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!!

Monday, January 31, 2022




The Cards put three in double figures, led by Hailey Van Lith and her five threes, got a huge 13 points off the bench from freshman Payton Verhulst and held off a determined fourth quarter run from Duke to win Sunday afternoon in front of 9001 attendees in the KFC YUM! Center. 

Louisville looked to be on their way to another systematic dismantling of an ACC foe early on in This one. The Cards cruised to a 25-14 first quarter lead against the Blue Devils .Van Lith was "on" -- sinking three threes in the first quarter, and it looked like Olivia Cochran might be headed for a big game, too, with five points early, but she picked up her second foul with just slightly over two minutes gone and Walz lifted her from the contest for Liz Dixon.

The Cards were dominating inside in the first quarter with a 10-0 points in the paint edge and

if there was anything to raise an eyebrow over, it was Duke's 3-4 three-point shooting. The Cards had six assists on their 10 baskets and a solld 9-5 edge in rebounding.. Former Card Elizabeth Balogun was a non-factor in the quarter - - just two points on three shots, Engstler and Kasa Robinson doing the shutdown work on her defensively. 

(Caption this...)

Louisville continued to build the lead in the first five minutes of the second quarter, stretching it out to 36-16 after a Chelsie Hall jumper  Cochran did not see any second quarter action, but Louisville was getting solid play from Dixon and Engstler inside and Payton Verhulst was also having a huge second quarter...nailing two threes and putting eight points on the board. Duke found some fight left in them, though, and cut the Card lead to 36-23 with 3:24 left in the half after a Vanessa de Jesus jumper.

That is as close as the Blue Devils would get, though...Threes from Hall and Ahlana Smith put Louisville up 42-25 and a Verhulst three with 39 seconds left in the half pushed Louisville's edge to 45-25. Halftime had the Cards up 45-27. 

The Cards were letting the three ball fly in the first 20 minutes and sank eight of their 19 attempts. They were also rebounding by committee well and held a 18-10 halftime edge. Van Lith led all scorers with nine points, Day-Wilson had seven for the visitors. 

Expecting a Cardinal blowout? I was, but Duke regrouped and made a game of it. The Blue Devils methodically cut into the Cards lead and Day-Wilson and Lexi Gordon led a charge that has diminished the Louisville lead to 47-36 with 6:43 left in the quarter. .A 9-2 run for the Durham school which was finally slowed by baskets from Kianna Smith and Engstler. Another Smith score gave Louisville a 55-41 lead with 3:16 left in the third, Duke would cut that to nine at 55-46 over the next minute, but Verhulst turned in the final five points of the quarter for the Cards with two free throws and then a three with four seconds on the clock and Louisville held a 60-47 lead after three periods.

Duke gave Cards fans a nervous few minutes to start the fourth quarter when they outscored Louisville 10-2 in the first 2-1/2 minutes to make it a 62-57 game. A  K.Smith bucket and Hailey Van Lith three over the next minute were huge, though, to push the Cards lead back out to ten, and Engstler got a turnover off of Balogun and created two points to make it 69-57 with 5:45 left in the game. Engstler was whistled for a foul -- her fifth -- was 3:10 to play, one of many questionable calls during the game by Eric Brewton, Angelica Suffern and Thomas Danaher. Without Emily, Duke managed to outscore Louisville 8-5 the rest of the way. A Van Lith jumper was UofL last score with 27 seconds left to make it 77-63 and the Cards get the win 77-65.


FREE THROWS --  No complaints here, except for the disparity in the team's attempts. Louisville went 8-9, Duke went 15-21. No Card attempted more than two in the game, Day Wilson alone went 9-10 for Duke. Still, 86.9% is well over our 70% standard needed for a letter, so we give out the CAPITAL "F". ..

REBOUNDS --  The Cards won the battle of the boards 28-26. Kianna Smith and Engstler grabbing five each for UofL to lead them, An 11-6 advantage on the offensive boards for UofL but Duke took the defensive rebounding total 20-17. The Cards only got three combined from Dixon and Cochran. I'll go with a small case "r" here...

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- Louisville shot 47.5% for the game and had 20 assists on 20 made baskets, a number I'll take any time. The Cards won in points-in-the paint stat 24-20, points-off turnovers 29-17 and 2nd chance points 17-6. 25 bench points would also indicate that Walz was able to successfully distribute the minutes successfully, something he wanted to do,with three games in the next eight days. I asked Van Lith post game about her team high 31 minutes and she responded "I was fine with it. You know me, I think I'd be fine and happy with 40 minutes, because of my conditioning". I'll assign a CAPTAL "E" here.

DEFENSE -- The Blue Devils shot 46.8% and were just 8-15 from three-point range. For the third straight game, an opposing player went off for over 20 points against UofL -- Day Wilson getting 25. The Cards did have seven steals and forced 20 turnovers . A quiet night for Balogun, who finished with just five points, three rebounds and no threes. I'll give a CAPITAL "D" here, because of the win and the way the Cards fought back and pushed the lead back out every time Duke threatened. 



(Who does Balogun think she is supposed to be guarding?)



Louisville departs tomorrow on a three game road trip that starts against Miami Tuesday night.


Sunday, January 30, 2022

Basketball vs Duke Gameday - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Duke Visits the Yum!

(no...these "Dukes" are NOT the ones visiting today)

Kara Lawson brings her Blue Devils into the KFC Yum! Center today for a 3pm game.  The Cards are still sitting around that 4th or 5th place ranking, though with an absolutely chaotic slate of Thursday night games in the SEC, and specifically with Tennessee losing by 10 to Auburn, there's a possibility that Louisville could move up a spot tomorrow when the rankings come out.

That won't happen if the Cards don't get the job done today, however.

The basics first.  The Dookies come in to the game today 13-5 overall, 4-4 in conference.  That one non-conference loss was a very understandable one to what we know is a very good South Carolina team.  There are also some pretty decent wins in that set, with Iowa, Alabama, and Dayton all going down to defeat.

In conference, we're starting to see a picture painted of a thoroughly mid-level team.  A two point victory over Notre Dame is the biggest hint that there maybe a little something more to Duke than what they've shown so far.  Wins over Virginia, Miami, and Syracuse; with loses to NC State, UNC, and twice to Virginia Tech reinforces the mid-pack assessment.

So let's break it down a little bit.  Lawson has been loving the transfer portal, with nine of the 15 players on the roster having "Previous School"s listed.  That, of course, includes the two former Cardinals Elizabeth Balogun, and Nyah Green.

E has been doing pretty well in Durham, is the second highest scorer on the team behind Shayeann Day-Wilson.  She's among the top rebounders on the squad, trailing Jade Williams and Onome Akinbode-James.  She is the only player on the squad to have started all 18 games in the season thus far, so there's a high likelihood that we'll see her today.

(Green hasn't been "gold" for the Dookies this year)

Green is a different story. She's seen just eight games this season and was hit with a "violation of team policies and standards" suspension and hasn't played since 1/18 and a seven minute, no points appearance against Miami. 

The Duke lineup has been ravaged by injuries and "health and safety protocols".  Stat sheet stuffer Celeste Taylor has missed the last five games since going down with an injury in the game against Syracuse on January 9th.  No word, yet, on whether she'll be back today.

Inside threats for Duke are Jade Williams and Onome Akinbode-James, with occasional appearances by Amaya Finklea-Guity (ex Syracuse), otherwise, just about everyone on the squad can, and fairly frequently does, drop treys.

(Balogun being a factor at Duke)

Duke typically wins if they score more than 70 points, with only two of their wins (Miami and Virginia) being accomplished with less than 70 points.  This bodes well for UofL's strong defensive play, but as always, you have to put the ball in the basket to score enough points to win.

(Robin Verhulst takes the shot) 

On a human interest side note, perhaps spare a moment of thought for Robin Verhulst, mother of Cardinal freshman Payton Verhulst.  She may be dealing with some amount of split allegiances today as she played for Duke from 1989-1992.  Robin was a pretty good player for Blue Devils, racking up 11.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a senior.  We can see where Payton gets it.

The game today is on the flagship channel, ESPN, with Courtney Lyle and Carolyn Peck on the call.  Again, the tip is slightly later, at 3pm, due to the TV coverage.

Track and Field

(Leon with the winning combination to the "vault")

The Cards hosted the Lenny Lyles Invitational yesterday, and there were a few highlights for the women.  Gabriela Leon won the pole vault clearing 4.38 meters.  Auriane Viola, and Aliyah Welter finished 3rd and 4th.

Cardinals Brooke Weimer and Synclair Savage finished 2nd and 3rd in the Long Jump with marks of 6.03 meters, and 5.60 meters.

The other podium finish for the Cards was in the 4x400 meter relay, with a 2nd place finish of 3:45.91.  The team is Katie Martin, Kiyah Yeast, Taylor Boggess, and Taylor Herbert.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

(We don't actually wear tuxedos for the podcast...)

Basketball was on the minds of the trio for the CCRHP yesterday.  Jared, Paulie and I were on the call.  Daryl scored tickets to the men's basketball game against Duke, while Case is apparently still fighting home improvements.

We spent most of the podcast talking basketball, with recaps of the wins over Wake Forest and Florida State.  We also got to hear about Katy, Jared's fiance', hob-nobbing with important FSU folks on the sidelines of the game Thursday.  It's fair play, Katy is an FSU grad.

Available at it's Youtube live stream location, you can check it out at:


Saturday, January 29, 2022

Track and Swimming In Action Today -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

In a rare winter Friday occurence, no one was in action for Louisville (except for Scott Satterfield's recruiting team, apparently). Either way, it was probably for the best due to the weather that overtook the area yesterday evening, as traveling for any sporting event in town would have been pretty treacherous. 

Track Hosts Lenny Lyles Invitational

After successful meets over the last two weekends out of town, the Cards are back at the Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center to host a meet of their own. Gabriela Leon has been the talk of the town recently, but plenty of other Cards have proven their mettle while performing against very high quality competition.

Unlike the last couple of events they participated in, Louisville will be hosting a closed meet, meaning this will be for college and university affiliated athletes only. The teams in town for the event are  Arkansas State, Cincinnati, Eastern Kentucky, Illinois, Illinois State, Indiana State, Marshall, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, Notre Dame, South Florida, Southern Illinois, Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky. It's a long list, with South Florida being the lone standout non-regional team.

With so many participants, the field for each event has been capped at 32. Each team will be allowed three participants per track event, two per field event, and two per relay. According to the meet's registration information, additional participants will be considered if they have met listed benchmarks, but they are not guaranteed due to the overall cap.

The weight throw will get the meet kicked off at 10AM as the field events will be completed first. The first track event will be the 60-meter dash preliminary heats at 2PM, and the last event, the 4x400 relay, is scheduled for 7:30PM. Spectators are welcome to attend and entry is free. Parking at the Center is listed as $5/person, with a maximum of $15/car. 

Swimming Hosts Another Rivalry

After picking up the double rivalry win over Kentucky last week, swimming is back for blood once more, as they'll host the Bearcats of Cincinnati to the Ralph Wright Natatorium. (Will these be the last Bearcats in Louisville this spring...? *cough* Mick *cough*) While the Albieros led Louisville to a rivalry win last week, Cincinnati was busy getting a rivalry sweep as well, as they took down Xavier. 

The Bearcats will be quite a bit less rested, though, as they stopped in Lexington yesterday to avoid the weather and decided to have a competition against Kentucky while they were there. This isn't actually how the meet against UK was scheduled, but it does seem odd to me to compete twice in less than 24 hours, especially when the two teams you are competing against are within two hours of your campus. 

Either way, the Louisville women's team will look to continue their hot streak in the pool and put up more NCAA worthy results. This will be senior day for the Cards, and they'll honor the seniors with a ceremony at 11:30 before the meet begins at Noon.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

The show will be a bit thinner today, as I'm out once more due to the ongoing basement renovation and Daryl joins the masses headed to the YUM Center that have a bit more excitement in the men's team due to the recent staffing change.

Paulie, Jeff, and Jared will still be on deck, though, to bring you the joy and excitement of UofL Women's Athletics, including a pair of bounce back victories for UofL WBB after the shocking loss last week. 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 28, 2022

UofL WBB handles Florida State 75-62 -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Happy Friday all! Took forever to get here or maybe that was just me.. But, we made it!  Thanks for checking in with Cardinal Couple today and everyday.  

I'm just going to throw it out there that I am so glad to have something to look forward to with this WBB program.   I am so happy we still have Coach Walz and the joy and excitement of the women's game.   So let's get right to it.. 

Louisville WBB wins vs Florida State 75-62

Was it The Liz Dixon show or the Emily Engstler draft stock night?   Perhaps it was the Mykasa Robinson appreciation night as the three seniors lead Louisville to a victory on Thursday night against the recent thorn in the Cardinals side, Florida State.  Engstler lead the Cards with 19 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks and a steal.  Olivia Cochran also chipped in 17 points on 6-10 shooting from the field. 

End of 1Q   Cards 13-10                                 Photo: Jared Anderson

FG %
5-17 29.4% Cards
4-12 33.3% FSU
Reb. 10-11 FSU
3-pt %
2-5 40% Cards
0-2 0% FSU

Louisville opened the game cold again..  missing 9-10 before Liz Dixon was able to put it up and in with 4:35 left in the first quarter as the Cards' starters struggled to find buckets.  Hailey Van Lith went 1-5 in the quarter,  Kianna Smith 0-2, Olivia Cochran 0-4 and Chelsie Hall 0-2.  Dixon laid it up again to tie it up 8-8 before Mykasa Robinson got the steal and goes to hoop and one!  Liz and Emily would both go on to record a block on the same FSU possession before HVL finds her first bucket of the game, then a 3 pointer from Kianna Smith with 1 minute left in the quarter.                               

End of 2Q  Cards 23-15

FG %
7-15 46.7% Cards
7-17 41.2% FSU 
Reb. 11-8 FSU 
3-pt %
1-5 20% Cards
0-1 0% FSU

         Photo: Jared Anderson

Morgan Jones was responsible for 12 of FSU's 16 points on 5-7 shooting from the field.  She was single handedly keeping the Seminoles in the game.  Liz Dixon was also displaying extreme confidence as she came off the bench to go 3-3 for 7 points, 3 rebounds and an assist.

Dixon and Cochran were both on the floor while Engstler got a breather, Liz showing up huge on the defensive end for UofL.  FSU fouled Dixon on a bad block out and then a charge followed by a huge block.  Dixon had 7 of the Cards' 11 points off the bench in 9 minutes.   FSU called a timeout when Ahlana Smith took it to the hoop to put the Cards up 26-19.  Engstler came back into the game with 4 minutes left in the half.  Six players scored for UofL by this point, just 3 for FSU.  With inside 2:30 minutes left in the half, Emily records the 5th block for the Cards to force a shot clock violation.  With UofL back on offense, Kianna found her first bucket on the assist from Kasa to make it 34-21.  Engstler lead the Cards with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks in the half. 

HALF  Cards 36-25

End of 3Q  FSU 23-21

FG %
6-13 46.2% Cards
10-13 76.9% FSU
Reb.  6-4 FSU
3-pt %
2-3 66.7% Cards
1-3 33.3% FSU                                                    
 Photo: Jared Anderson

FSU came out of the halftime break to score 5 quick points and make it 36-30 but Cochran responds with 4 points of her own on 2 layups to cushion the Louisville lead.  When FSU pulled it within 2 points, 40-38 in just 4 minutes, Olivia Cochran again responds at the FT line to keep the Cards ahead.  Morgan Jones did not slow down as she put it in the hoop in Kasa's face for her 23rd point of the game.   But Kasa, not allowing herself to get deflated, responds with a steal and a layup in transition to make it 47-40 Cards.  With 3:30 left in the quarter, FSU shooting 50% from the field, the Cards 40%.  We finally get a Payton Verhulst sighting with just 1:30 left in the quarter.  The Cards were losing the quarter battle 23-16 at this point but maintained the lead 52-46.   FSU had 14 turnovers while the Cards managed to limit their own to just 5. 

                                         Photo: Jared Anderson

End of 4Q  18-14 Cards

FG %
8-18 44.4% Cards
4-13 30.8% FSU                                                
 Photo: Jared Anderson

Reb. 13-7 Cards 
3-pt %
2-3 66.7% Cards
1-3 33.3% FSU

Cards began with a 57-48 lead over FSU to start the 4th.  No lead over an ACC opponent to start the final quarter is big enough.  Morgan Jones continued to do whatever she wanted vs the Cards...

FSU managed to score 62 points on the Cards defense - only 2 three pointers and 20 points in the paint, 10 points came from free throws and the rest were jumpers that FSU's Jones was making with a defender in her face.   Usually by this point, Coach Walz has reached deep into the arsenal and let the bench players get some playing time but he had the starting roster with Kasa at the point out there with 4 minutes left and the Cards up 69-55.  Jones hit another jumper and Engstler responded with a three pointer.  Emily had 2 three pointers on the evening and did everything she could to secure the victory for UofL.  The Cards were able to pull away as the clock wound down... with 2:30 left on the clock, Kianna Smith hit the jumper to put the team up 71-55 off the inbounds pass from Robinson. 


FINAL 75-62 Cards WIN!! 

                                         Photo: Jared Anderson


Louisville vs Duke 
Sunday 1/30 @ 3 P.M. on ESPN
KFC Yum! Center 


"Freddy Free Throw" demonstrates
the style and the Cards followed suit!

FREE THROWS -- Louisville got the majority of free throw attempts in the 2nd and 3rd quarter where they went 8-9 and 7-7 respectively.  They went 16-19 on the night which is 84.2% which is better than our 70% minimum requirement.   Engstler lead the Cards going 5-6 at the line.  CAPITAL F 

REBOUNDING -- A big 4th quarter on the glass for the Cards helped make it an even effort on the boards for both squads, 35 all.  Again, Engstler lead all players with 12, 7 of them offensive rebounds.  I think the Cards will lose this battle against most squads out there, which is why they have to covert on the possessions they do have.  Capital R

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- One of these days, I think the slow start for the Cards will put them on the wrong side of the victory column.   The Cards got almost nothing from it's starters in the opening quarter.   Mykasa Robinson and Liz Dixon provided a huge offensive spark for the Cards vs FSU when they needed it the most. CAPITAL E

DEFENSE --  UofL was able to keep most of the Florida State squad to single digit scoring but the Cards allowed Morgan Jones to score a season high 28 points against Louisville against them.  She went 11-18 on the evening with Engstler guarding her in the first half and Robinson in the second.  She pretty much did whatever she wanted against the Cards and kept FSU in the game.  As a team, UofL forced 17 turnovers - 6 steals and 9 blocks - and only allowed 2 three pointers but also let FSU shoot the better of the two from the field at 45%.  Capital D

                                         Photo: Jared Anderson

Payton Verhulst is VERY excited about this week's FRED Report vs FSU


Cardinal Couple Radio - The men's game vs Duke being scheduled at noon on Saturday will likely interfere with some of the gang's participation on the Radio Hour Podcast this week but we are on schedule for an 11a.m. start as usual.  Tune in! 


   Photo: Jared Anderson


As always 

Go Cards! 



Thursday, January 27, 2022

WBB Hosts FSU -- UofL in the News Again -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Host Florida State

We're approaching the end of the week and that means it's time for another Louisville Women's Basketball game! The #4 Cards look to extend their new winning streak to two games, and then build from there.

Teams: #4 Louisville vs Florida State

Records: Louisville (16-2, 6-1 ACC), Florida State (9-8, 3-4 ACC)

Where: KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY

When: 8:00 p.m. ET

TV: ACC Network

Radio: 790-AM WKRD

Head-to-Head Record: Florida State leads 15-19

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

                Sue Semrau, 24th season as Florida State head coach (took one year leave of absence in 2020-2021)

Key Players: Louisville: Kianna Smith (11.6 ppg), Hailey Van Lith (12.3 ppg), Emily Engstler (11.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.7 steals per game)

                      Florida State: Morgan Jones (14.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg), O'Mariah Gordon (3.1 assists per game)

Florida State has been surprisingly poor this season. In most years under Coach 'Seminole Sue , the Seminoles have been near the top of the ACC, earning plenty of first and second round byes in the ACC Tournament before being a decent in the NCAA Tournament.

The Seminoles being one game over .500 this season is quite odd. Some of their unexpected losses have come against BYU, Purdue, Houston, and Wake Forest. Some of those losses came in a four-game losing streak that was lengthened by a COVID-19 pause.

FSU ranks near the bottom of the ACC in both points per game at 69.8 and points allowed per game at 60.4. However, at 5.0 blocks per game, Florida State is one of the best blocking teams in the conference.

Most of the work this year has been done by senior guard Morgan Jones. Standing at 6'2, Jones is tall for a guard, but is the Seminoles' top scorer at 14.6 ppg and top rebounder at 6.2 rpg. She shoots 50% from the floor and over 80% from the free throw line.

Despite Louisville being ranked in the top 10 for a majority of the games against Florida State since joining the ACC, it's the Seminoles who continue to come out ahead and be the Achilles Heel for the Cards. FSU loves to slow the pace of the game and keep the Cards from running a fast-paced game.

With Florida State having a down year, hopefully this can be the year Louisville can win big against the Seminoles and break the curse.

Paulie and I will be in attendance on the court as usual for this game. Sadly, I missed the game last Sunday due to a concert I was playing in at the same time. To make up for that missed game, I'm bringing Katy with me tonight and she'll hang out with Paulie on media row. 

UofL in the News for the Wrong Reasons Again

I'm going to keep this section short and sweet. Louisville and Chris Mack have mutually agreed to part ways. Louisville Men's Basketball is 11-9 on the year and quickly dropped to the bottom half of the ACC standings while Mack has had "no answers".

Fans and donors have been unhappy with the past couple of seasons and the pressure for UofL to take action, especially after an NCAA violation and an HR violation earlier this season, came into play. It's sad to see the men's basketball program continue to deal with issues.

We do hope things get better on their end soon.

Thankfully, the women's basketball program has not felt the impact of the situation and continues to prove how successful they are. The Cards are currently a top five team and one of the favorites for the ACC Championship and NCAA Championship.


Coach Jeff Walz met with the media for a Wednesday presser to discuss the FSU game and was also asked a few other questions as well, including his thoughts on the Chris Mack situation. You can view the presser at the link below. 


Happy Thursday and Go Cards!


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Engstler to Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


("If the basketball was this small, I could dunk
every shot Hailey..."

Louisville senior forward Emily Engstler is one of the fifteen players named to the 2022 Naismith women's Defensive Player of the Year watch list 

She is one of four ACC women's basketball players on the list, along with Elissa Cunane (NC State), Elizabeth Kitley (Viginia Tech) and Lorela Cubaj (Georgia Tech)

Others on the list are Ailyah Boston (South Carolina), Angel Reese (Maryland), Ayoka Lee (Kansas State), Cameron Brink (Stanford), Jordyn Cambridge (Vanderbilt), NaLyssa Smith (Baylor), Nancy Mulkey (Washington), Que Morrison (Georgia), Rhyne Howard (Kentucky), Tamari Key (Tennessee) and Veronica Burton (Northwestern). 

Engstler leads the ACC with 2.7 steals per game and is tied for 29th in DI. She also has.7 blocks a game, tops for the Cards. She averages 8.4 rebounds a contest, tops on the team and has been Louisville's leading rebounder in 16 of their 18 games. Aijah Blackwell (Missouri) leads the nation in rebounding with 13.4 a game. Cards fans might remember she was a Louisville target a few years ago. 

The 2021-22 Louisville Cardinals squad is one that prides themselves on defense this season and is holding opponents to an average of 51.1 points a game. Louisville forces opponents to 20.9 turnovers a game and averages 10.9 steals a contest. The Cards average 21.9 points a game off turnovers and have 75 blocked shots this season, Engstler leading the way with 26 of them.

Another Cardinals player who gets it does on defense is Kasa Robinson -- and she also leads the Cards in assists this season, despite getting just 19.9 minutes a game. Jeff Walz also points out that he's proud of the defensive effort Hailey Van Lith has shown this year. 

Louisville has allowed just one opponent to score over 70 points this season...and it may come as a surprise that it was Syracuse (71), back on January 13th.  

Engstler also gets it done on the offensive side of the ball, averaging 11.0 points a game. That's third best on the team, behind Hailey Van Lith's 12.4 ppg and Kianna Smith's 11.6. 

Here's a few other numbers to toss at you, while we're doing digits today:

0 -- Zero losses for Louisville in the KFC YUM1 Center this season 

.720 -- Louisville's made Free Throw % this season

25 -- Most free throws made by the Cards in a game this season (Arizona) 

11 -- Most three-pointers made in a game by Louisville this season (vs. EKU). 

5 -- Number of times the Cards have scored 80 or more points this season.

5 -- Current AP poll ranking for Louisville

1 -- Number of juniors on the roster. Can you name who it is? 

2 -- Number of Cardinals on the roster from California (Ramani Parker, Kianna Smith) 

22 -- Highest number of points scored by a UofL player this season (Kianna Smith vs. EKU).

45 -- Highest jersey number on the Cards roster (Sydni Schetnan)  >

77849 -- Number of fans to watch Louisville iWBB n the 10 KFC YUM Center games. 

( "Great...another Jared pre-game report...") 

Jared will give you the preview on the Cards game against Florida State in tomorrow's article.

It's a Noles squad that has underperformed this season in the eyes of many, with a 3-4 conference record and just 9-8 overall. They can be dangerous, though, and beat Louisville last season in the Tallahassee game 68-59, one of UofL's four losses on the season. 

(The answer to the "who's the junior on the roster" question earlier in the article is Norika Konno)  

Have a Wonderful Wednesday and Go Cards !



Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Field Hockey Academic Honors -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Field Hockey Academic Honors

We're stepping away from Louisville Women's Basketball for a day to look back at a fall sport and some awesome academic accomplishments for some of the student-athletes. Louisville Field Hockey is one of the smartest team sports due to the hard work and effort of many of the players on the team.

The Cards placed seven student-athletes on the All-ACC Field Hockey Academic Team. The requirements to making the teams are a cumulative 3.0 GPA for your career and a 3.0 GPA in each of the last two semesters. So, averaging a 3.0+ GPA for your career but having a semester where you had a sub-3.0 GPA gets you off the list.

Maintaining a 3.0 GPA or better is already difficult for any student due to the amount of work and studying involved, but adding the athlete part of that (practices, workouts, matches, travel) makes it that much more impressive.

Alli Bitting, Erica Cooper, Mila de Kuijer, Julie Kouijzer, Aimee Plumb, Katie Schneider, and Mattie Tabor were all named to the All-ACC Field Hockey Academic Team.

Bitting had even more great news come in as she was named the ACC Field Hockey Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year. North Carolina's Erin Matson shares the honor with Bitting.

Bitting, who graduated in December with a degree in sport administration, was named to the Dean's List and AD Honor Roll every semester she was a student at Louisville. She is also a four-time ACC Honor Roll selection. On top of her academic accomplishments, Bitting is a three-time NFHCA All-American (first team 2021, second team 2020, 2019) and will have her banner hung alongside the other All-Americans at Trager Stadium.

As much as we love reporting the on-field successes of our student-athletes, we love reporting on their academic successes even more.

Louisville has always prided itself on the academic successes of its student-athletes and it's great to see that tradition continue.


We're in a three-day break from any women's sporting events. Jeff Walz's squad breaks that hiatus with an 8:00 p.m., tip-off against Florida State on Thursday. The Cards look to extend their winning streak and solidify their second spot in the ACC standings above Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, both whom are looming nearby. Including Thursday, UofL has 11 games remaining in the regular season, and we know A LOT can change in that time span.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Monday, January 24, 2022

Cards shake Wake 72-60 -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Louisville Women's Basketball used a strong 20 minutes in the middle of the game (the second and third quarters) and a 42-14 run to forge past Wake Forest 72-60 Sunday afternoon in the KFC YUM! Center before a crown of 8802. Louisville, now 16-2 and 6-1 in the ACC got double digit performances from Hailey Van Lith (17 points), Emily Engstler (15 points) and Liz Dixon (12 points) to drop the Demon Deacons to their seventh conference loss and fifth loss in a row. 

The final score really isn't indicative of the relative ease of this Louisville win. 

Wake was competitive, yes, for the first quarter and actually held a 22-21 lead over Louisville after ten minutes. The Cards went on a 23-1 run in the second quarter that developed because of the two things Louisville has done well all year -- playing suffocating defense and scoring off the turnovers they created. They also shot 77% in the second quarter and held the Demon Deacons to 1-14 (7%) shooting. 

What was unique about the second quarter run is that Louisville made the huge run with non-starters Dixon, Kasa Robinson and Ahlana Smith seeing a combined total of 29 of the 50 available player minutes for Walz. Wake failed to make a basket in the final 9:40 of the second quarter and Dixon (4-4) led a Louisville inside game that featured the Cards outscoring The Deacs 10-0 in the paint. It was 44-26 at halftime and Walz had already played nine of the 12 players he had dressed and available for the contest. Norika Konno wasn't available for the game --Walz indicating she was dealing with some health issues -- but getting better. The Cards bench had 20 of Louisville's 44 points, and let's give credit to Van Lith, who had a spectacular first half with 12 points (on 5-7 shooting) and five assists.

The Cards continued the assault with a strong beginning to the second half -- steadily increasing the lead to a 61-28 advantage with 3:47 left in the third quarter. The Cardinals run since the end of the first quarter was 40-6 and Walz pulled Van Lith, Engstler, Dixon and Hall for Ahlana and Kianna Smith, Verhulst and Cochran . The Cards would total just two more points the remainder of the quarter, compared to WFU's nine, but UofL was still comfortably in charge after three quarters...63-37.

The fourth quarter was a bit of an enigma. A quarter where Wake forced Louisville into seven turnovers and just 1-12 shooting. True, Walz experimented with a lot of combinations in the final ten minutes...but when asked about the "flow" of the fourth quarter, Walz immediately responded "Flow? There was none. We were backed up. Constipated. We needed a plunger"

Wake steadily cut into the Cards lead, knocking it down to 15 with 1:53 to play and Jewel Spear's two threes in the final 30 seconds made the final score look somewhat close at 72-60. Merissah Russell tied Hailey Van Lith for high scorer in the fourth with three points -- Russell's coming from the free throw line and Van Lith's on a three. Walz played all 12 players in the final quarter ---Dixon seeing a scant 35 seconds and almost everyone else around three to seven minutes. 


Freddy Mercury would have acknowledged that
the Cards were the "queens" of the court Thursday night

FREE THROWS --  An impressive outing for UofL, making 12 of their 14 attempts. Only five Cards attempted charity tosses, Engstler and Russell each making three of their four tries. 85.7% I'll take that number any game, and can easily award a CAPITAL "F".

REBOUNDING --  The Cards won the rebounding battle 34-33 but Wake outrebounded UofL in the first and third quarters. Emily Engstler led UofL with 8 in 23 minutes, but the Demon Deacons were considerably smaller than UofL. The edge is good for a small case "r" for UofL, Cochran an Dixon combined for just 8 rebounds and you need more than that out  of your posts.

EFFORT/EXECUTION --The fourth quarter slide was disappointing -- and 17 turnovers is more than I like to see. But, 51% shooting for the game is impressive and 19 assists on 26 made baskets is excellent. So, I'll award a lower case "e" here as well.

DEFENSE -- Defense created the 33 point lead, but lack of it in the fourth quarter allowed Wake Forest to eliminate 21 points of that lead. The Cards allowed Spear to have her usual big night, but UofL did a good job on everyone else. I would have awarded a capital D here after three quarters, but the disappointing fourth quarter drops that down to a small case "d". You need to finish what you start, and lowly Clemson held these Deacons to just 44 points 

final fred tally:  F-r-e-d

So, a win that most expected, but maybe by not as much as expected. Give Wake credit for not completely folding and closing up shop in he end, but besides Spear, Jen Hoover doesn't have a lot available to compliment her. I won't go into detail about the officiating, if you were there, you can make your own opinions on it...I'll just say I'd be surprised if any of this crew calls any of the NCAA Final Four games...

Louisville returns to action Thursday night when they host Florida State. 


Sunday, January 23, 2022

Winter Sports Pile On - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Wake Up to WBB

Well, not exactly wake up to unless you're a really late riser, but the Cards opponent today is Wake Forest.  The Cards are, of course, looking to start a new winning streak after the fourth quarter meltdown in Raleigh.  Jen Hoover's Wake Forest Demon Deacons are working to climb out of the lower ranks of the ACC, let's call it the bottom third.

Wake arrives at today's game with a 2-6 record in conference with more than a few head scratchers in there, including most recently a 20+ point beat-em-down at the hands of Clemson in Winston-Salem.  No shame in losses to ranked teams Georgia Tech and Notre Dame, and Virginia Tech is playing at those sorts of levels as well, but hasn't quite broken into the rankings yet.  But a loss to Pitt, splitting with Florida State, a squeaker win over Miami, in addition to the mentioned Clemson thumping puts Wake down fairly low in the conference standings.

Wake is led by 5'10" guard Jewel Spear who hoists more than half of her shots from beyond the three point arc, and drains them 37% of the time.  Next in line is Elise Williams at 5'9" and also playing guard.  Williams plays a bit more balanced game, with only a third of her shots beyond the arc, hitting 42% overall and 32% from range.

Wake will also likely start a pair of 6'2" forwards, Christina Morra and Olivia Summiel.  Summiel can also be a bit of a threat from range, but Morra hasn't even attempted a three pointer this year.

Wake trails their opponents overall in all four of the "right side" stats categories - assists, steals, turnovers, and blocked shots.

Louisville shouldn't have too much trouble with this team, but they will be looking to bounce back from their loss to NC State.  Slow starts have been a hallmark of this UofL team for much of the season, and Wake held Clemson scoreless for the first 5+ minutes of the game.  UofL will not want to let them repeat that feat.

If the Cards can start the game off strong, the rest should follow along.  Of course, we can't have another fourth quarter collapse, but I don't expect Wake to go 11-14 overall and 5-6 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter like NC State did.  For the Cards this game is as much a mental game against themselves as it is against Wake.  If they've gotten their heads in the right place and play through the last whistle, they should be fine, but that's the biggest question about this team right now.

Two o'clock is the tip time, on the ACC Network today at the KFC Yum! Center, which is, of course, also available via streaming if that's your preferred media consumption approach.  Sam Ravech and Kelly Gramlich are on the call today, and with Gramlich's Clemson ties, we may hear a bit more about Wake's outing against the Tigers than we would otherwise.

Track and Field

Louisville was in Blacksburg, VA for the Hokie Invitational.  The top finish for the women was in the 4x400 relay with  Katie Martin, Je'Niya Burton, Kiyah Yeast and Taylor Boggess, finishing in second place with a 3:44.85 time.

On the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast yesterday, I mentioned Emily Scott, who has completed her time with UofL Volleyball and has moved over to the High Jump with Track and Field.  She was the top UofL finisher in the event with best clearance of 1.66 meters.  That ties the height with the two third place finishers, but Scott gets the fifth place finish because of the number of attempts it took her to clear the height.

UofL will return home to the Lenny Lyles Invitational on Saturday.  This is an indoor event which UofL previously didn't have a facility to host in, but is now able to host indoor events at the Norton Healthcare Sport and Learning Center at 30th St. and Muhammad Ali Blvd.

Swim and Dive

Swim and Dive hosted Kentucky at "The Ralph", the Ralph Wright Natatorium at Floyd St. and University Blvd. on campus.  Jared made it out for part of the meet to get a few pictures, and I managed to squeeze myself into a corner of the very full stands to watch some of it as well.  UofL won both the men's and women's competitions.  174-126 was the overall scores for the women, with the men winning even more substantially, 208.5-88.5.

The Cardinals are ranked 9th or 11th, depending on which rankings you're looking at, while the Wildcats are either 15th or unranked.  Regardless, this was some rather high level swimming.

UofL set a pool record and registered an A-cut time in the 200 yard medley, consisting of  Tristen Ulett (24.89), Mariia Astashkina (27.02), Christiana Regenauer (23.02), and Gabi Albiero (21.43).  Not to be outdone, the men also set a pool record and A-cut time on their side of the event.

The women were led by Gabi Albiero in the short distance races, and Liberty Williams in the longer events.  The men were led by Nick Albiero and Haridi Sameh.

Gabi Albiero, Nick Albiero, and head coach Arthur Albiero...I think this family may have something going with this whole swimming thing, ya know?

UofL will continue their season ending homestand this Saturday with Cincinnati coming to visit "The Ralph".  No start time is listed for this, yet, but I would expect it to be similar to yesterday's event with diving starting at noon, and swimming at 1pm.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

It was a sparse crew for the CCRHP yesterday, with just Paulie and myself able to get on the call.  We had a good time chatting about a wide variety of topics, including reckoning with the WBB loss against NC State.  We did also talk about the win at Boston College, so we were able to get some "joy and excitement" in there.  Lots of other topics got covered, from Lacrosse to vacuums.

You can check the unedited version of at Youtube:

Case hasn't gotten an edited version of it up to the podcast system yet, but if he does, you will be able to find it at:

Check out the fun!