With the weather that rolled into the region yesterday, lacrosse canceled their previously rescheduled game against Cincinnati last night. The cancellation notification was brief and didn't include any information about a second rescheduling, so it seems fair to say that this one just won't happen. Another impact of the weather and the resulting power outages is that we will not record the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast this week. We'll be back next week to discuss the upcoming week in Louisville women's athletics and take a look at the WBB tournament prospects after the conclusion of conference tournaments.
HVL Outshines Jewel; Cards Thump Wake 74-48
Louisville used a hot first quarter from Hailey Van Lith to jump out to a large lead yesterday before the Demon Deacons clawed their way back into the game late in the first half. Despite the 8-0 scoring run, Louisville held a 10-point lead at halftime. After Jeff Walz ripped the team in the halftime interview, he presumably did so in the locker room as well, as the Cards opened the second half with a 13-2 run to effectively put the game away. The Cards would stretch the lead to 25 in the third quarter before Wake brought it back to an 18-point deficit at the end of the quarter, but an 18-point quarter deficit is very different from a 20-point halftime deficit. That, along with the fact that Louisville was playing fresh and Wake was entering their 12th quarter of basketball in 50ish hours, was proven by Louisville extending their lead in the fourth quarter up to 30 before the game ultimately ended with the 26-point difference, Louisville's largest margin of victory in an ACC Tournament game.
The timeout broke up the momentum greatly, and the game stuttered. Wake hit a three in their first possession before covers magically appeared on the baskets. The next five possessions saw seven missed shots before a jump ball stopped play. Liz Dixon entered and must have given HVL some of "Michael's Secret Stuff" from Space Jam. HVL scored all of Louisville's next 15 points, giving her a lead over Wake Forest of 17-8 at the end of the quarter. The team led 20-8. Van Lith was 6-8 from the floor, 4-4 from beyond the arc, and 1-1 from the free throw line. Not to be outdone in the quarter statistically, Nyla Harris matched the entire Wake Forest team with seven rebounds. She was 0-5, but shooting can practiced in the gym. The intensity with which Harris played in yesterday's game is something innate.
The quarter began as if things would continue swimmingly for Louisville. Wake made a few baskets but Louisville matched pace to maintain their advantage. A three pointer cut the Louisville lead to nine with seven minutes left, but two offensive rebounds saw the next possession result in two points to get it back to 11. The next sequence prompted me to tweet "If Kasa is doing that, WF can just hang it up." The "that" in question was leaping for a one-handed snag that looked like it belonged at an NFL skills challenge before calmly hitting the mid-range jumper like it was automatic for her. Was I a little nervous about jinxing things when I tweeted it? Sure, but Louisville had given me many more reasons to be confident than reasons to be nervous. The Cards even backed up that confidence after the media timeout. A pair of HVL free-throws extended the lead to 15, and two Cardinal baskets were split by a free throw from Wake moved the score to 34-16.
This time it was Carr with the lazy pass across the top, but it was Alyssa Andrews jumping into the passing lane again. Once more, Russell sprinted back to cover the layup, and, once more, she was the only white jersey in the general vicinity of the play. This time, Andrews couldn't quite make a layup happen, so she kicked it out to Jewel Spear (quiet so far) who buried a three. Walz called a timeout. The Cards would miss four shots over the final 1:44 of the half but they would give up just one attempt to the Demon Deacons, a missed 3-pointer from Spear as time wound down. A single free throw cut the halftime lead to ten, and Louisville headed to the locker room, surely prepared to hear it from Walz for the clunker of an end to the quarter. However, while Louisville has struggled with collapses like that in quarters throughout the season, they are usually isolated, and they are usually more damaging. For the Cards to still hold a 34-24 lead at halftime was encouraging.
The next minute and a half saw three jump balls before the media timeout, which was more than made baskets. Two Carr free throws answered the Wake jumper to keep the lead at 21. Three minutes of back and forth missed baskets were followed by a flurry of scoring. Louisville came out the worse, scoring three points for Wake's seven, but still held on to the 18-point lead at 53-35.
Louisville held up defensively, fearing no Spear in this one. Jewel finished with 15 points, but shot just 5-16 from the floor and 4-10 from three. While she drew three fouls, she took just two free throws. Elise Williams was big for Wake as well, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, but she committed seven of the Demon Deacons' 15 turnovers. The Cards effectively neutralized the bigs for Wake Forest with early foul trouble. Olivia Summiel and Demeara Hinds both had four fouls and both played about 23 minutes. The pair combined for four points, quite a bit fewer than their average of 12. Critically, their non-presence on the floor opened things up for Louisville to win the rebounding battle and avoid the major blockers.
The FRED and CASE Reports
R-Rebounding: I award a capital R for this one. It's not cut and dry as free throws, but Louisville won the battle 40-29. They doubled up Wake on offensive rebounds, and, while they could only turn that into a 7-4 second chance advantage, it's still important to keep the opposing team off the glass.
E-Effort/Execution: It's tempting to see just the big run by Wake and think that Louisville could be docked, but I can't ignore the rest of the game and the response directly to that run out of the half. Plus, the Cards won by almost 30 against a team that beat them up the road from this gym just over a month ago. Eleven turnovers isn't ideal, but it's fewer than the opponent. Outside of the blip in the second quarter, Louisville never appeared to let off the gas, and the Cards never trailed. Capital E.
D-Defense: The Cards had just seven steals in this one, though they forced a total of 15 turnovers. A couple of those were shot clock violations caused by actual lockdown defense and not lack of awareness. Adding four blocks and holding Wake to 35.4% shooting isn't bad either. Add all that into the fact that Wake's 48 points is the fewest allowed to an ACC opponent this season and I have to credit that with a Capital D.
A-Assists: Again, those 11 turnovers will hurt this category. While it's low, Louisville didn't have that many assists, despite 10 from Kasa. The Cards finished with 17 on 29 made baskets, giving them a 59% assist rate, which is pretty good. It's not an ATO of 2, though (just 1.54), and perhaps I should tune that number down. I'm not doing so today, though, so it's a lowercase a.
S-Steals: Sadly, seven is below 7.5 (obviously), but it is above the five that Wake snagged. Short and simple stat. Lowercase s.
E-Efficiency: With no letter in the F of the FRED report, we're starting at a lowercase e here. The Cards were just one made free throw away, but one free throw can make the difference in a game. They shot 43.3% from the floor, about on pace with their 42.1% from three, and that's not quite the 45% we're looking for. So no letter.
Tournament Recap and Bracket Update
Hiya. Paulie here with yesterday's quarterfinal recaps and our contest (and ACC bracket) updates.
The day started, as you'd no doubt read, with our Cards shaking Wake all the way back to Winston Salem. Jewel Spear returns for them next year, and that's about all I'm going to say about that one. I also like the Hailey Van "Lethal" tag that folks are using when talking about our blonde bomber. Let's go out and beat ND, now.
Notre Dame 66 - NCST 60
Apologies here, to my wife Sonja, who was getting confused every time I'd shout out something about ND's Sonia Citron yesterday, while I was watching this game.
"Sonia, quit fouling her!"
"What did you need, hon?"
The Irish managed to shut down an NCST squad that didn't have Diamond Johnson. Notre Dame was missing "Miles of Smiles" and "Lil Cindy Boo Hoo" -- who were nursing knees. Inconsistency is thy name, NCST -- I guess it does matter if you lose four starters from last year, Wes? 14-point leads are tough to overcome, and compliments for cutting it to six late...but YOURE GOING HOME, Used Car salesman. I-40 should be fairly clear for travel this morning.
Duke 44 - UNC 40
That horrible sound on your TV was Deb Antonelli growling about lack of offense (again) in the rematch between these two. I think they were playing "first to 50 wins" and neither squad could get there, so they just let the clock decide. We did see that former Card Elizabeth Balogun is continuing to fit in pretty well with Kara Lawson's bunch and she can still drill the three. UNC's Deja Kelly went, like 4-30, or some ridiculous number from the floor and that probably hurt the Heels. Yes, shooters are great...but coaches (and people watching the game) prefer makers. And, you probably needed Makers, if you watched all of this one. Duke moves on to get VT. TV worth watching today after the Cards game, I hope. This one wasn't. I guess both squads were just resting up for the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia Tech 68 - Miami 42
A 20-5 lead in the first quarter pretty much describes it all....VT came ready to play and Miami stayed on the bus. Cavinder Magic and Ktie Meyer Mastery were not to be found and the Canes will fly back south. When you get a bird battle between a Gobbler and an Ibus, go with the land animal if it's a turf war. The fact is, VT hed coach Kenny Brooks has a helluva arsenal assembled, including two-time ACC Player of the Year Liz Kitley, and some very good players to compliment her. They just might send Duke home today.
CARDINAL COUPLE ACC PICK 'EM UPDATE
With three games to go, Case holds a tenacious 10-1 success mark and is ahead of six participants at 9-2 (Paulie, Jared, Thomas I, Karen J, Jeff McA and Daryl.
Katy, Vivian, BJ, Nick O. K.Stark, David Watson, Jo. Spivey
Joe Hill, Sonja, JA. Spivey, Jason, Lilli D.
We also have two at 6-5, three at 5-6, two at 4-7 and the Cardinal Couple Chimps can see 'em all at 2-9. Thanks for playing and better luck next time I expect I'll do a final and complete listing in my Monday column.
We cannot allow Case to win, y'all. His ego is way too big already. He has Louisville beating Notre Dame today and Duke beating VT. He has Duke as champion. We shall see...
CASE TOSSED IN THESE PICTURES FROM JARED FROM FRIDAY GAMES
Until next time, Go Cards!