cards and the Eagles will match up today at noon.  The Eagles are currently about mid-pack in the ACC, though with the conference season as young as it is, there's still plenty of time for some re-arranging of the standings.

At 12-4, 3-2 in conference, the Eagles aren't quite in the discussion for "Best Team in the Nation", but they are showing some respectable numbers.  Losses are to cross-town Boston University, VCU, a then undefeated UNC team, and of course, the earlier meeting of the Cards and Eagles here in Louisville.  Notable wins are in-conference with solid victories over Syracuse, Clemson, and Pitt.

In the previous matchup with Louisville, the leading scorers for the Eagles were Taylor Soule, Cameron Swartz, and Maria Gakdeng.  The Cards should also be wary of Makayla Dickens and Marnelle Garraud as high point producers, though they weren't much of a factor in the first meeting. Cameron Swartz went off for 39 a few games back at Clemson. It'd be surprising if she duplicates that today against UofL.  

BC did play the Cards competitively in the first quarter of the previous matchup, with a score of 12-11 after the first 10 minute segment.  It didn't last, though, with the Cards holding Boston College to 13 or less in each of the quarters of the game, while the UofL production climbed to 20 or more each of quarters after the first.

The paint play should be interesting, both Maria Gakdeng and Olivia Cochran are listed at 6'3", and similar builds.  Beyond that, Soule and Swartz line up at 5'11", Dickens measures up at 5'8", and Garraud at 5'7".

Garraud, Dickens, and Swartz are the only significant three point threats on the team.

The big question of the day will be the Louisville defense.  Highly touted all year, it all but vanished in the return from the Covid pause.  While the offense took a big step forward, hopefully we can finally see the Cards perform well on both ends of the court today.

The game will tip-off at noon, and is on the linear ACC Network today.  Of course, if you want to catch it via streaming, that's available as well.  ESPN's site doesn't have commentator names listed for the game, yet, so that will be a game-time discovery for us all. Nick and AJ have the call on Cards Radio  WKRD 790 AM.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

A real treat for the CCRHP yesterday, with all five of the regular crew able to come together for the show.

It was a basketball heavy show, as you might expect, though some mention was made of track and field as they pursue their indoor season, and swimming in their dual meet against Indiana.

The show is available via Youtube as normal:

but you can also check out the lightly edited version at:

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Successful Days in the Pool and On Track -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Swimming Defeats 10th-Ranked Indiana

There's been quite a bit to talk about with the other primary sports this season, so some of the more off-the-beaten-path sports have taken a back seat. With only swimming and track in action yesterday, they'll take the spotlight in today's column. Yesterday saw a major top-15 dual meet with Louisville heading up to Bloomington as the 11th (men's) and 15th (women's) ranked squads in the country to take on the 5th and 10th ranked teams from IU. While the men were roundly rebuked for their efforts (95-208), the women's team came away with the upset, winning 182-118.

The Cards came away with 10 event wins in total and had five different swimmers win individual events. Gabi Albiero (hey, that's a familiar last name) led the way with four wins as she took the 50 Free and 100 Butterfly and swam on the teams that won the 200 Medley Relay and 400 Free Relay. On the distance side, Liberty Williams won both distance events and set a school record in the 1000 in the process. Abby Hay won the 200 Fly and the 400 Individual Medley, and Arina Openysheva took the 100 Free. In a rocket start to her collegiate swimming career, Rye Ulett beat her sister Tristen by 0.21 seconds to win the 100 Back. 

In addition to winning the events and the meet, Louisville swimmers set 17 B-cut times and an A-cut time in the 400 Free Relay. Those times will put Louisville swimmers in positions to swim for titles later in the season, so they're important to grab at meets like the one yesterday. Louisville women's swimmers were on fire collectively, and it's good to see positive energy feeding off of itself in that way to elevate everyone. The Cards will host Kentucky in the Ralph Wright Natatorium next Saturday starting at 1PM.

Indoor Track Sees Five Wins and 20 PBs

After opening the indoor season in downtown Louisville, the Cardinal track and field teams headed down to Birmingham for the Blazer Invitational. The event played host to athletes from all sorts of collegiate teams, and Louisville was one of the more successful teams overall. The men's team saw three victories with two for the women.

One of those victories, perhaps unsurprisingly, went to Gabriela Leon in the pole vault. She had to go to a jump-off to secure the victory, but she's made a habit of winning that event. The other win was quite the different story. In her debut in the high jump, Styliana Ioannidou set a mark that tied the fifth all-time jump in program history and took the win. Quite a day for debuts between Ioannidou and Ulett in swimming. 

In addition to the victories, Louisville got podiums from Katie Martin (2nd, 500m) and Aliyah Welter (3rd, pole vault). Individually, the meet brought personal bests for Je'Nyia Burton, Taylor Boggess, Katie Martin, Styliana Ioannidou, Soledad Jean, Claire Bushur, Katherine Coffey, and Zoe Yeast. In a meet that brought personal bests in positions as far down as 16th, it was clear that Louisville was up against stiff competition, and that makes their winning and podium performances even more impressive. 

Louisville will get back into a sports complex next weekend in Blacksburg when they're hosted by Virginia Tech at the Hokie Invitational.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Could it be? Will we really get all five panelists back on board on the CCRH Podcast for the first time in months? You'll have to tune in for yourself to find out. We'll cover the return to action for the women's basketball team and what to expect in the upcoming weeks. Plus bracketology, engagements, and more. As always, you can check out the live stream of the show by going to the Cardinal Couple YouTube page and clicking on the live video. Jeff usually creates that about an hour before the show, which officially starts at 11 AM Eastern. If the live time doesn't work for you, there are plenty of playback options, so be sure to check out whichever is best for you!

Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link
Anchor (podcast host): Link
Apple Podcasts: Link
Breaker: Link
Google Podcasts: Link
Overcast (free account required): Link
Pocket Casts (free account and app required): Link
RadioPublic: Link
Spotify: Link

Until next time, Go Cards!

Friday, January 14, 2022

WBB wins 84-71 over the Orange -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


 Happy Friday morning to all !

Photo: Jared Anderson

Louisville WBB moves to 14-1 on the season, 4-0 in ACC play after a 5 day COVID pause.  UofL returned to the hardwood to face familiar ACC foe, Syracuse on Thursday evening. The Cards won the opening tip and immediately turned on the jets but Syracuse would not make it easy for the Cards as the Orange impressively operated with only six players.   

This game had a lot of great drama but I will admit, I was still not comfortable with 1:00 min left on the clock for the game.  This had the potential to be a bad loss for Louisville.. one that the tournament committee would've really knocked the squad for.   Luckily a huge back half of the fourth quarter from the Louisville starters pushed the Cards to victory and back on the quest for a national championship.  

UofL was lead by Kianna Smith and Hailey Van Lith's 20 points each.  Emily Engstler also led the charge putting 15 points and 8 rebounds on her former squad. 


End of 1Q 23-18 Cards
FG %
10-20 50% Cards
8-16 50% Cuse
Reb. 10-8 Cards
3-pt %
1-4 25% Cards
2-4 50% Cuse
                                                                         Photo: Jared Anderson

Chelsie Hall grabbed 2 offensive rebounds and a steal, the guard's presence immediately felt on the floor in the opening possession.  Cards defense pressed harder, as Emily Engstler gets a steal at the right from her former squad to Hailey Van Lith for the layup in transition.  HVL follows that with a three pointer after Cards absorb the offensive foul. Kianna Smith goes for the 2 point floater,  Emily grabs the rebound off of a Syracuse miss and then Olivia Cochran shakes off a defender to put it up and in and make it 9-5 Cardinals.

 At the media time out, UofL was shooting 45% on 5-11 attempts while 'Cuse managed to shoot 57% on 4-7.  Syracuse also leading from beyond the arc at this point Cards going 1-4 and 'Cuse 1-2.  The Cards were up 11-9 with five of their points coming off of 3 Orange turnovers and used a 4-2 run to make it 15-11, before forcing another turnover.  With 3:39 left in the quarter, Liz Dixon comes up empty on good look under the basket as well as the second chance attempt.  With the teams trading baskets, Emily goes to the rim to make it 17-13.  A travel turnover by Dixon on a pass to her underneath would be back to back bad possesions for Liz.  Notable, she was also wearing-ish a mask for the game.  Coach Walz takes Liz, HVL and Hall out of the game and puts Olivia back in as well as Payton Verhulst and Mykasa Robinson.   HVL was 4-5 to open the game with 9 points in 9 minutes. 

End of 2Q  17-17 All

FG %
8-16 50% Cards
4-12 33% Cuse
Reb. 9-7 Cards 
3-pt %
1-4 25% Cards
1-4 25% Cuse

                 Photo: Jared Anderson

A minute into the second quarter and Mykasa Robinson was taking the charge.  Literally.  She drove to the basket, missed it but Verhulst followed it up for the second chance points and then she was taking the offensive foul to give the Cards the ball back as HVL knocked down the jumper to make it 27-20 Cards. With 5 min left in the half, the quarter was tied 8-8 with UofL still up 31-26.. but the Cards did go cold for almost 3 minutes.  With 3:30 left in the half, several baskets were exchanged before the Cards pushed it to an 11 point lead before Engstler commits the foul and recieves a technical - Cuse gets the 4 points at the line to make it 40-33 with a minute left and Cuse gets the ball.  The Orange take advantage as the clock winds down to the break,  Hall and Dixon miss their 2 final attempts to finish the quarter with the Cards lead 40-35.  Cuse finish the half on a 6-0 run over 1:11 span of time. 

HALF 40-35 Cards 

End of 3Q 21-19 Cuse 

FG %
8-14 57% Cards
8-12 67% Cuse
Reb. 4-8 Cuse 
3-pt %
1-5 20% Cards
4-6 67% Cuse

                                                                           Photo: Jared Anderson

Kianna Smith opened the half with a 3-pointer but two UofL turnovers allowed Syracuse to pull it within 4.  The Cards offense went on another cold streak until Cochran scores on back to back baskets makes it 47-42 before the media time-out with 5 min in quarter.  Dixon and Engstler go for back to back baskets underneath to make it 53-46.  But Syracuse was not going away... in fact, they turned it up.  They went on a run of their own to make it 53-51 before K.Smith slashed to the bucket for jumper to make it 55-51.  A 'Cuse 3-pointer would pull the Orange to within one, 55-54.  HVL missed the 3 point attempt and Cuse drives for the go ahead layup 56-55. 

Tensions grew as Engstler blocked a 3 point attempt and gets fouled, making both attempts to take the lead back for the Cards, 57-56.  Kianna Smith lead the quarter for the Cards with 7 pts going 3-6 from the field, Hyman leading the charge for the Cuse having a 9 point quarter of her own going 4-5 from the field.

End of 4Q  25-15 Cards 

FG %
8-16 50% Cards
6-14 42.9% Cuse
Reb. 8 All 
3-pt %
4-4 100% Cards
 1-3 33.3% Cuse

 It was sloppy to open the quarter but the Cards would not be intimidated.   Kianna Smith  hit the 3, her third of the night to push it to 62-58.  Both squads trade turnovers as Engstler attempted the pass to Olivia but it went right off her fingertips and out of bounds.   By this point, Cuse finds a way to get to line again, now 11-14 FT attempts compared to the Cards' 4-5 attempts.  With 8 min left in game,  the Orange ties it up 62 all on a fade away jumper while Cochran airballs it at other end.  The Cards again went scoreless for another 2:45 stretch with just 6 min left in the game.

Kianna Smith again comes in clutch with her second 3 pointer of the quarter.  HVL gets her 2nd 3 pointer of the game and the Cards are up 68-64 with 5 min left in the game.  The Cards dominated points in the paint 38-18 by this point in the game.  HVL does 4th quarter HVL things and drives to the basket to push it 70-66 in favor of UofL.  The Cards defense forces shot clock violation with 3:45 left in game but then commits a shock clock violation of their own when HVL couldn't connect.   Luckily, UofL gets the ball back when Syracuse cant inbound correctly and that's when Walz breaks out the dry erase board with 3:10 left.  Kasa comes out and takes the charge, HVL dishes it to Kasa underneath to make it 79-68, just like Walz drew it up, I am sure!  But a three pointer by Syracuse's Carr with 45 second left make you think there's a chance..?  Her basket made it 79-71 Cards but former Orange forward and regular three point threat, Emily Engstler responds with one of her own to make it 82-71 with 35 seconds left.   UofL finished the game on a 22-9 run to seal the victory at home.



Louisville AT Boston College
Sunday, January 16th at 12 p.m. 

Nightmare on Main Street avoided
thanks to Hailey and Kianna


FREE THROWS --  The Cards were losing the battle at the free throw line 4-5 compared to Cuse' 11-14 attempts early in the 4th quarter before the Cards went 5-5 to finish out the game 9-10 overall.  It always amazes me how the whistle seems to disappear when a team is operating off of a short roster.  The Cuse didn't experience foul trouble in this one, Cards were successful when they got to the line.  CAPITAL F

REBOUNDING --  The Cards and Cuse matched for 31 rebounds each.  UofL was outrebounded 22-20 on the defensive glass, behind the effort of Engstler's 8 boards.   It worked out for the Cards this time but I'm afraid of future matchup issues if the Cards cannot get more scoring opportunities than their opponents.  lower case r

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- Louisville forced 20 turnovers, including 11 steals. 24 points came off of turnovers.  Engstler received a technical after committing a personal foul which gave Syracuse 3 free points and the ball and allowed the Orange to make it close before halftime.  Word on the Cardinal Couple street is that she was also pretty emotional while resting on the bench. CAPITAL E 

DEFENSE -- Syracuse tied it up 62 all in the 4th quarter before Walz put the starters back in.  Kianna Smith and HVL both hit 3 pointers to put the Cards ahead for good but this was a scary match for the #2 Cards pretty much the whole way.   The team could be coming off of COVID affects and just winded easier which allowed Cuse attempt to come back late in both halves, but we hope it was just a little rust the team was able to work through to seal the victory. lower case d 


Cardinal Couple Radio - As far as I know, we have a full house scheduled for the Cardinal Couple Saturday Radio Hour!  The gang will have much to catch up on. 



As always 

Go Cards!