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Friday, January 7, 2022

WBB storms past Pittsburgh 81-39; FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


I hope the winter storms that rolled through the state did not cause issues for anyone yesterday or this morning.   It definitely impacted the crowd for the Cards WBB game at the Yum! on Thursday evening.  Between schools sending kids home early & businesses following their lead, to that blue team in Lexington straight up advising fans to stay home to avoid the weather delays... a wild day for the state's preparation for this winter storm.  

Either way, I do hope you were able to have a warm and safe evening, hopefully you were able to catch the Cards on the ACC Network vs Pittsburgh.  If you missed it, here are some notes and numbers from the match. 

Louisville WBB win 81-39 vs Pittsburgh

All 10 players scored for Cards as the team was lead by Hailey Van Lith and Emily Engstler with 12, Olivia Cochran had 11 and Chelsie Hall and Payton Verhulst chipped in 10 points a piece.  It was Engstler's 4th double-double of the season.  Mykasa Robinson and Norika Konno did not appear in this one due to COVID protocals.   The last time the Panther's played a game was back on December 22, 2021. 

End of 1Q 19-8 Cards

FG %
7-21 33.3% Cards
3-12 25% Pitt
Reb. 13-10 Cards 
3-pt %
1-5 20% Cards
1-2 50% Pitt

                                 Photos today by Jared Anderson


The Cardinals had some snow on the gears to open another game this season.   Starting by losing the opening tip, the first two possessions for UofL were turnovers, Kianna Smith let it slip into the defense and Olivia Cochran traveled.  The Cards' defense held strong to make up for it.  But offensive woes continued for the better part of the opening quarter for both squads.  Hailey Van Lith attempted the 3 and Kianna attempting the second chance points but both came up empty.   Both squads were 0-8 before Kianna gets the game's first points just around the 7 minute mark.  Despite not filling the stat sheet, HVL finds important ways to bring this squad to its victories..  HVL drew 3 fouls on Pitt in the first 4 minutes of the game.  But scoring droughts would plague the first 10 minutes as the two teams combined 1-13 in the first 5 minutes.  After frustratingly having 2-3 shots bounce all around the rim for Emily Engstler, she scored 4 quick points with a steal in-between.  The Cards put together an 8-0 run to push the lead to 14-4.  The Cards found an offensive spark in Engstler when she nailed the 3 pointer with 2 seconds left the in the quarter.                             

End of 2Q   21- 5 Cards

FG %
9-21 42.9% Cards
2-9 22.2% Pitt
Reb.  11-8 Pitt
3-pt %
3-7 42.9% Cards
0-2 0% Pitt

Engstler opened the second quarter like she finished the first, hitting a 3 point jumper to make the lead 22-8 for Louisville.   A series of defensive stops for the Panthers and the Cards attempting the second chance shot, Payton Verhulst finds her first points and perhaps.. the glimpse of whats to come from the freshman guard?  Stay tuned...  with the assist from Ahlana Smith, PV hits the 3 for the Cards to push the lead 25-8 with 8 minutes left in the half.   Meanwhile, Engstler is loading the stat sheet halfway through the quarter already in double digit scoring with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.  The Cards would then go on a scoring drought for more than 3 minutes going 0-6 in that time.   Chelsie Hall breaks the ice with a jumper to 29-11 with 4:20 left in the half.   The Louisville defense had only allowed Pittsburgh to take 4-18 shot attempts by this point and forced a scoring drought of more than 3 minutes, including 4 turnovers, to close out the second quarter.

HALF  40-13 Cards

End of 3Q  23-12 cards 

FG %
6-13 46.2% Cards
5-18 27.8% Pitt
Reb. 12-9 Pitt
3-pt %
2-5 40% Cards
1-4 25% Pitt

Both squads decided to get the offense going quicker in the second half, scoring 5 points each in the first 2:09 minutes.   After that, Emily decided to take command of the floor blocking a shot, stealing the ball and recovering a rebound defensively all in a matter of 27 seconds.  A minute later, Engstler and Hall would both steal it again as the Cards forced 4 Pitt turnovers in the first 3 minutes of the third quarter.   Coach Walz would then give Engstler a break but the pressure does not slow up there, Pitt turns the ball over a fifth times, 4 of them steals with 4:35 on the clock and a media timeout.   The Cards found themselves at the free throw line alot more in this quarter than they did in the first half, remaining efficient when they got there,  going 9-10.   Olivia lead the charge going 5-6 on her FTs.   In her 7 minutes on the floor in the quarter, in my opinion, it was the Payton Verhulst show, as we got to see what I hope is a bright future for Payton's in red and black!  

Within 30 seconds of being inserted into the lineup, Verhulst snags the defensive board and registers the assist.  With 4 minutes left in the quarter, Verhulst gets the block and secures it, giving the offense another chance to score.  Then, with 1:52 left, she pulls down the huge rebound under the basket then forces Pitt's Brown to travel followed by a 3 of her own with 1:15 to extend the Cards lead 63-25.  The 6-1 guard from Kansas got big praise from commentator Debbie Antonelli after the run - commenting that when Payton gets settled into the college life and finds the weight room some more, she could become a serious star. 

End of 4Q 18-14 Cards 

FG %
6-15 40% Cards
4-15 26.7% Pitt
Reb. 13-10 Cards
3-pt %
2-4 50% Cards
0-1 0% Pitt

(Caption this...)

Picking up where she left off, Verhulst found herself at the FT line shooting 2 to open the offense for the Cards.  Not long after, around the mid 8 minute mark, Coach Walz moved to put some starters back out on the floor even with the Cards at a comfortable 40 point lead.  Regardless of the score, it has been covered before that Coach Walz always has a plan.  The move to bring starters back in for just a handful of minutes left in the game and a huge lead on Pitt was a coaching moment for him and the squad that will be the backbone of the post season.  Especially with the rust the squad has come out with in recent weeks.

Walz was wise to use the quality minutes for some extra shots to 'get the score to 70' (which has been a stressor for the coaching staff as a winning formula).  HVL did just that when she swished a 3 pointer to make it 70-28 Cards with 6:28 left in the game and Walz pulled the starters for the rest of the way.  Before Thursday night, the Cards were 7-0 season on the season, 21-0 last season and 49-0 over last 3 seasons when they score 70+ points.   At this point of the game, the Cards lineup looked like Ramani Parker, A. Smith, Merissah Russell, Hall and Payton on the floor.  The Cards struggled to find a rhythm offensively, not scoring until Russell hit a three with 3:40 left.   As a team, the Cards finished going 4-4 from the field to make it a 81-39 final score in downtown Louisville.  


Louisville at Miami Sunday at 12:00 p.m. 


(Jared's supervisor...Freddy Farm Bureau)

FREE THROWS --  The Cards found themselves at the line plenty of times Thursday evening.  When they got there, they were very efficient going 17-18 on the evening.  Cochran lead the Cards, going 5-6 on free throws all in the third quarter.  The Cards excelled at the line going 94% which far exceeds are required 70% minimum. CAPITAL F 

REBOUNDING -- Somehow, Pitt managed to stay even with the Cards when pulling down the boards at 43 all.  Pitt's 6-4 Center Rita Igbokwe corralled 14 on her own.  The Cards' leading rebounder was Emily Engstler with 10.  The Cards lost the offensive rebound challenge, which limited the second chance opportunity to score.  lower case r

EFFORT/EXECUTION --  The game did not leave its viewers with many complaints if you're a Louisville fan.  When the offense started stalely, Emily Engstler revved the engine.   When her team needed a bucket, she made one.  When they needed the ball back offensively, she took it.  When a situation needed a dissatisfied expression, she took the technical foul.   29 points came off the bench, despite the Cards being down their first two off the bench (Robinson and Konno) and had 24 points in the paint. CAPITAL E

DEFENSE --  The Cards forced 35 turnovers.. 25 of them were from Pitt starters and 19 turnovers were steals.   UofL had 32 points off of the turnovers.  At one point, Merissah Russell was taking the charge under the basket, putting the ball back in Louisville's hands.  By halftime, the Panthers had attempted only half of the Cards shot attempts with 21 and totaled 24 turnovers.  CAPITAL D 


Cardinal Couple Radio - The gang takes to the air tomorrow at 11 a.m. Join us for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast. A lot to talk about after three weeks... 

 As always
Go Cards! 




  1. A win that meets the expectations over a team that just isn't very good. Don't let their preseason fool you, Pitt is a bottom dweller in the league along with Virginia and Clemson. It's hard to say about Miami, up next. They haven't played since Halloween...

    Nick O

  2. First game back from a long pause.
    I think it showed some.
    We did what we should have.

  3. Hello Friends !
    Arthur Here !

    Well, I'm glad someone got to play basketball. My Tigers were waylaid by COVID protocols within Seminole Sue's squad. Just a delay of the eventual loss.

    Why do these ACC Nothing but Net gals have this burning love affair with Olivia Miles and Notre Dame? It wouldn't have anything to do with unmuffled McGraw on the show, would it? Gee, I didn't know Notre Dame was a national powehouse! And, they have never heard of Emily Engstler or Olivia Cochran, seemingly.

    A good win for you all. We'll be battling Virginia and Pitt for the bottom of the league, so thanks for putting a L on them.

    Nice write Daryl. You know you are my favorite writer here at Cardinal Couple.

    Your Friend
    # 1 Clemson Fan
    Greer, SC

  4. Well, there goes the Sunday Cards WBB watching plans. Damn COVID.

    I was listening to a talk show yesterday that was discussing the future of COVID. The general consenus was that it is here to stay, like seasonal flu/ I'm not going to get in to medical advice here, but I think that there is a responsibility for all of us to get vaccinated, get the booster and continue to follow masking and basic sanitizing policies.

    Sad to share that my youngest sister contracted COVID and it's put her in the hospital and on a ventilator. She'S married and has three kids, the rest of the family negative so far but they waited seven hours to get tested yesterday. Results not back yet. They arent showing any symptoms yet, thank God.

    Please be responsible and protect yourself and others.

    Blue Lou


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