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!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Walz Pre-Ohio State presser 11/29/22 -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



Louisville women's basketball coach Jeff Walz met with members of the media Tuesday afternoon in the interview room of the KFC YUM! Center to discuss the upcoming game Wednesday night against #4/6 Ohio State. 

Coach Walz answered a variety of questions about a variety of subjects in the 14-minute presser. Some of his talking points...

-- a preview of Ohio State

-- what Louisville must do well to win

-- how the freshmen and transfers were adapting to Louisville and Walz style basketball

-- how the team was specifically progressing

-- Hailey Van Lith's status

-  Norika Konno's growth and game

-- different lineup combinations

-- completing the entire possession and game

-- the upcoming ACC vs SEC WBB challenge series

-- compliments to Volleyball

You can here the entire 14 minute interview at the link below:




We offer and sincere and humble "Thank You!" to you, the readers...and the staff here at Cardinal Couple for the help, care, concern and "checking in" over the past two weeks. As some of you my know, both my wife Sonja and I contracted COVID-19 back around the middle of November, 

It was a rougher stretch for me than her, but we finally got the "all clear" and tested negative Sunday afternoon. 

We really appreciate the calls, messages, texts and e-mails you sent to check up on us and the kind deliveries of food and needed things while we were quarantined. 

A special THANK YOU to Jeff, Jared, Case and Daryl for jumping in and running Cardinal Couple during this period also. They say you're only as good as your team, and I feel very fortunate to have the best team out there.

I'm glad to report we are feeling much better and I am just suffering fatigue and "COVID-BRAIN" where confusion still reigns at times and thoughts aren't always easy to express and formulate. (Those of you who have known me for awhile are probably remarking..."heck, he's always been that way...") Feeling stronger each day, though. 

Much thanks again and it's good to be back in the population again. 


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Volleyball Nearly Sweeps ACC Awards -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Volleyball Nearly Sweeps ACC Awards

Louisville volleyball's dominating showing this season, especially in conference play, helped them take four of the five ACC Awards.

Claire Chaussee was named ACC Player of the Year. Chaussee, a bit of a dark horse for the award at the beginning of the year, beat out others such as Julia Bergmann of Georgia Tech and a trio of Pitt players. Chaussee tallied 370 kills this season while averaging 3.81 kills per set. She reached 1000 career kills this season.

Amaya Tillman was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Tillman ranked sixth in the country with 1.53 blocks per set and logged 141 total blocks. She was also named ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2020.

Raquel Lazaro
was named ACC Setter of the Year. Lazaro transferred in from USC for her final year of eligibility. In her lone season with the Cards, Lazaro had 925 assists on the year while averaging 9.95 assists per set. Her season high is 57 assists in a five-set comeback win over Georgia Tech.

Coach Dani Busboom Kelly was named ACC Coach of the Year. Under Busboom Kelly, Louisville went 26-2, was named a 1-seed for the second straight year, won their third straight ACC title, ranked second nationally in blocks, and ranked 10th nationally in hitting percentage.

The lone award Louisville did not take was ACC Freshman of the Year. Emma Farrell of Wake Forest took that award. Louisville did not have any true freshmen play this season due to redshirts, so a  Louisville player could not win by default.

Louisville also had five Cards named to the All-ACC First Team. Chaussee, Tillman, Lazaro, Aiko Jones, and Elena Scott all received recognition. With the exception of Lazaro, the other four Cards have been named to the All-ACC Teams in the past.

The Cards gear up for the NCAA Tournament and will host Samford on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at L&N FCU Arena.

(Photos by Jared Anderson)

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Sunday, November 27, 2022

Louisville Volleyball a #1 seed in NCAA Tournament -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Louisville Volleyball reacts to their 1-seed

We did have to wait a while to find out, while watching the NCAA Volleyball Selection Show, but the Louisville Cardinals are the #1 seed in their region and will open NCAA Tournament play Friday, December 7 p.m. against Samford.   The Cards weren't announced until the final of the four brackets were revealed. 

Purdue and Tennessee will also travel to Louisville to square off against each other in the LNFCU, They'll play at 4 p.m.

The Samford Bulldogs earned an automatic qualifier bid after beating Furman in three sets Sunday to win the Southern Conference Volleyball Tournament. Samford went 19-12 in the regular season and was 11-5 in Southern Conference play. 

All told, five ACC teams made the tournament. Louisville, Pitt (a #2 seed), Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami

Seven SEC schools got in (Kentucky, Georgia, Auburn, LSU, Florida, Tennessee and Arkansas) and the Big10 had six make the tournament. (Ohio St, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Penn State, Purdue and Nebraska.) 

We'll have more on this as the week advances. We had photographer Jared Anderson and Volleyball writer Jeff McAdams at the selection show, but they were not included in the entire post-show interview with Louisville Volleyball head coach Dani Busboom Kelly. 

Louisville ends the regular season with a 26-2 record and was 17-1 in ACC play. 

Shortened interview with Dani Busboom Kelly.

Interview with Anna DeBeer.

Interview with Amaya Tillman.

Another commercial break?!

You can see the entire bracket at the link below: 

2022 NCAA Volleyball bracket

(photos by Jared Anderson)


A Day of Rest - Sunday Cardinal Couple

A Clear Calendar

The GoCards site composite calendar is empty today and tomorrow, and only has a men's basketball game for Tuesday.  The next UofL women's competition event isn't until Wednesday.  Now is a good time to take a deep breath, maybe even an afternoon nap if you like.  It's been a busy fall and soon we'll fall into the winter basketball pattern, but for now, we've got a bit of a breather.

We do have one event to think about today, however, and that's the Volleyball Selection show for the NCAA tournament.  The selection show will be on ESPNU at 7:30 tonight, a bit of a step up from past years when it's been late in the evening.  ESPN has also given a nice nod to the volleyball community by scheduling a half hour filler show after the Miami vs UCF football game in an extra effort to be sure that the selection show gets to start on time.

So what are UofL's prospect for selection?  First, UofL is guaranteed a position in the tournament by virtue of winning the automatic qualifier for the ACC.  While the ACC considers UofL and Pitt to be co-champions for the conference title for the year, they do have tie breaker rules in order to decide the AQ, and UofL topped Pitt in those tie breakers based on the number of sets won in our head to head matches (5 vs 3 as we swept them while they had to go five sets to beat us).  So, UofL will be guaranteed to be in the tournament, not that there is any doubt of UofL, or Pitt for that matter, getting a bid in any case.

The NCAA will be seeding 32 teams in the tournament this year, up from 16 in past years.  The top 16 seeds will have the opportunity to host the first and second rounds.  By seeding 32 teams, there will be less geographically oriented placement of the rest of the teams.  The idea of UofL not getting a top 16 seed is pretty much laughable, so count on volleyball competition happening at L&N FCU Arena December 2nd and 3rd.

Beyond the first two rounds, the top four teams that advance to the Sweet 16 get the opportunity to host the third an fourth rounds.  So this would be, in a fully chalk situation, the top four seeds in the tournament.  For Louisville not to get a top four seed would be, in my estimation, a pretty major snub.  The third and fourth rounds, presuming Louisville advances, would be at the KFC Yum! Center on December 8th and 10th.

So, prognostication time.  The NCAA typically hews fairly close to RPI rankings for volleyball, giving it more credence than the AVCA coaches poll.  Most years the difference between the two is minimal.  This year, however, there are some pretty radical divergence between them at the top.  These haven't been updated yet for the past week of games, so this is only accurate through game up to November 20th.  Matches in the past week may see some changes in these rankings.

RPI Top 10
  1. Texas
  2. Louisville
  3. Stanford
  4. Pittsburgh
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Ohio State
  7. Nebraska
  8. Kentucky
  9. San Diego
  10. Oregon
AVCA Coaches Poll Top 10
  1. Texas
  2. San Diego
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Louisville
  5. Nebraska
  6. Stanford
  7. Pittsburgh
  8. Ohio State
  9. Minnesota
  10. Oregon

We'd like to hear your predictions in the comments.  I think UofL gets the 2 seed which would, based on the latest RPI, set us up to play Iowa State in the second round, Baylor in the third, and Nebraska in the fourth, to get to the Final Four where a rematch with Stanford would be waiting...assuming all higher seeds advance in every match.

We hope to have interviews with Coach DBK and a couple of players from right after the selection show, so look for those in tomorrow's Cardinal Couple article and on the Cardinal Couple Youtube channel.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Case, Daryl, Paulie, and myself were all on the call for the CCRHP yesterday and we had a ball discussing basketball and volleyball.  We covered the fun romp of basketball over Longwood, and the volleyball season finale at Notre Dame.  We did cover some of the information about volleyball tournament.

Listen to the end to find out what sports balls are bigger than a basketball!

Find it at, or any respectable podcast directory:

- JMcA

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Cards Romp in Home Return -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Louisville Crushes Longwood 100-37

I almost went all of November without a Saturday write, and it wasn't even because of deer hunting. After a wedding in Memphis the first weekend, a wedding in which I was in the party the second, and sleeping off a whirlwind work trip in which I went to Reno, NV and back in 32 hours for a 1.5 hour meeting last weekend, we're back on schedule.

And speaking of back on schedule, Louisville took care of business as expected against the Lancers of Longwood when they returned to the Yum! Center yesterday afternoon. After the surprising loss against Gonzaga, the rebound win against Texas, and then what may have been an even more surprising loss to South Dakota State, Louisville was in need of a game like yesterday's. In fairness, South Dakota State is 4-2 and has played four P5 teams and Creighton. They lost to the Jays 78-69 to open the season and fell to UCLA by 7 last Saturday but have beaten Mississippi State, Rutgers, and Lehigh in addition to Louisville. That isn't what we're here to talk about, though, so lets move on.

The major item of note before we get into the game was the absence of Hailey Van Lith. All that we know officially is that this was a scheduled rest day for HVL. After playing 124/130 minutes in the Bahamas, and with Ohio State on deck, Coach Jeff Walz and HVL decided this game against Longwood was one that she could afford to take a break on. While I'm mildly surprised that she wasn't dressed at all, especially with the amount of rest on either side of this game, it ultimately wasn't that big of a deal. We'll keep our ears to the ground to see if there might have been more to this story, but hopefully she's back in action against OSU and we won't have anything to speculate about.

In Van Lith's absence, some other players got the opportunity to shine. In fact, most of the team grabbed their chance to perform well, though you may expect that when a team scores nearly as many points in a single quarter as their opponent scores in the entire game. Louisville put up a 35 point first quarter and very nearly could have played defense only for the rest of the game. On the day, no Cardinal logged more than 26 minutes, an honor which went to Norika Konno, and everyone played at least 16. Every Card except for Mykasa Robinson scored and six players put it in double figures. Josie Williams got her first start and scored four to go along with six rebounds, an assist, and a block. Unfortunately, she was 0-4 from inside the arc and just 1-2 from the line, so there is plenty more there from her, and I'm sure we'll see it soon. 

The star of the day was Norika Konno. We've been longing to see her back on the court, and she did not disappoint in her return. Konno finished with 10 points and very nearly had a triple double. She snagged eight rebounds and dished out seven assists while also adding a steal and two blocks. On top of that, she did so extremely cleanly, as she turned the ball over just once and was the only Cardinal not to register a foul. As Paulie put it in our group chat yesterday, playing 3v3 was the best thing Konno could have done for her game other than grow six inches. 

You'll notice I eschewed a normal game recap, but that's because there isn't a lot to say. Louisville didn't play with their food. The Cards jumped out early with a three from Chrislyn Carr six seconds into the game. They were the first of her game high 17 points. After another score from Louisville, Longwood scored a layup on their second possession. They wouldn't score again for two and a half minutes, a period in which Louisville would add 13 points to their total to lead 18-2. The next few minutes were pretty even, with Louisville's lead hovering around 16 points until Longwood got to 10 points. After that it was like they hit some sort of invisible barrier, turning the ball over three times in the last two minutes to go along with three missed shots. Louisville, on the other hand, went about business as usual and scored another 11 to take a 25 point lead into the quarter break. 

The second and third quarters were near matches to one another, with Louisville scoring 19 points in each quarter and Longwood adding 19 between the two. Again, the Lancers couldn't score more than 10 in a quarter. The final quarter saw Louisville stretch their wings again to close the game out. The Cards started a bit clunkily, turning the ball over and fouling to prevent a runout. However, after a Payton Verhulst jumper (she finished with 16) and a three from Adriana Shipp, who led Longwood with 14, Louisville clamped down. They went on to win the fourth 27-8, hitting the 100 mark on a Merissah Russell three-pointer with a minute left. Walz didn't exactly call off the dogs, as Louisville couldn't run out the clock, but Longwood was happy to do so. After a Louisville turnover with 30 seconds remaining, the Lancers held for a final shot. The three ball to get them to 40 was off the mark and Louisville pulled down the deadball rebound as time expired to go to 5-2 overall.

Joining Carr, Verhulst, and Konno in double digits were Morgan Jones (15), Olivia Cochran (10), and Russell (11). Cochran led both teams with 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double. As you might expect from the final score, Louisville was significantly ahead in every category. Let's just have a look at the statistical reports.

The FRED Report

F - Free Throws: Louisville got to the line a fair amount, though more than half of their 15 total came in the first quarter. In that frame, they were 6-8, and they made six of their remaining seven attempts through the rest of the game. As it's the beginning of the name, a letter awarded is capital or there's no letter at all. 80% is greater than 70% (thanks, common core math) so that's a capital 'F'.

R - Rebounding: 57-23. Louisville cleaned up on the boards. They had 14 offensive rebounds, which led to 11 second chance points. On the other end, they held Longwood to just five offensive rebounds and didn't allow them to score after any of them. Capital 'R'.

E - Effort/Execution: After a couple of losses, Louisville needed to show their mettle, and they did. The Cards worked for the entire game, not allowing some lopsided fourth quarter in a blowout, and every player gave it their all in the minutes they played. Though they finished with 18 turnovers, they gave up just four points on the ensuing possessions. They also scored 100 without their team leader on the floor. Capital 'E'.

D - Defense: The Cards gave up no fast break points, just 14 points in the paint, and just 37 overall. They had ten steals, five blocks, and forced 20 turnovers. Longwood's best shooting percentage was 27%, which came in the quarter in which they scored their fewest points. A pretty solid defensive effort if you ask me. Capital 'D'.

Vince Vaughn plays Santa's brother, Fred Claus

The CASE Report

C - Care: Louisville turned the ball over a lot. 18 turnovers is not going to put you in a comfortable position in a lot of games. However, despite their 1-4 record, Longwood is turning teams over at a  respectable rate. Their average was 18 coming in, and Louisville hit that mark. On the other hand, we're looking for Louisville to outperform their opponent's defense. They'll get no credit for being under 60% of the opponent's average, but they did turn the ball over fewer times than Longwood, so it's a lowercase 'c'.

A - Assists: The Cards were spreading the ball around yesterday. While all but one player scored, all but two assisted. They finished with 23 assists on 38 made baskets, which exceeds the 50% assist rate we're looking for. As is typical, though, a high turnover game hurts here. Despite the 18 turnovers, Louisville was still positive in Assist-to-Turnover ratio, but their 1.28 ATO is shy of the 1.5 we're looking for. (Am I changing it from 2.0 this season? Yes, yes I am). Lowercase 'a'.

S - Steals: As you might expect with a solid defensive performance, this is a relatively easy one to award. Half of Longwood's turnovers were of the pocket-picking variety, as the Cards finished with 10 steals. That's more than 7.5 and more than the six that Longwood could muster. Capital 'S'.

E - Efficiency: Louisville shot 56% from the floor and 60% from three to go along with their 80% free throw rate. To make it even better, that 60% wasn't some measly 3-5. Louisville was lights out, hitting 12 threes in the game. While that means the field goal percentage was buoyed by the threes, they were still 54% from two point land and scored 48 points in the paint. Capital 'E'.

That gives final scores of F-R-E-D and c-a-S-E. It's hard to take away from a 63-point victory, but I'm sure there are some things Coach Walz will point out in practice for them to clean up. The Cards come away with what should be a full head of steam, and will hopefully disregard whatever number ends up by their name Monday. For the rest of the season, it shouldn't matter who is ranked what, only who comes to play on any given night. The next night for the Cards is Wednesday, as they close out November with Ohio State in the Big 10/ACC Challenge. The game will be on the primary ACC Network channel and tips off at 7:30 PM.

Post game Verhulst and Cochran:

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

What I imagine Paulie's setup would be
if he ran the show.
After a week off for various reasons (my sleeping past the podcast start time being one of them), we're back with another edition of the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast this week. We'll have nearly a full house, as Jared is on the road to photograph the Battle of the Bluegrass. There's plenty to discuss, as Louisville WBB has played almost their whole season since the last show and volleyball clinched a share of the ACC title, so be sure to join us. 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
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, November 25, 2022



Good morning readers!  How's the turkey hangover?  I hope you were able to get together with some loved ones yesterday and enjoy a meal.   I did enjoy some family time while watching football late into the evening. A perfect day by my book!

This year I am very thankful for my new job with UofL, my health and this little stinker who has been assisting me in my weekly posts since the end of June! 


#10 Louisville vs Longwood 
KFC Yum! Center at 12:00 P.M. 
ACCNX or 93.9 ESPN the Ville   

Today, Louisville WBB welcomes the Longwood Lancers to the KFC Yum! Center.  The Cardinals have had success at home during non-conference play winning 37-straight non-conference home games dating back to the 2016-17 season.

Hailey Van Lith has totaled 127 points this season, a mark that ranks second in the ACC and fourth nationally. She also ranks second in the ACC in points per game with 21.2 and has scored 20 or more points in three of her six games this season.

About the Lancers

Longwood won the Big South Tournament Championship last season after knocking off the top-seed Campbell in the championship game. In the NCAA Tournament, Longwood defeated Mount St. Mary's in the First Four before falling to NC State in the first round. The Lancers went 22-12 last season and so far this year they are 1-3. 

The Lancers last played on Nov. 17 falling to James Madison 55-82 at home. Senior guard Anne Hamilton LeRoy leads the team with 14.3 points per game and she is one of three players that is averaging double-digit points. LeRoy scored a career-high 23 points in the loss to JMU.   Brooke Anya also scored a career-high with 14 points on the night.  The Lancer's only win came as a 1 point win 66-65 over Ohio University back on November 10th.

The Lancer mascot is Elwood, a horse, and the official logo features a horse's head atop a lance. Founded in 1839, it is the third-oldest public university in Virginia and one of the hundred oldest institutions in the US.  This is a pre-Civil War institution in Virginia with history of Robert E Lee and Ulysses S Grant marching on the institution's campus at one point.    

Series History

This is the first meeting between the two teams. Louisville has only played three opponents from the Big South in program history and are 3-0 in those games. The last time Louisville played an opponent from the current Big South Conference was 2011 when they defeated Gardner-Webb 92-27.

Cards in the Rankings

The Cards recently fell in the polls to #10 after falling to Gonzaga (67-79 OT) and San Diego State (55-65) in the Battle 4 Atlantis this past weekend.

See you all down at the Yum! Center as the Cards look to get back to their winning ways!  I'm sure you have some Louisville lovers on your list that would LOVE for some new Cardinals swag from the team shop! 

As Always 
Go Cards!


Thursday, November 24, 2022

Volleyball Wins ACC Title -- Happy Thanksgiving! -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Louisville Volleyball Sweeps Notre Dame, Wins ACC Title

It was a great night for Louisville volleyball as they closed out the regular season with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-13) sweep at Notre Dame. The win also guaranteed the Cards at least a share of the ACC title, pending what Pitt does against Boston College on Saturday.

Pitt survived a scare against Georgia Tech last night, winning the final set 19-17 (play to 15, but win by two). A Pitt loss to Boston College on Saturday would give Louisville the ACC Championship by themselves. A Pitt win would mean the Cards and Panthers share the ACC title.

Notre Dame celebrated their final home match of the regular season at the Purcell Pavilion and the Irish did not want to go down without a fight. The hosts held a small lead midway through the first quarter before Louisville pulled ahead. The Cards held a small lead in the second set, but could never pull away as Notre Dame continued to battle close. Louisville made some halftime adjustments and cruised through the third set for the win.

Louisville finishes the regular season 26-2 overall and 17-1 in the ACC. They lost in four sets at home to a top-10 Ohio State team early in the season and lost to a top-10 Pitt team, whom they later swept on Senior Day at the L&N FCU Arena, in five sets on the road a few weeks ago. The Cards seem to sit comfortably in the top four spots according to the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

The NCAA Selection Show is Sunday evening, but it appears we could see Louisville host four matches, provided they win, here in town.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We typically don't do a true article on Thanksgiving, but we felt highlighting the success of Louisville volleyball important enough to break tradition.

However, we still would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! We all have personal things to be thankful for, but here at Cardinal Couple, we are especially grateful for YOU, the readers. Cardinal Couple is nothing without you. Whether you just like to read our coverage on Louisville women's athletics, or you enjoy our podcasts, or you like to engage in conversation and discussion in our comment threads, we would be nothing without you.

Covering the 'Joy and Excitement of Louisville Women's Athletics' is a passion we all have and we strive to bring you the latest news and in-depth coverage.

We wish each and every one of you a safe, healthy, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thursday, Happy Thanksgiving, and Go Cards!


PS. Paulie has elected to take Friday off from going to Louisville women's basketball vs Longwood as he continues to recover from COVID-19. He has entrusted Daryl and I to take the reins for the game so we will still be present to provide coverage of the game.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Volleyball Ends Regular Season -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



Louisville Volleyball heads to South Bend today to play in their final match of the regular season against Notre Dame. The match is slated for 7:30 p.m. in the Purcell Pavilion and will be on the ACCNX.

Louisville can gain a share of the regular season title and wait to see how Pittsburgh does in their final two matches, vs Georgia Tech tonight and vs. Boston College Saturday. For Louisville, it's pretty simple -- "win and you're in" --  as the automatic qualifier for the ACC in the NCAA Tournament. We get asked all the time, so I'll repeat it again...the ACC does not have a conference tournament in Volleyball. In case of a tie in records, the tie-breaker between the Cards and Pitt would come down to sets won in the two meetings. Louisville won five, Pitt three. 

The Irish are 9-17 on the season and 4-12 in the ACC. They and the Cards met in Louisville on Oct 26th. and Louisville won the three sets and match 25-10, 25-22, and 25-14. Claire Chaussee had 16 kills for Louisville in that match and Amaya Tillman had 12. Notre Dame lost the last time they played, against NC State, in three sets. Notre Dame is one of four schools at the bottom of the conference standings with just four conference wins, along with Virginia, Virginia Tech and Clemson.  

The NCAA selection show is on Sunday, Nov 27th  at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

If the Cards host first and second round NCAA matches they would be Dec 2nd and Dec 4th at the L&N Federal Credit Union (times to be announced). If Louisville is a top four seed, and they advance, they would move to the KFC YUM! Center for matches that will be held on Dec 8th and 10th. 

Louisville is 25-2 on the season and 16-1 in the ACC. Pitt gave them their lone conference loss and they also fell to Ohio State in out-of-conference action.

Here's hoping the Cards take care of business tonight. 

(photos by Jared Anderson) 


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

WBB Falls to South Dakota State 65-55 -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Women's Basketball Suffers Second Loss at Battle 4 Atlantis 

The woes continue for Louisville women's basketball, as they fell to South Dakota State in their final game of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament, 65-55. Hailey Van Lith was the top scorer for the Cards with 26 points.

Minus HVL's high-scoring performance, the rest of the Louisville squad combined for 29 points with no one scoring more than seven points. The Cards shot a combined 20-55 (36.4%) from the field with a 5-16 (31.3%) mark from three-point range. While Louisville was able to limit their turnovers with 12, they struggled with fouls by committing 24. Rebounding was awful as South Dakota State won the rebounding battle 41-24.

Jeff Walz chose to go with a smaller lineup as the only "big" for Louisville to see double-digit minutes was Olivia Cochran with 22:05 floor time. Chrislyn Carr and Mykasa Robinson each saw about three and a half minutes of on-court action while Hailey Van Lith stayed on the floor for the entirety of the game.

No Cardinal recorded more than five rebounds. Louisville had success in forcing 20 turnovers while only committing 12. Despite recording nine steals, Louisville was only able to turn that into five fast break points. South Dakota State had 11 second chance points as opposed to Louisville, who made two second chance baskets for four points. The Jackrabbits also had better success in the paint with 30 points while Louisville had 22 points in the paint.

1Q: Louisville 11, South Dakota State 8

After trailing 8-4 roughly two-thirds through the opening period, Louisville rallied around a 7-0 run to close out the quarter. Although the offense was underwhelming, the defense had a strong showing by surrendering just eight points and shutting out the Jackrabbits in the final 3:26.

2Q: South Dakota State 26, Louisville 19

It appeared as if the Cards were destined to build a comfortable lead in the second quarter by scoring six of the first eight points, but a four and a half minute drought proved fatal. After going up seven, Louisville allowed the Jackrabbits to score 16 points over the final 6:13 before halftime.

3Q: South Dakota State 46, Louisville 39

If you like defense then this quarter is not for you. The two foes combined for 40 points in the third quarter alone with a combined 14-25 (56%) shooting. The Jackrabbits extended their lead to 17 midway through the quarter before Louisville closed out the quarter with an 11-1 run.

4Q South Dakota State 65, Louisville 55

Missed opportunities were the theme of the fourth quarter for Louisville. The Cards cut their deficit to three with 6:30 remaining in the game. A few defensive stops and a few made baskets could've turned the game around for Louisville, but that's not how the story would unfold. Four missed shots and a pair of fouls would plague the next several possessions for Louisville, allowing the Jackrabbits to push their lead back to 11 with three minutes remaining. Louisville would never get closer than within eight points the remainder of the game.

FRED Report

FRED Thompson's facial expression says it all
in terms of how the Cards played in this one.)

Free Throws: Louisville shot 10-15 (66.7%) from the charity stripe. HVL and Kasa combined to go 7-8 but Olivia Cochran and Norika Konno (glad to see Norika playing again) went a combined 3-7. South Dakota State shot 20-26 from the free throw line here. The Cards miss out on a letter here.

Rebounding: Getting outrebounded 41-24 and having just seven offensive rebounds won't win you many ballgames. Seeing eight (out of 11) Cards log at least one rebound is good but six of them had three rebounds or less so it doesn't do much. Getting outrebounded by such a large margin is unworthy of a letter.

Effort/Efficiency: Without being able to watch this game on tv or online (thanks, FloHoops), it's hard to say Louisville didn't put forth effort. The lack of rebounding and lack of scoring by a majority of the team makes me suspect that maybe 100% effort wasn't there from the team as a whole. Shooting 36% from the field and having very little success in the second chance points and fast break points isn't great either. However, after turnovers caused some trouble in earlier games this season, limiting turnovers to 12 is enough to sneak in a lowercase "e".

Defense: If we could award a letter to a single quarter then the first quarter would have a capital letter. The other three quarters, at least in terms of points allowed were bad. The Jackrabbits averaged 19 points per quarter over the final three periods. The positive is that this was South Dakota State's second lowest scoring total this season after they were limited to 63 points against Sam Purcell's Mississippi State. Holding a team six points under their season average, especially a team like South Dakota State, is enough a lowercase "d", although I'm cautiously awarding that letter.

_-_-e-d. Ouch. And that's me being somewhat generous.

The good news is that the season is still young and both losses so far are to teams I fully expect will make the NCAA Tournament. This Louisville has a ton of new faces that haven't fully adjusted to the Jeff Walz system yet. I'll be concerned if this is the same Louisville team we see in January. I think the Cards will look much different- and much better- come conference play and then post-season time.

Louisville drops to 4-2 on the season and finished sixth in the Bahamas Battle 4 Atlantis. The Cards travel back for a fairly quick turnaround as they gear up for a game against Longwood on Black Friday at noon. The game is promoted as Kids Day.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Monday, November 21, 2022

WBB Resurface in Atlantis with 71-63 win over Texas -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



I would say it looked like a completely different UofL WBB squad Sunday night that defeated #3 Texas, but, since I resorted to listening to both Saturday and Sunday's game on the radio, let's just say that it sounded like #4/6 Louisville had a lot more enthusiasm, hustle and played better than they did against Gonzaga in the Battle 4 Atlantis.

The Cards pushed out to an early 5-0 lead but stumbled a bit and allowed the Longhorns to go on a responding 7-0 run to grab the lead. A Van Lith three gave Louisville the lead back about halfway thru the quarter, and the Cards pushed the advantage out to 16-9 late in the quarter en route to a 16-11 first quarter edge. 

Louisville was going full tilt and Morgan Jones (seven) and Hailey Van Lith (four) had 11 of the Cards first quarter points. 

Texas wasn't going to go away that easily, though, and battled back to take a 20-18 lead with 2-1/2 minutes passed in the second quarter. It was UofL's turn for a run and they put together a 11-0 one, fueled by four points each for Jones and Van Lith and a Carr three, to make it 29-20 UofL. The Cards saw their 31-21 lead get whittled down to 31-28 before another Jones jumper stopped the Longhorn stampede of scoring. Van Lith free throws made it 35-30 with a minute left in the half, but UT closed on a 4-0 run to make it a 35-34, one-point Louisville halftime lead, . 

Louisville was shooting 50% but had committed 15 fouls and had 11 turnovers. 

Texas kept it close in the third quarter and did grab the lead briefly a couple of times, but, Louisville responded each time and two Josie Williams free throws and one from Chrislyn Carr in the last minute of the third quarter had Louisville ahead 50-47. 

Carr poured in nine points for the Cards in the fourth quarter (six from the free throw line) and the Cards made 12-13 as a team in the fourth quarter from the stripe to secure the win late. The big run was UofL's and it was a 10-0 one midway through the final quarter. With the Cards up 53-52

The nearly five-minutes run featured a Cochran free throw, Carr three-pointer, Jones layup, two Carr free-throws and two Van Lith free throws. It was now 63-52 and just three minutes to go. Texas would not recover from that.

(Fred McMurray would have been proud of "My Three Guards"
in this one -- Carr, Jones and Van Lith) 


FREE THROWS -- 21 for 28 is 75% and that's over 70% and that's all we ask to bestow a capital "F" in this category. 15-18 from Carr and Van Lith here...all this battle. 

REBOUNDS --  32 rebounds for each squad "TEAM" led the Cards in rebounds with there's that, I guess. Van Lith had six. A better performance on the boards than on Saturday, but...No rebounding win, no letter. 

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- 43.4% shooting is not bad at all, but it sounded like Louisville was really hustling on both ends on offense and defense and 13 assists on 25 baskets about average. The whistles were ridiculous in this one, four Cards with four fouls each is not so good, and Louisville had 10 fast break points. I'll award a small case "e". 

DEFENSE -- Holding the (for now) #3 team in the land to 63 points and forcing them into 19 turnovers worked well for the Cards. They also had eight steals. Cards won, so I'll go with a capital "D" here


The Cards end their portion of the "Battle" today when they face South Dakota State at 5 p.m. Radio (93.9 FM or 970 AM) are the options. 


Sunday, November 20, 2022

Cards Sunk in Atlantis -- SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Louisville Falls in OT 79-67

When I traded writes with Jeff late Friday night, I was expecting to cover a victory, even if it was a little tighter than expected. Gonzaga is scrappy and has played the Cards well in recent meetings. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, as Louisville fell behind in the first quarter and never recovered the momentum. After trailing by 9 after one and bringing the deficit down to one before the half, Louisville was unable to turn the tide completely and take control of the game. Once the clock struck zero with the score tied, Louisville may as well have forgotten that they needed to continue playing.

The game started out well enough, with the Cards getting a steal on the opening possession and turning over Gonzaga on the second after the Zags got a defensive rebound. After a missed three by Gonzaga split a pair of paint jumpers from Olivia Cochran, Louisville led 4-0. What followed was the first of many Gonzaga runs. Another missed three by Gonzaga led to a put back to get them on the board. The ensuing play saw a steal from Cochran turn into a fastbreak layup to tie the game. A turnover by Liz Dixon gave Gonzaga the lead, and then Louisville missed three shots on one possession when they had the chance to tie. Cochran pulled down another defensive rebound on the next Gonzaga shot, but she had her pocket picked once more and Gonzaga doubled their advantage.

At this point, midway through the first quarter, an 8-4 deficit is ugly, but there is plenty of opportunity to clean things up. Louisville chose the opposite. While they traded baskets a couple of more times to bring the score to 11-10, the turnovers and Gonzaga offensive rebounds continued. After turnovers on back-to-back possessions for Louisville, Jeff Walz found himself on the receiving end of a T hand gesture from the official. Unlike when Walz makes the motion for a timeout, this one was a technical and sent Gonzaga to the line for two. They converted to move their lead to 13-10. A missed jumper kept Louisville from getting into too deep of a hole and the Cards responded by cutting the deficit back to 1. After a made basket by Gonzaga, Hailey Van Lith was called for an offensive foul and turned it over. Following in the footsteps of her leader, HVL expressed her displeasure and earned herself a two-for-one deal--adding a technical to her foul. This time, Gonzaga capitalized, making both free throws and scoring on the free possession to take a seven-point lead. In the final minute, they grabbed another steal and scored to make it a 21-12 game. HVL held for the final shot of the quarter, but her three was off the mark with one second left and the quarter came to a close.

Louisville appeared to have sorted things out during the timeout. After giving up 8-14 shooting in the first and handing Gonzaga 4 points at the free throw line, Louisville buckled down. They allowed just 4-12 shooting in the second quarter, including 0-1 from beyond the arc, and didn't send Gonzaga to the line once. On the other side, the Cards were 6-15, 1-2, and 3-4, respectively, and even took the lead briefly at 26-25. The good vibes of their 14-4 run were briefly disrupted when Gonzaga scored on back-to-back possessions and forced a turnover with a chance to extend their lead to two possessions. Nyla Harris was there to make up for her turnover with a pair of blocks, but Louisville couldn't cut into the advantage. As Gonzaga worked the clock to get the last shot of the half, Mykasa Robinson stepped in to avenge her previous miss and grabbed a steal to get a fast break layup. Louisville had brought the score back to 29-28 in favor of Gonzaga, but the momentum still wasn't quite in their favor.

The problem with struggling early in a game like last night's is that it's a lot harder to crush an opponent's dreams on a neutral floor. If Louisville goes down by nine against Gonzaga at home and then comes back to take the lead on a 14-4 run in the second quarter, Gonzaga is probably never taking that lead back. On a neutral floor, though, it takes more to swing Uncle Mo' in your favor. The underdog already knows they can beat you. They had been doing it soundly for the better part of two quarters. The only way to put a team like that behind you is to come out strong and refuse to yield.

Louisville looked, briefly, like they might do that to start the second half. Gonzaga was assessed a technical during the break that flipped the halftime advantage to Louisville after HVL made both free throws. A missed three was rebounded offensively and Gonzaga fouled to give Louisville another shot to extend the lead. The Cards responded with another missed three, but Gonzaga couldn't capitalize. Kayleigh Truong pulled down the rebound and found herself with the layup opportunity on the other end. Though she missed the shot, she pulled down her own rebound, before being called for an offensive foul while trying to clear out the lane. Louisville moved their lead to three with a Cochran jumper, but Truong immediately righted her wrongs by tying the game again with a three-pointer. 

The Truongs had just 19 points and 7 rebounds
but every one was backbreaking.
Two more traded baskets saw the game tied at 34, but Gonzaga's offensive rebounding continued to pressure the Cards. A foul by Dixon sent the Zags to the line for two and another missed three was followed by a fast break to push the lead to four. What came after was a clunky two minutes that saw a combined seven missed baskets and two turnovers. Louisville finally broke through with a basket, only to have their frustrations continue when Gonzaga responded with a three. Combine that with a pair of missed free throws, and the chance to retake control of the game was gone. Louisville would be able to cut the Gonzaga lead to one before the Bulldogs pushed it back to five. As Gonzaga held the ball for the final shot of the quarter with a chance to extend their lead even further, HVL nabbed a steal and hit Nyla Harris for a layup to bring the deficit back to one possession. On the ensuing possession, Gonzaga once more turned it over trying to hold. On the inbound play, it was Payton Verhulst who found herself with the game-tying opportunity, but her three was off the mark.

The fourth quarter started much the same as the others, with Louisville unable to make a real impression on the Gonzaga lead. The Cards cut the deficit to one point twice and both times Gonzaga pushed their lead back to five. After that, Louisville decided that maybe they should avoid trailing by one. A Chrislyn Carr three-pointer cut the lead to two and a steal and fastbreak jumper tied the game at 53 with 4:31 to go. Louisville called timeout and the final media timeout of regulation joined it. Out of the break, Louisville collected a rebound off of a missed Gonzaga three, but turned it over to give the Zags the chance to do what they had tried on the previous possession. They didn't miss again. 

HVL cut the lead to one with a jumper in the paint, but, if you recall, they weren't supposed to trail by one anymore. After Olivia Cochran grabbed a steal in the paint on the other end, it looked like Louisville might have a late chance to put a stamp on the game. Robinson's layup was off the mark though, and Gonzaga pulled down the rebound. The Cards had another shot, after an offensive foul by Gonzaga, but Van Lith's jumper was wide and Gonzaga collected the rebound. Another missed three gave Louisville life, but the Cards couldn't keep Gonzaga off the boards. An offensive rebound kept the play alive and the second-chance three was on the money. Trailing by 4 with 1:46 remaining, it was looking grim for Louisville. The Cards responded with calm. A foul sent HVL to the line where she made both to make the lead two. After a missed three (could someone have gotten Gonzaga to please stop shooting those?), Louisville turned the ball over, but HVL stole it right back. Again she was fouled, and again she sunk both free throws. All of the sudden the game was tied. With a Gonzaga turnover, Louisville took a 61-59 lead with just 44 second left, and fans allowed themselves to hope the Cards might just escape. During the timeout, Gonzaga drew up a play that ultimately didn't matter, as Cochran fouled to send the Zags to the line to tie it. Harris missed a layup with 22 seconds left to regain the lead, but the Cards pulled down the offensive rebound. As they worked the ball back inside for a chance at the win, Kayleigh Truong grabbed a steal with five seconds left. She hit her sister who took the ball up court and fired a three as time expired. It probably would have been less painful to lose that way.

Instead, the shot missed and the teams prepared for overtime. One team seemed to prepare for it better than the other. Louisville gave up a paint jumper in the first eight seconds. After pulling down an offensive rebound on their own miss, Nyla Harris was fouled and sent to the line. She missed both. Louisville returned the favor, but Gonzaga only hit one of two free throws. No matter, as Louisville was unable to score their first points of the period. On the following possession, the Cards gave Gonzaga another chance at that missed free throw, giving up an and-1 to trail by six. With HVL sent to the line, she made only the second, and the parade of free throws continued with a foul on Chrislyn Carr. Gonzaga extended their lead to seven before another missed shot and another foul by Louisville gave them the chance to extend it further. They made one of two to push the lead to eight with 2:34 remaining. HVL finally gave Louisville their first field goal of overtime to cut the lead to six, but Gonzaga responded immediately to stretch it back to eight. Ultimately, Van Lith would hit her only three of the game with 38 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 67-76 before free throws closed it out. Louisville went 2-10 from the floor in overtime, including 1-7 from three. They were just 1-4 on free throws in the period. Meanwhile, Gonzaga was 4-4 from the floor and 10-13 from the line. 

Louisville had plenty of chances to take control of the game and just couldn't do it. While the commentators on the Louisville radio broadcast were upset with officiating, it's hard to think it's too biased when the teams combined for 31 first half turnovers and 49 overall. Louisville only had six more fouls than Gonzaga, and that can be expected as you foul out a game you're trailing in. The Cards led on points in the paint, points off turnovers, and fast break points. What this game came down to was Louisville's inability to end Gonzaga possessions. Louisville was outrebounded 31-50. Gonzaga had nearly as many offensive rebounds (18) as Louisville had defensive rebounds (19) and led the second chance points battle 24-3. If you can't punish your opponent for missing shots, you will have a very difficult time winning games. Louisville's leading rebounder was Olivia Cochran, who had seven. Second on the team was Mykasa Robinson with five. I, like most Louisville fans, love Kasa. She cannot be second on the team in rebounds.

The Cards couldn't hit the broad side of a barn last night. Morgan Jones and Nyla Harris were the only players to shoot over 50%. If you include free throws, which I'm going to do just to nail this point home, Harris drops off the list, but only Robinson joins it. Hailey Van Lith and Payton Verhulst, the two players many are expecting to lead the way scoring, were a combined 8-31 from the field and 2-12 from three. HVL finished with 18 points, thanks to 7-8 free throws, and scored all six of Louisville's overtime points, meaning Louisville's highest scorers in regulation were HVL and Jones with 12. 42% shooting in regulation will do that.

The FRED Report

It was Louisville who bit the dust last night.

F-Free Throws: Louisville finished 10-16 from the line. They shot four free throws in each period except for the first, in which they took none. 62.5% from the line doesn't get it done. While only three of those misses came in regulation and they were clutch in the fourth quarter, every point matters. The opponent was 20-23 from the line. I award no letter.

R-Rebounding: I don't feel I need to get into this one much. See two paragraphs prior. Ick. No Letter.

E-Effort/Efficiency: 42% from the floor is not great but it's not super terrible. However, that fell to 39% after overtime. Add in 20 turnovers and the efficiency is looking rough. That said, they did win in a number of categories and didn't appear to give up, despite their struggles. They came back from large deficits and played hard, final score notwithstanding. I'll give a generous lowercase 'e'.

D-Defense: After the first quarter in which Gonzaga shot 57% from the floor, Louisville held them to 35% or lower in each remaining quarter (until the 4-4 in OT). That turned into a final shooting line of 43%, which is better than Louisville's. The Cards forced 29 turnovers and had 15 steals, but man those second chance points are hard to ignore. Since they played much better after the first quarter and they've already been punished in rebounding, I'll be generous again and award a lowercase 'd'.

The final line of _-_-e-d won't win many games, just like it didn't win this one. Louisville has to improve on the defensive glass if nothing else. The road ahead doesn't get easier. I'll spare you a CASE Report this week. Spoiler alert: it wouldn't be good.

The Cards don't have long to lick their wounds as they'll get #3/5 Texas tonight at 7:30. Like last night's game, this one will be on FloHoops, which is a paid service. You can tune in on the radio, as 93.9 is listed. It's a matchup the Cards expected, but not in this way. After topping 100 in both of their exhibition games, Texas is now 1-2, having failed to score more than 76 points in the regular season, with that number coming in a loss at UCONN. The Longhorns fell 68-61 to Marquette in their opening game in the Bahamas. Both teams will be looking to get their seasons back on track after upsets, and tonight's game will be a test of who can better recover. 

Until next time, Go Cards!