MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY HOLIDAY
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.
SMITH, VAN LITH LEAD LOUISVILLE PAST BOSTON COLLEGE
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 FRED REPORT
|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.
FINAL FRED TALLY: _-R-e-D
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.