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Monday, December 12, 2022

Strong First Half leads Louisville WBB past UK 86-72


Liz Dixon came to play Sunday at Rupp arena against UK.

Dixon went 5-6 from the floor and 6-7 from the free throw line in 26 minutes against a UK squad that didn't have the answers for stopping her, She even talked about it...albeit briefly, in a post-game couple of comments , indicating she'd played in this rivalry before, knew what to expect, knew what she needed to do and went out and did it. A different venue and different rules for holding post-game pressers with the coach and players Liz was just getting going, when presser moderator asked if there were any final questions for her. We could have listened all night, we few Cardinals media in attendance.  

Hailey Van Lith (21 points) or Morgan Jones (12 points) were big in this one, also. The Cards jumped out to a 14-6 first quarter lead, after a fast break score by Chrislyn Carr and UK never challenged after that. A 21-14 first quarter lead for the Cards, where Dixon had six points and the Cards sank all five free throws.

(Cardinals fans, including former Louisville mayor
Jerry Abramson and wife Madeline were in attendance
Madeline was watching game action, Jerry checking the scoreboard).

Maybe the UK strategy for this contest was "send them to the line and we'll win it there" If it was, Kyra Elzy and crew need to go back to the white board. 27 fouls and allowing a foe 39 free throws can come back to bite you, especially if your opponent make 33 of those free ones. The Cards were not so efficient from the deep, though...going 1-15 from three-point land, All's well that ends well, though, as the Cards win their sixth straight over the school in blue. In his typical slow-play humor fashion, Walz claimed credit for the free throw success and blamed the three-point effort on his assistants. 


(Walz and UK Coach Kyra Elzy share a light moment before the fray)

I mentioned the 14-6 early start for Louisville, the first four Cardinal baskets were scores from inside the paint. If Walz's strategy was to take it inside and out-power UK in the paint, it was working.  After all, it worked for Liz Kitley and Virginia Tech against the Cats, the only team that had handed UK a loss, prior to Sunday. A Merrisah Russell score in the paint, a Josie Williams bucket in the paint, even tiny Chrislyn Carr driving and scoring in the paint -- you get the idea...the Cards had found the key to success. 21-14 and, no, it wasn't football, despite the foot-ball like score. 


Van Lith and Jones jumpers extended the Cards lead to 25-14 and Jones added a couple of (say it with me...) layups in the paint and it was 29-14 with still 6-1/2 minutes to play before halftime Most of the nearly 9,000 in Rupp Arena had gotten strangely quiet, except for the Cardinals fans in attendance. A Dixon jumper plus 1 set the score at 35-22 and the Cards went on a 7-3 streak to end the half with Olivia Cochran connecting (hmmm...I wonder from where?) two seconds before halftime. 42-25 the halftime score and eight Cards had scored in the half, led by Dixon's 10 and Jones 8.


UofL pushed the lead to 20 (50-30) in the first three minutes of the third quarter, on eight free throws...made two-at-a-time by Cochran, Dixon, Dixon again and Van Lith. A Dixon jumper made it 52-30, which turned out to be Louisville's biggest lead of the afternoon. The Cats began cutting into that margin as the quarter progressed and whittled it down to 54-40 with three minutes left in the quarter. The Cats would get within 12 late in the quarter after a Maddie Scherr three, but Carr's jumper as time expired made it 61-47 after three quarters. It wasn't quite nervous time, yet, but stranger things have happen in this rivalry, so Louisville had to maintain for the final 10 minutes. 



Hailey made seven free throws in the fourth quarter and Kasa Robinson six. A Cochran jumper and Van Lith layup pushed the Cards lead out to 65-49 with seven minutes left in the final quarter. A Nyla Harris bucket increased that to 71-51 and Cardinals fans began breathing a bit easier. But UK was going down swinging (sorry, bad pun) and cut the UofL lead to 11 with 2:53 to play. It was 78-67 after Scherr hit two free throws with 2:16 to go, but a Jones put-back on a missed Van Lith three and two Robinson free throws had the tally at 82-67 with 50 seconds to play. Hailey's two free throws ended the scoring with 18 seconds left to give the Cards the 86-72 win. The teams made a combined 16 free throws in the final ten minutes and 43 in the game on 60 attempts. I guess the officiating crew was working on commission...


(Yabba Dabba Doo! Cards gave Cats loss #2..WOO HOO !) 

FREE THROWS -- We mentioned earlier that Louisville was 33-39 from the charity stripe. That's a whopping 85% and easily qualifies for a CAPITAL "F". Jeff Walz did mention in his post-game remarks that he really doesn't pay attention to the percentage made as much as he does the number of free ones made. We're still "percentage folks" here, if a team is sinking them with a high percent, it tends to make the opponent foul you less (unless you're Kentucky). I'm still convinced the Cats defensive strategy is based on..."if you foul them hard enough and often enough, that'll keep them from making baskets". How'd that work out Sunday, UK? 

REBOUNDS -- Louisville won the battle of the boards 44-35. What I may have liked the most about it was that 22 came from the Cards "bigs". The funniest stat here is that "Team" had 8 rebounds in the game for Louisville and 6 for UK. A CAPITAL "R" is awarded, though, and I guess I need the stats-keepers to explain to me what constitutes a "team" rebound. 

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- The Cards shot 44% from the floor, which is pretty good when you figure they shot 7% from three-point range. 16 turnovers isn't too bad, either, especially with UK's ball-hawking guard crew. 14 assists on 26 made baskets is a decent percentage, also. Only two points off fast breaks is a bit disappointing, though. Louisville scored 33 points from the line and 38 points in the paint and coaches love to see their teams get almost half their points from the paint. I'll award the CAPITAL "E" because of these things, the 86 points scored and the win. 

DEFENSE -- Eight blocks is impressive (Jones with four) and 42% shooting for Kentucky show the effort on the defensive end was good, but not particularly great for the Cards. Allowing 72 points and forcing just 14 turnovers also is a few more points and less forced turnovers than I'd like to see. Defense wasn't the main reason Louisville won Sunday, but it was solid enough to keep UK's point total lower than UofL's. I'll go with the small case "d" here.  


So...a fun and successful visit to Lexington Sunday. They still don't have a media buffet (boo) but they give the media a $11 bucks card to use at the concession stand. Mine got me a slice of pizza and box of popcorn. I guess we're spoiled in Louisville...but, it was pretty tasty pizza, 

What's way more important than the culinary situation, though, is that Louisville looked consistently good, played efficiently and beat an SEC school and their in-state rival.


Walz has told us all that it might take a while for this team to jell, but they may have taken a big step toward that jelling Sunday. 

The Cards probably won't see a more one-sided ,away crowd this season. But, despite the occasional encouraging roars from the home crowd, these kitties weren't able to sustain a drive, grab a lead or stand up to this task today. It might be a long season for them once SEC conference play starts. 

The Cards return to action Weds vs Bellarmine in Freedom Hall




  1. So glad to see Cards play with confidence and beat the Cats. I was nervous going into this one but it was a dominating and convincing victory. Let's hope they are getting it together.

    Nick O

  2. Picked the right game to show what they're capable of 💯

  3. Trying to find a link to the post game presser, any ideas?

  4. Good Afternoon ,Cards Nation this was a good performance for the cards moving forward the inside presents were there.Great game from Liz Dixon she could be a very key player moving forward she need to be confident sometimes she rushes her shots.
    Ps I love Nyla Harris she's very confident .

    1. I left out Merissah Russell ,she is showing her skill set. More PT please!! Go Cards!!

  5. Found it ! Post game Walz and Liz after beating UK:



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