Duke Visits the Yum!
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 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.
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.
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
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
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: