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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! 



  1. Louisville got hot at the right time but as other ACC foes watch this one they'll realize that scoring inside on the Cards is so easy, especially if you have an offensively productive big like a Cunane, Kitley or Notre Dame's front line.

    Defense saved the day, keeping in mind that Syracuse had four turnovers in the final four minutes and went 2-6 from the floor in those four minutes.

    Give me those Carr sisters on this Cardinals squad any day.

    Nick O

  2. I hope Engstler isn't going to turn into a player with an attitude problem. Yeah I know, it was an emotional game for her playing her previous school and she was coming off a COVID pause, but you have to keep your emotions in check out there if something doesn't go your way.

    Kianna just keeps on delivering. I can't imagine we would be 14-1 without her.

    And I got my results back this morning. Yep, I got COVID. But, I don't feel all that bad. A little fever, cough and runny nose. I'll take the five days off work, no problem, and catch up on my sleep.

    Curtis "Be Kind" Frankin

    1. Love Engstler, only thing I DON'T like is the arguing about calls, does it a lot. Hope she doesn't cost us a game with that.

  3. First, just happy it was a one game missed pause.
    Second, this game we were more proficient on offense than defense, bodes well for the rest of the season.
    Third, the MAIN thing I've seen this year is they KNOW how to close games.
    Besides that first ot game, we've made plays offensively AND defensively down the stretch in the "closer" games to secure the victory.
    Last, Syracuse gave us all we wanted.

  4. Sorry to hear Curtis, I hope your symptoms stay light and you don't need any hospitalization.

    It was interesting to see the huge majority of the crowd maskless. With screaming cheerleaders in front of me and a pep band blowing musical air on me, behind me...I wore my mask all game.

    BC is playing lights out lately and it'll be a tough test up there for the Cards. They look a whole lot better than the team we demolished in the YUM.


  5. Every game in the ACC is going to be a dog fight,this is not a cup cake


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