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!!

Sunday, December 3, 2023

A Fairly Quiet Saturday for Women's Sports -- SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

A Quiet Saturday

Not much going on for the sports we cover heavily here at Cardinal Couple.  There was, what I think can best be described as a kicking and punting exhibition in Charlotte on the guy's side, for the women, only Swimming and Diving as well as Track and Field were in action.

We have no updates from the water side, but a few notable results from the Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center, where Louisville seems to be poised to do well in jumping events this year.

Synclair Savage picked up a silver in the long jump, while Sophia Day got her college career started with a win in the triple jump.  Autumn Bell and Riley Berger got 3rd and 4th.

Jenna Hensley won the high jump, with another freshman, Aubrey Lane getting her college career going with a 5th place finish.

Kiyah Yeast took 2nd in the women's 60m, with Sinclair Savage right behind in 3rd.  Olivia Jenkins took the 5th spot.

Volleyball Host Settled

After Friday's Volleyball win over Western Michigan, you might have noticed that none of the coverage said much about where the Sweet 16 match would be played.  That's because we didn't know for sure!  There were still 2nd round matches being contested yesterday, and among them was Pitt vs USC (Southern California).

Hosting for Regionals goes to the highest seeded team remaining in the region after the first two rounds are completed.  UofL is the two seed in the region, and Pitt is the one seed, meaning, if USC had upset Pitt - an unlikely, but not unthinkable, idea - the hosting would fall back to Louisville.

Alas, that didn't happen, USC did win the first set of the match, but Pitt hunkered down and got it done in four.  So Pitt will be hosting at the Fitzgerald Field House, and Louisville will have the first match of the day, against three seed Creighton, at noon on Thursday.

Women's Basketball Gameday

A bit of an early start for the Walz crew, with a noon tip vs North Carolina A&T.

Walz was spotted, along with Dani Busboom Kelly, in Charlotte yesterday for the punting and kicking exhibition, but apparently traveled there and back in a private craft, making the travel time reasonable for him to get a pretty good night's rest in his own bed last night.

NC A&T should prove a good competitor for UofL to continue to congeal this aggregate roster.  The progress so far has seemed to be pretty good, but some more mid-major level competition to tune and hone the rough spots will surely be welcome.

(The annual "baby race" is today at halftime !) 

We can't take the Aggies completely for granted, they sport a 3-3 record with the sort of results you would expect from this sort of mid-major.  They sport a beat-em-down win over Guilford College (114-41), and narrower wins over Wake Forest (56-51) and Liberty (56-47).  Loses are to Georgia by a respectable 59-71 margin, Saint Mary's College of California (65-73), and UT Arlington (76-87).

They have four players scoring in double digits per game.  Maleia Bracone leads the way at 12.3 with Jordyn Dorsey right behind at 12.2.  Chaniya Clark, and D'Mya Tucker come in at 11.8 and 11.5.  Don't expect Clark to be an outside threat, being 6'4" she'll likely spend most of her time posted up, but the rest can hoist them from range with some effectiveness.

ACC Network Extra has the coverage on this one, but of course Nick and Courtnee can be found on the radio (or a radio stream) if your preferences run that way.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

(all but Daryl were on the podcast)

A surprise foursome on the show yesterday as Jared was able to pop in and participate from...somewhere in the Carolinas.

Basketball and Volleyball, I'm sure you'll be surprised to hear, were the topics du jour.  Good discussion for both as we recap'ed past events and discussed what was ahead.  We did talk about what then were the different possibilities for volleyball hosting in the Regionals that hve since been settled, and more.

Check it out:


Saturday, December 2, 2023

Volleyball Advances to Sweet Sixteen -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Sweep WMU to Advance

Louisville hosted Western Michigan in the Yum! Center last night in the second round of the NCAA tournament. As Coach Dani Busboom Kelly noted in her postgame remarks, WMU was a good team that lost only two matches all season. Louisville certainly didn't have a walk in the park, despite the final score. While they finished with a sweep, they had to earn it, winning with scores of 26-24, 25-18, and 25-22. The Cards used a good hitting night to put WMU away, hitting .359 as a team with just 10 errors. Their lowest set percentage was still .300 and every hitter with an attempt hit at least .200.

The Cards jumped out to an early lead in the first, led by a 3-kill streak for Cara Cresse that was part of a 4-0 run to move Louisville ahead 7-3. The Cards had to weather a storm, as WMU brought it back to tie the set at 12 before carrying a two point lead 17-15. After Louisville held close, it looked as though they'd be in dire straights when WMU moved to Set Point 3 with a 24-21 lead. Louisville did no less than rattle off five straight points to win 26-24. 

The second set was closer for longer, but Louisville's brief runs were more frequent that WMU's. The Cards led 15-10 before a quick spurt of energy from the Broncos made it 15-14 again. The trades continued, but they were uneven, and Louisville ultimately took the set 25-18. The second was Louisville's best hitting set, as they were .387 in that one. Somewhat surprisingly, it wasn't WMU's worst set, as that came in the first with a .140 percentage. WMU hit .235 in the second, so Louisville was just more advantageous with their points and opportunities. 

Much like the second, the third set stayed close. Unlike the second, Louisville never had a big run to open the score up. As a result, WMU hung around, threatening to take a set off of the second-seeded hosts. After an error by Charitie Luper brought WMU to within one at 23-22, Luper followed it up with a kill to give the Cards a Match Point opportunity. Cara Cresse took advantage of said opportunity, and the Cards closed it out.

Luper was the leader for Louisville offensively in this one. She finished with 11 kills, which was behind only WMU's Anna Calcagno for the match lead. Calcagno had 13 kills. Luper was the only Card in double figures, but Cresse and Anna DeBeer finished with nine, while Reese Robins had eight, PK added seven, and Aiko Jones rounded out Louisville's kills with five. PK continued her strong tournament as she also had no errors. DeBeer nearly finished with a double-double, as she added nine digs to her kills.

At the net, Louisville was dominant. WMU finished with just three blocks. Louisville had ten. Louisville was even at the serving line, finishing with five aces and five service errors. They lost the category by the narrowest of margins, as WMU put up seven aces and just six errors. Elena Scott, Elle Glock, and Brigitta Petrenko were all busy. Petrenko had 12 assists and two digs, while Scott finished with seven assists to go along with her 22 digs. Glock finished with a double-double as both setters were targeted. Glock had 26 assists and 11 digs, trailing WMU's Logan Case in both categories. Case had 36 assists and 14 digs. That would be part of the reason that DBK said Case and the libero Andelyn Simkins (who also had 14 digs) could play anywhere.

There may have been a couple of spots for improvement, but Louisville will need performances more like last night's than the one on display against Wright State if they want to make a deep run in this year's tournament. As it is, they can only take one match at a time.

Louisville played the only Friday match in their region, so they await tonight's results to determine a location and opponent. The Cards will get either Minnesota or Creighton and they'll plan in either Pittsburgh or Louisville. The match to determine Louisville's opponent is at 7:30 and the one that determines the location (Pitt vs USC) is at 7:00 PM.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

We'll be without Jared this week as some big game is happening in Charlotte or something. We'll have plenty to cover with the knuckleheads on hand, though. We'll talk volleyball, basketball, and whatever else strikes Paulie's fancy. 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, December 1, 2023

Volleyball roars back on the Raiders 3 -1 -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Hello again everyone and welcome to the month of December and the weekend! I hope everyone is staying warm.

There’s some post season action going on in town this weekend as Louisville plays host to another NCAA Tournament at the KFC Yum! Center. The VolleyCards begin another quest for a national championship. Actually, if you ask the squad I’m sure the quest began when they lost in the finals last season...

So lets hop right on into it!


UofL had the second time slot for volleyball action at the Yum! Center last night where they faced Wright State in the first round.   The first match began at 4 p.m. (and UofL's next opponent) featured Western Michigan and Auburn University where the Broncos dominated the #7 Tigers in a surprising 3-0 sweep.

But first, the hostess with the mostessssss, our Louisville Cardinals. 

Final       UofL 3 WRI 1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-20)   

The Cardinals opened the NCAA tournament with a win over a tough and familiar Wright State team. UofL faced the Raiders earlier in the season more than 3 months ago on August 27th where the Cards walked out of L&N Arena with another 3-1 victory.

This go around, it was in the Yum! Center with more than 5,000 in attendance.

Cara Cresse lead the attack for Louisville hitting at a .500% 👀 clip with 13 kills and 5 blocks. UofL got alot of support from the middle of the court with Phekran Kong also leading Louisville with 9 kills and 9 blocks. As a team, the Cards had a 15 - 6 block advantage over Wright St.

Wright State was able to hold the Cards to a .192 hitting % as a team. The Raiders were in the right spots at the right time A LOT of the time throughout the match, It was not an easy task to take down the Raiders as they came out ready to rumble. I thought the team looked a little winded to begin and struggled to 'find their sea legs' in the first set but they didn't really warm up it seemed until the end of the second set.

Our photographer Jared Anderson, at the event,  said he wasn't nervous.   I will say it did not look like the Louisville team we've watched all season.. making silly errors or swinging too strong and out of bounds.  But every point in this match felt hard earned.   

The Cardinals need to get in their nest early tonight and get ready for a Friday night match in the second round.  

Lets look at the next opponent.... 

About Western Mich

Head coach Colleen Munson has spent 19 years in Kalamazoo leading the Western Michigan program. This year, her Bronco squad is just one of two teams to boast 30 wins entering the NCAA Tournament. 

Senior setter Logan Case leads the charge for WMU. The MAC Player of the Year and Setter of the Year averages 11.87 assists per set, the second-highest mark in the country.

Case has a trio of experienced attackers to choose from offensively. Graduate outside hitter Maggie King paces the team in kills per set (3.69) and points per set (4.10). Keona Salesman and Anna Calcagno aren't too far behind. Salesman averages a robust 3.45 kills per set while Calcagno comes in at 3.00.

Western Michigan's defense is captained by Michigan native Andelyn Simkins. The senior libero took home MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors, averaging 4.89 digs per set.

Western Michigan (31-2) in the first round

Western Michigan 3,  #7 Auburn 0

The victory is Western Michigan's first NCAA Tournament win since 2008 and eighth in program history. That season, the Broncos won a pair of matches to reach the program's MAC-record fifth regional semifinal. Thursday's win also extended WMU's winning streak to 21, its longest streak since 1983.

Logan Case had 44 assists, the Broncos hit a blistering .367, with Calcagno and King pacing the attack with 14 kills apiece. Mary Clare Brusek added nine kills, with Salesman contributing eight to the cause.

WMU also used the service line as a weapon, tallying a season-best 11 service aces.  Simkins led the way with a career-high six aces, one shy of the single-match program record.

Simkins anchored Western Michigan's defense with a match-high 25 digs, while Reeghan Boyer pitched in nine digs and King added seven.

As Always,
Go Cards


Thursday, November 30, 2023



Louisville WBB used a second half surge to roll past Ole Miss and then hung on for dear life in the ACC vs. SEC contest Wednesdy Evening on the Ole Miss campus. Kiki Jefferson led the Cards in scoring for the second staight game with 16 points and Nina Rick"Cards" added 15. 

The late start (9:15 p.m.) was even further exacerbated by "the network" not showing the game until halfway through the first quarter, because of a earlier scheduled event. The Cards held a 12-6 lead when we finally got to see the action on ESPNU, but would shut down after that and end the first quarter trailing the Rebs 16-14. Thank goodness for the UofL radio feed...What I saw was a UofL team having a hard time getting out ofthe gate and not responding well to the UM pressure. 

"Back and forth" was pretty much the way the second quarter went. Both teams started very slowly in the second quarter, with no one scoring for the first three minutes. The half featured no thrilling offenses sequences and both teams struggled to get 14 points each on the board  This was a heavyweight fight with two sluggers exchangng thumps...Ole Miss held a tenacious 30-28 halftime lead...each team had 11 turnovers already. The Cards major bright spot was the play of Kiki Jefferson, who had 11 first half points. 

The Cards finally grabbed the lead early in the third qurter and were able to hold onto it the rest of the way. Ole Miss would cut deeply into it, but the Cards managed to find a way to extend it back out to semi-comfortable margins each time. Louisville held a 50-44 lead after three quarters and Jefferson was getting offensive support from Nina Rickards and Jadya Curry. 

The fourth quarter had Louisville leading the entire way, but the Cards got a major scare with two minutes to go. Up 62-54, the Rebs hit a couple of free throws to cut the UofL lead to six. A Cards turnover gave it back to Ole Miss and they scored with a minutes lefft to make it 62-58 Then, the Cards turned it over again, and Ole Miss had the opportunity to cut the Cards lead to 1 or 2, maybe even take the lead... but they missed two shots and two attempts from the free throw line. Finally, Rickards sank two clutch free throws for the Cards and neither team scored the rest of the way...Louisville winning 64-58. 


(We bring favorite Fred G. Sanford back for today's Fred.).
"Turn off the TV Lamont..these Cards are raising my blood pressure!".

FREE THROWS -- The normally good crew of Joe Vasiliy and Puhlani Spurlock must have decided to accept commision pay for this contest, 50 fouls were called. Coach "Yo" for Miss. got so incensed by one, she looked like she was doing a remake of THE EXORCIST movie and drew a technical. The shooting of the free ones was abysmal...The Cards were 25-36 for 69.4% and Ole Miss went 13-28. NO LETTER AWARDED HERE. 

REBOUNDS -- Louisville narrowly lost the boards battle 36-33. Louisville only managed to graab nine on the offensive end. You lose the rebounding GET NO LETTER.

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- 18 TURNOVERS a bit high for this Cardinals bunch and oly eight assists on 18 made baskets not  gret thing wither. Louisville did hit 3-6 from three-point range and took the second chance battle 12-4. It's a win, the Cards didn't look great in getting it, but this wasn't meant to be a beauty pagents, it was a back alley, bare knuckled fist fight. I'll give a sm

all "e"

DEFENSE -- 43% hooting by the foe isn't a great defensive performance, neither is the 28-22 advantage to Ole Miss in points-in-the-paint. Louisville did enough to win, and I would imagine there are a lot of teachable moments that'll come out of this game film. Ole Miss did go 1-11 from three=point range, I'll attribute that to stellar UofL defense and not poor Ole Miss shooting and shot selection. It's a "W", I'll hand out a small case "d".



yOU KNOW hpw Jared is around ANY torunament time and, lo and behold, he has done a selection bracket for the NCAA Volleyball Tpournament. Think ypu can beat him? Here are his picks below,,,

Sorry about the quality here, had to pull it off an antiquated (my) cell phone...


Wednesday, November 29, 2023


 WALZ PRESSER 11/28/23

I was a bit under the weather Tuesday (and not feeling much better today) and did not get a chance to attend the weekly Walz presser. It is below, though, for those who want to hear Coach's thoughts and reaction to a variety of questions. He is never boring, that's for sure, and loves it when the local TV station cameras are on him.

And, before you, this is NOT Sam Purcell's new team (that's Miss State) that UofL faces tonight in women's basketball.. Ole Miss is in Oxford (northern Mississippi) and not the one that is noted for the cowbell ringing. 

OK, now that we got that out of the way...onto the presser an the game preview. 



Louisville stays out of conference Wednesday night when they take on the Ole Miss Rebels. Ths one will be a 9:15 start (yeah, I know...too late. TV wins again) contest and it'll be shown either on ESPN or ESPNU. Maybe both? Both outlets have been listed in different articles I checked at and promos about the advice is tune in around 9:10 p.m. and figure it out

The Rebs are 6-1 on the season (like Louisville) and are coming off winning the Battle 4 Atlantis, in the Bahamas...knocking off Michigan in the title game. The Ole Miss WBB head coach is Yolette McPhee-McCuin. They play their conference hoops in the SEC and they love to call their head coach "Coach Yo". She and the Rebs knocked of #1 Stanford last year in the NCAA Tournament to reach the Sweet Sixteen... where UofL sent them home by 10 points. And, as you may recall, In 2022, they got bumped in the first round of the tournament by South Dakota.

Their only loss this year has been to Oklahoma...where Peyton Verhulst ended up...80-70. Verhulst only had six points against the Rebs. Wins for the Rebs have been over Michigan, Little Rock, Arizona, Howard, Temple and Queens (NC). 

So, this year's Ole Miss squad is led by Marquesha Davis (11.7 ppg) and Madison Scott (10.9 ppg)  Davis is a senior transfer guard from Arkansas and is in her second season with Mississippi. Scott is a former SEC Freshman of the year and a senior now. They also get offensive firepower from Snudda Collins and Kirsten Deans but Deans is out for the season, injuring a knee in the Battle 4 Atlantis. 

Miss. averages 69 poins a game and allows 54.6. They shoot 41% from the floor and have made 26 threes on the season, averaging 25% on those. 

It should be a challenging game for Louisville, as Walz continues to put together the puzzle that is the 2023-24 Louisville women's basketball squad. It was good to see Olivia Cochran bust loose against Gonzaga, and she'll be a key component in the Cards rest of the season, along with Nyla Harris...if the Cards are going to have any inside impct on the rest of the opponents they play this season. 

The good thing about the roster is there is a wealth of experience on it and we continue to see Elif Istanbuluoglu get more comfortable with the American game each time she hits the floor. The Cards will need her and others to make a successful ACC run and acquire a good bid for the NCAA Tournament. 

We see one or two of the players who transfered this season usually step up with big games. and, if I were to guess...Nina Rickards might have a big game tonight, she saw a lot of Mississippi when she was at Florida...and Syd Taylor can rack up a dozen or so pretty quickly if she's "on" from three-point range.  


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

ACC Volleyball Awards -- Looking Deeper at the Volleyball Bracket -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Several Cards with ACC Volleyball Awards

The final week of the ACC Volleyball weekly awards were released yesterday, which happened to be the same day the 2023 ACC Volleyball awards were announced.

ACC Weekly Honors

Anna DeBeer, Elena Scott, and Elle Glock were named to ACC Offensive Player of the Week, Defensive Player of the Week, and Setter of the Week, respectively. All three have earned several weekly honors this season so seeing them close out the season with more accolades comes as no surprise.

DeBeer closed out the season with another double-double. She recorded 18 kills and 15 digs and even added a trio of aces and a block in the mix. This is the third time this season DeBeer received the award.

Scott split the defensive accolade with Pitt's Emma Monks. The duo shared the award back in September too. Scott logged 15 digs against Georgia Tech while adding on a pair of aces and three assists. This is Scott's fourth time this season earning the award.

Glock averaged 10.25 assists in the four-set match against the Yellow Jackets, totaling 41 on the match. She snuck in a kill and added a couple of aces. 

ACC Season Awards

Anna DeBeer was named ACC Player of the Year and Elena Scott was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year to power six Cardinals being named to All-ACC teams.

DeBeer shares the POTY award with Florida State's Audrey Koenig. The senior outside hitter finished the season with 216 kills in ACC play (343 on the season), surpassing the 1,000 career kills mark this season.

In conference play, Scott had 288 digs (443 on the season) for a 4.43 digs per set mark. If Louisville wouldn't block opponents attacks so much then she would've had more... good problem to have, though. The junior libero reached the 1,000 career digs earlier this season.

Rachel Fairbanks of Pitt was named ACC Setter of the Year. Olivia Babcock of Pitt was named ACC Freshman of the Year. Chris Poole of FSU was named ACC Coach of the Year.

DeBeer and Scott were named to the All-ACC First Team, where they were joined fellow Cardinal Charitie Luper.

Glock was named to the All-ACC Second Team alonside Aiko Jones and Cara Cresse.

Looking Into the NCAA Volleyball Bracket

Now that we have the 2023 NCAA Volleyball bracket, we have time to look at match-ups, favorites, dark horses, and matches to look out for.

*All predictions below are the opinions of Jared and may not reflect the views of the rest of Cardinal Couple*

Favorite to win the championship: Nebraska. There's little room for debate as the Huskers went 28-1 this season. Their only loss came at the hands of Wisconsin on the road on the Badger's senior day. Wisconsin is another 1-seed so that's not a bad loss at all. They swept 16 of their opponents and went to five sets just three times. Nebraska doesn't lose at home and they'll play their first four matches at home.

Dark horses: 5-seed Dayton went 31-2 this season with their only losses come to Marquette and Louisville, both in five sets. They did sweep Western Kentucky. The Flyers won 3-0 23 times this season and lost just two sets in the A10 regular season.

6-seed Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are riding a 24 match win streak. They fell to Dayton, Penn State, Arkansas, and James Madison, all of whom are in the NCAA Tournament and are seeded. They cruised through Conference USA again without a blemish in the loss column.

4-seed Washington State: A 24-7 team making a deep run? Uh, yeah. The Pac-12 has some tough competition in Stanford, Oregon, Arizona State, and USC. The Cougars held their own in the conference. Don't forget that one of their losses came at the hands of Louisville at the beginning of the season. Washington State was ranked as high as #4 at one point before they lost five of seven in a three-week span. They've now won five straight and have wins over Texas, BYU, Oregon, Arizona State, and USC this year.

Potential Exciting Match-Ups: Louisville vs Pittsburgh, Elite Eight. The two ACC rivals weren't put in the same region by accident. The ACC's top two teams on a regular basis split the series in the regular season the last two years. The Cards defeated the Panthers in the Final Four last year to go to the championship.

Wisconsin vs Penn State, Sweet Sixteen. The Nittany Lions get overshadowed by Big Ten teams Wisconsin and Purdue. Penn State is historically good. They beat the Badgers in the lone match-up this season. Wisconsin is only a couple years removed from a championship and they're the only team to beat Nebraska this year.

Florida vs Georgia Tech, Second Round. Of all of the host schools in the opening weekend, Florida got one of the toughest draws against a Georgia Tech team that arguably deserved a 4-seed. The Yellow Jackets regularly get overshadowed by Louisville and Pittsburgh, plus Florida State this year. Florida has been inconsistent most of the season and haven't won more than three games in a row since early September.

BYU vs Arizona State, Second Round. BYU held their own well in the Big 12 with five of their six losses coming in conference play (two to Texas) and the sixth loss coming against Washington State. The Cougars swept six of their final seven opponents and lost the only match that wasn't a sweep. Arizona State was dominant out of conference, losing just three sets in 12 matches. They hold wins over Stanford, Oregon, and USC and were two points short of defeating Washington State in five. This is a battle of two underrated teams.

Jared's Upset Picks (by seeding):
2-seed Louisville over 1-seed Pittsburgh, Elite Eight
5-seed Georgia Tech over 4-seed Florida, Second Round
5-seed Penn State over 4-seed Kansas, Second Round
6-seed Western Kentucky over 3-seed Tennessee, Second Round
2-seed Oregon over 1-seed Wisconsin, Elite Eight
Unseeded Delaware over 8-seed Missouri, First Round
Unseeded UC Santa Barbara over 8-seed Houston, First Round
Unseeded Minnesota over 6-seed Utah State, First Round
Unseeded Miami over 8-seed UNI, First Round

Who knows what will actually happen in the tournament. If I have time, I'll fill out a full bracket for kicks and giggles and post that here on the site before the tournament starts on Thursday.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!

Monday, November 27, 2023

WBB Defeats Gonzaga -- VB in NCAA Tournament -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Beat Zags to Claim Betty Chancellor Classic Title

Sunday was a rather busy day for Louisville Athletics. We saw a rare case where both the women's and men's basketball teams win. It was also the NCAA Selection Show for volleyball.

Louisville women's basketball won their second game in as many days when they defeated Gonzaga 81-70. The 11-point margin of victory was just enough to take the title in the Betty Chancellor classic. The Cards fell to Alabama on the opening day of the round robin tournament before defeating Liberty on Saturday and Gonzaga on Sunday.

The Cards relied on strong second and fourth quarters to earn the win. They were clutch down the stretch, outscoring Gonzaga 20-6 over the final sixth minutes of the final quarter. Kiki Jefferson led the team with 21 points while Nina Rickards went 8-8 from the floor for 16 points.

UofL scored the first four points of the game in the span of 35 seconds. However, Gonzaga wouldn't buckle over the quick deficit and would battle back to even the score at 1... moments before the media timeout. Scoring slowed the back end of the quarter and the Zags would hold a two-point edge at 21-19.

The two foes would trade points to open the second quarter before Louisville's defense woke up. Sitting tied 27-27, the Cards would go on a 12-2 run to build a 10 ;point lead. Gonzaga would score to bring the lead within single-digits but the Cards always had an answer and would go into halftime with a 47-36 edge.

Halftime seemed to be a momentum killer for Louisville, who was outscored 20-12 in the third quarter. Louisville's lead diminished to four points shortly after the media timeout. The Cards pushed the lead back to eight before Gonzaga scored the final five points of the quarter. Still, Louisville led 59-56.

The Cards opened the final quarter on an 18-6 run before Gonzaga called a timeout in hopes of stopping the bleeding. The break seemed to work for the Zags as the went on an 8-0 spurt down the stretch to bring the score within nine. The rally seemed to come too late though and a pair of UofL free throws with 32 seconds left sealed the deal.

The officiating was a bit tighter than we've seen this year with the two teams combining for 43 fouls. The refs seemed to be called a lot on the Cards and ery little on Gonzaga. Jeff Walz was not a fan of it, and got "t'd" up in the first half after expressing displeasure UofL barely saw the charity stripe despite the fouls. The Cards attempted just seven free throws on the game. Jefferson took six of them. gonzaga was 19 for 23.

Jefferson spent most of the game on the floor with 36 minutes. She posted a line of 21 points, five assists, four rebounds, and three steals. Rickards' outing included 16 points, five assists, two rebounds, and two steals. Jayda Curry also scored in double figures with 13 points, highlighted by 3-6 shooting from three-point range. Elyia Love and Oliva Cochran spent much of the game in foul trouble with the former having four fouls and the latter fouling out.

F-R-E-D Report

(Today's "Fred". Braves superstar Fred McGriff)

Free Throws- Louisville shot 6-7 from the charity stripe. Despite the limited opportunities, the Cards capitalized on them and shot 86% from the line. Capital F.

Rebounds- Louisville was outrebounded 23-19. Each team had six offensive boards. No Cardinal player had more than four rebounds and Louisville's post players were almost completely ineffective in the category. No letter here.

Effort/Efficiency- There's no question that the effort was there considering the Cards played their third game in three days. Louisville found ways to halt Gonzaga every time they tried to make a run and rally. The Cards shot close to 59% from the floor and 37% from three. The had more assists (19) than turnovers (16). UofL capitalized on Gonzaga turnovers with 17 points. More impressively, they scored 18 fast break points. Plenty of reason for a Capital E.

Defense- Allowing 70 points is never a good thing. It's the third time this season UofL has done so. Gonzaga shot a little over 50% from the floor but the Cards did force 21 turnovers, which proved to be the difference in the game. The Zags were limited to three fast break points due to Louisville's transition defense. There's enough argument for a lowercase d here.

F-_-E-d is an okay result but there is plenty of room for improvement.

Louisville improves to 6-1 on the season. They remain away from home when they visit Ole Miss on Wednesday.

Volleyball Goes Dancing in the NCAA Tournament

(Cards gather to wait for their name to be called) 

The NCAA Selection Show was yesterday evening. We had no doubt Louisville would make the 64-team field but their overall seeding was a bit up in the air.

The good news is that Louisville will host the opening two rounds of the tournament at the KFC Yum! Center. The bad news is that the Cards were one spot away from hosting the second weekend in town too. UofL was given the 2-seed in their region.

Who is the top seed in the region with Louisville? Well, the Selection Committee seems to have a thing for drama as they paired Louisville and Pittsburgh together in the same region. The Panthers earned the final 1-seed by a slim margin according to the Selection Committee. I guess the Cards winning five of the eight total sets in the two matches between the rivals this year didn't mean much... or UofL sweeping ACC Champion Florida State while Pitt lost to them. Louisville's loss to NC State is most likely the difference maker. 

The NCAA lady who explained it on the broadcast seemed pretty tight-lipped about the reasoning and my guess is she'd already been asked a  few questoned about Pitt over Cards...and he two of them in the same bracket.  . 

Nebraska, Stanford, and Wisconsin earned the other 1-seeds. Louisville is joined by Kentucky, Texas, and Oregon in the 2-seed realm. The ACC also has 5-seed Georgia Tech, 6-seed Florida State, and unseeded Miami in the tournament. The top eight seeds in each region received a seed number.

WKU also got selected and they'll open against Coastal Carolina in Knoxville.

(Rowdy Raider is coming to town again!)

Louisville's sub group in the opening weekend features Wright State (21-10), whom the Cards will face Thursday at 7:00pm ET, as well as 7-seed Auburn (20-9) and Western Michigan (30-2). Louisville defeated Wright State in the third game of the season, 3-1 (20-25, 25-18, 25-20, 26-24).

Tickets for the weekend (Thursday-Friday) session can be purchased on UofL's website at

Go HERE for a printable bracket. 

Happy Monday and Go Cards!

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Basketball and Volleyball Selection - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Basketball at the Betty Chancellor Classic

The Walz bunch got the win at the Betty Chancellor Classic yesterday, but it wasn't without some drama, with the Cards getting out to the lead at the end, when it really matters, 72-63.

It was a very up and down affair getting there, however.  Liberty won the first quarter 17-10, but Louisville returned the favor 22-15 in the second quarter to take the 32-32 tie into the locker rooms at halftime.  Liberty came back with the greater energy, however, taking the third quarter 20-14, but the Cards would finally get their game in gear in the 4th, taking it 26-11.

Your scribe for the day doesn't have an ESPN+ subscription, so I couldn't put any sort of eye test on this one, but the above feels like a team that still really hasn't figured out its full identity, and how to stick to it.  That is, of course, the sort of early season craziness we expected, and was predicted by Coach Walz.  Every game sees the team sort that out a bit more, and certainly we've seen the talent is available for a high quality functional team at the end of the season.  It's just going to be a bit zany getting there.

How about a FRED report?

(today's Fred is Fred McMuray of My Three Sons. Walz could do a "My Three Games sitcom!)

F - 80.6% at the line is definitely good enough for the capital "F".

R - The Cards outrebounded the Flames 34-24 with about an even split offensive and defensive (16-18), giving the Cards, effectively, 16 extra possessions.  Nothing not to like there.  Capital "R" gladly awarded.

E - Nine assists to 12 turnovers is a touch wobbly, but not egregious.  10 steals vs six for Liberty is another four extra possessions for the Cards.  And holding fouls mostly in check with only 15 compared to Liberty's 22 is nice to see.  Combine the above with disastrous 1st and 3rd quarters, but gutsy bouncebacks in the 2nd and 4th, and I think we can award a lowercase "e" for effort and execution.

D - Those 10 steals are a plus in this category, but almost 48% shooting for Liberty doesn't say too much for our defense, particularly when the percentage from three range was 47%...not great.  There's a small bright spot with the 4th quarter three point percentage for Liberty dropping to a mere 14%, but after quarts of 75%, 60%, and 100% (admittedly only a single shot) shooting from three, I just don't think the letter is warranted.

That gives us a F-R-e-_, which...isn't terrible, but certainly reflects that this team has room to improve.

(Van Chencellor)

The Cards will wrap up the Van and Betty Chancellor Classic with a 1:45pm tip against Gonzaga...yes, that's a bit of an oddball time.  Again, video is only available on ESPN+, but radio coverage from Nick and Courtnee continues to be stellar.

Gonzaga enters the day 6-1, with the one loss being to #24 Washington State, but otherwise not exactly a super powerful strength of schedule.  Obviously, being part of the same round-robin tournament in Texas, they do have wins over Alabama (68-58), and Liberty (102-59).  Otherwise it hasn't been terrible competition, but not spectacular either, Montana, Wyoming, Toledo, and North Florida.

Based on the common opponents from the past couple of days, we could really have our work cut out for us.

Volleyball Selection

The Selection Show for the Division I NCAA Volleyball tournament is tonight at 6pm on ESPN.

Louisville is still hopeful for a four or better seed in the tournament, and there is some support for that idea.  The selection committee uses RPI heavily and, while the official RPI results haven't been updated for the end of regular season and conference tournament play, (the committee will have up-to-date data available to them), unofficial RPI trackers have Louisville ranked 3rd in RPI.

You can probably go ahead and pencil in Nebraska as the number one seed, and Stanford as the number two, but beyond that, who ends up where is going to depend just exactly how much the committee depends on various data sets.  Louisville has a good resume, with a strong overall strength of schedule, and only one loss that's not great in NC State, and even that one isn't terrible, with NC State ending the season in 39th in the RPI.

Louisville hosting the 1st and 2nd rounds is pretty much a given, and those matches will be at the KFC Yum! Center, and unless something really bizarre happens, will be Thursday and Friday.  Cross your fingers, but don't hold your breath, for evening matches.  3rd and 4th rounds, presuming we get a 3rd or 4th seed, or otherwise end up the top seed in the remaining teams after the first two rounds, and of course, advance ourselves, will also be at the KFC Yum! Center.

Check out the show tonight, to see what the committee does, and cross your fingers that we do get that 3rd or 4th seed.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Paulie and Jeff held down the fort for the podcast, with the others having various commitments.  Obviously the topics du jour were Basketball and Volleyball, with good discussions on both.

Despite only having the two of us on the call, the hour flew by and I think some pretty good discussion happened.  Check it out!


Saturday, November 25, 2023

WBB Drops Close Game to Alabama -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Can't Complete Comeback; Fall 78-73

In what was ultimately a wild back and forth battle between the Cards and the Crimson Tide in Katy, Texas yesterday afternoon, Louisville came out behind when they couldn't quite hold onto their lead after overcoming an 8-point second quarter deficit. The game saw 12 ties and nine lead changes, including three ties and four lead changes in the fourth quarter. (It may actually be six lead changes as its impossible to figure out what counts. If Bama had the lead and then it was tied and Bama took the lead again, I didn't count those.) It's difficult to look at the stats and pinpoint one thing that was overly bad for Louisville. In the end, I think it was just an average performance against an above-average team that played better. Such is the way it goes. Fortunately for the Cards, there is little time to dwell on this one, as they'll take on Liberty at 12 today with a chance to bounce back.

The first few possessions of this one could have been a glimpse into how it would turn out. Louisville missed a shot on the first possession of the game, then committed a foul before getting a steal on Alabama's first offensive effort. The Cards took the lead on a layup and then saw the lead disappear on a made Alabama three. With a chance to regain the lead, the Cards went 1-2 from the line to tie it instead. Louisville shot just 40.9% from the floor and 66.7% from the line, and they committed 26 fouls while Alabama turned it over 20 times. We had it all right in front of us in the first three minutes of the game.

The Tide were able to stretch their early lead to six points at 11-5, but a short run by Louisville tied it up with three to go in the quarter. The Cards never took regained a first quarter lead after going down 3-2, though, and they hit the first quarter break trailing by four after a buzzer-beating basket from Alabama. The tied shot 61.5% from the floor and were 4-8 from beyond the arc in the first quarter. They only made nine threes in the game, but those four in the first quarter came at the most opportune times to apply key pressure to Louisville. Louisville was 0-2 from three-point land in the first and their missed free throw count matched the deficit in the game. 

Things didn't improve much for Louisville in the second quarter. The two teams traded baskets (and turnovers) for the first few minutes as the lead ping-ponged between Bama +2 and Bama +4. Another key three broke the streak and the Tide used the momentum to build their lead back up to eight, the largest it would be in the game. Louisville didn't look ready to recover. After a layup cut it to six, the Cards gave Alabama every opportunity to break it open even further. A turnover led to a missed three that Bama collected the offensive rebound on. They missed the layup but were able to corral it again and put up another three. Fortunately for the Cards, this one was off the mark as well. Unfortunately for the Cards, so was Sydney Taylor's response effort at the other end. On the ensuing possession, another offensive rebound for Alabama finally led to second chance points and the Cards saw the chance to bring the game back to them by cutting the lead to two or less disappear as it grew back to eight. The final minute saw a bit of back and forth and Louisville, with the last basket, trailed by five at the half.

The third quarter was Louisville's only positive quarter of the game from a score perspective. Louisville led it by a pair with a 22-20 effort. Midway through the quarter, a three by Taylor saw the Cards take their first lead since the opening minute. It was short live, though, as Alabama's Sarah Ashlee Barker scored on the next possession to take the lead back for the Tide. Thus began the trades that continued through the fourth quarter. Louisville scored a layup in with 1:17 remaining in the quarter to match their largest lead of the afternoon at two. The last quarter saw more of the same from Alabama, though, as a key three from Barker took the lead back. Louisville had a chance after Nyla Harris pulled down an offensive rebound off of a Taylor missed three, but a steal by Barker led to a fast break to put the Tide up by three. Louisville held for the last shot of the quarter, but the layup was off the mark.

Which leads us back to that back-and-forth fourth quarter. Louisville scored back-to-back baskets to take the lead in the fourth but couldn't hold onto it. After a free throw by Alabama tied it at 61 with 7:25 remaining, Louisville wouldn't lead again. Twice, Alabama hit threes to break the tie. Since Louisville couldn't buy one of those, they struggled to keep up. The second of those came to break a 69-69 tie with 27 seconds remaining. Louisville cut the deficit to one two more times in the game, but Alabama made the free throws they needed to stay ahead. Final score 78-73.

I said that Louisville didn't do anything particularly bad, but I suppose that's not true, strictly speaking. Their three-point shooting stunk. The Cards finished 3-14 from outside, good for just 21.4%. Alabama was 9-24 from three, good for 37.5%. In addition to that, the two teams made nearly the same number of baskets (27 for Louisville compared to 26 for Alabama), so the fact that the Tide were making their threes was that much worse for the Cards. Bama also took 12 fewer shots than Louisville, so the Cards just really didn't take advantage of their numerous chances. They did finish with 21 offensive rebounds and converted those into 23 second chance points, but if they couldn't hit threes, they needed more possessions, which means more scoring on the first try and better defense on the other end. Alabama collected 13 offensive rebounds for 13 second chance points, minimizing Louisville's advantage.

While Louisville was not good from the free throw line, and their number of missed foul shots was larger than the final deficit, they only missed one more free throw than Alabama. The two teams both had 24 chances from the line, and Louisville made 16 of those. That 2/3 rate isn't winning any awards, but you can point to the other side and say that Alabama had every opportunity to get more free points as well. It just wasn't Louisville's day.

Alabama's Sarah Ashlee Barker put up a decent game for the Tide. Prior to fouling out in the final minutes of the game, she put up 18 points tying Nyla Harris to lead all scorers. She was just 7-16 from the floor and 2-8 from three, but her baskets came at very inopportune times. She was also tied for the team lead in rebounds and added two steals and two assists. Alabama had five players in double figures.

Louisville was led, as I mentioned, by Nyla Harris. Harris also fouled out, but her fifth foul came with just six seconds remaining. Very inconveniently for Louisville, it was an offensive foul with the Cards down three. It was a tough call for Harris, who added eight rebounds, an assist, and two steals to those 18 points. She was 8-13 from the floor and 2-2 from the line. Sydney Taylor was right behind Harris with 17 points. Taylor, who we probably expect to be the team's shooter, struggled yesterday. She went just 5-15 from the floor, 3-9 from beyond the arc (yes she scored all of Louisville's threes), and 4-8 from the free throw line. Louisville needed a few more makes or a few less takes from the guard. Nina Rickards was effective off the bench, picking up a double-double with ten points and ten rebounds.

The Reports

Not a great one for the Cards statistically, so lets have a look.

F-Free Throws: We've talked at length about 16-24. It's below 70% and you need better than that to win games. Whether Alabama missed theirs as well or not is irrelevant. No letter.

R-Rebounding: Louisville came away with 37 rebounds, including 21 on the offensive end. Bama finished with 33. Although it's close overall, Louisville had more rebounds than Alabama on both ends of the floor. The Cards collected one more of their own misses than Alabama and three more of Bama's. I don't think rebounding was the reason they lost, and I'm counting the second chance points as a reason to make this a Capital R.

E-Effort/Efficiency: They didn't shoot very well and they turned the ball over 18 times. Statistically, it's not great. However, this team weathered a few punches from Alabama and they were right there in the game at the end. They never gave up, so I'm going with a lowercase e with the caveat that it's just for the effort.

Alabama was almost 50% from the floor. Louisville forced 20 turnovers, but man you've got to prevent a bucket or two. The Tide shot no worse than 41% in any quarter and made at least one three in each. Louisville also gave up 13 fast break points and scored just 11 of their own. Perhaps worse, Louisville scored just 10 points off of the 20 turnovers. I'm struggling here, because I'm giving defense a worse grade based on offense, but that's just the way it goes. No letter.

C-Care: Louisville turned the ball over 18 times. We can probably just cut this and the a category here. But we won't. Since we look at the relative performance, Louisville has fewer turnovers than Alabama and fewer than Bama's average. The Tide entered the game 13th in the country with 24 turnovers forced per game. Louisville had more than 60% of that average, though, so it's just going to be a lowercase c.

A-Assists: As I said, 18 turnovers hurts here. We'll get that part out of the way because it's an ATO ratio below 1. Yikes. The Cards finished with 13 assists, which very nearly makes up half of their baskets. 48% is not 50%, though, so it's no letter.

S-Steals: Seven steals for Louisville yesterday. It's one more than Alabama but it's half a steal less than what I set as the arbitrary threshold years ago. Lowercase s.

E-Efficiency: Insert Tracy Morgan "nope. no. uh-uh" gif here. It was not great. Poor shooting overall. Poor shooting from three. Poor shooting from the line. No letter.

That's final scores of _-R-e-_ and c-_-s-_. Those are not likely to win games.

Yabba-dabba-doo not do that again, Cards.

We'll look for a better performance out of Louisville today when they take on Liberty at noon. Like yesterday's game, this one will be on ESPN+ only. Be sure to tune in and check out Jeff's recap of, hopefully, a win tomorrow. 

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

With the noon kickoff at home in the rivalry game and family in town for the holiday, it's a thin crowd for today's episode of the podcast. Paulie and Jeff are around to hold down the fort, though. They'll discuss Jeff's trip to Pittsburgh and volleyball's bounce back win over Georgia Tech as well as the loss for basketball and what is next for both teams. 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!