On a rare day where we saw both Louisville women's basketball and Louisville men's basketball play, and even more rare that both won, Jeff Walz's squad was able to showcase the talent of all of the new faces to the team in a 77-59 win over Cincinnati. The Cards are now 14-3 in season openers in the Walz era.
This game wasn't at the comfort of the KFC Yum! Center but fans still had the option to catch the game via a live stream. Coincidentally, I was down at 'the Yum!' last night and was able to catch bits and pieces on my phone.
Sydney Taylor (from UMass) led the team with 16 points and Jayda Curry (from California) added 13. Olivia Cochran had a team high 10 rebounds to go along with seven rebounds and three assists.
Cincinnati would log the first points of the season less than a minute into the game before Louisville went on a 7-0 run to take an early 7-2 lead. The Bearcats responded with a 7-0 run of their own and would hold a slight 15-14 edge to close out the opening quartet.
The Cards burst out of the gate to start the second quarter, scoring the first eight points. Cincinnati tried to claw their way back in, bringing the score within 22-20 before Louisville went on a 12-0 run to surge ahead 34-20. The Cards would go on to hold a 36-22 lead at halftime.
The start of the third quarter was a bit rough. Instead of adding to their lead, Louisville saw their lead cut in half down to seven. They managed to scored the final five points of the quarter to get back to a double-digit lead at 52-40.
After Cincinnati cut the lead to 10 at 57-47, the rest of the quarter belonged to the Cards. UofL pushed their lead to 20 at two different points late in the quarter but a pair of Cincinnati free throws at the end brought the final score to 77-59.
11 different Cardinals saw action in the game with 10 of them in the scoring column and 10 getting a rebound. Collectively, UofL committed 14 turnovers, which isn't too bad considering it was the first game of the season. They did try to offset that with 11 assists.
One of the biggest takeaways of the game is how balanced this team can be. Jeff Walz brought in several players who know how to produce both offensively and defensively without needing to rely on solely one player for the majority of the production. There also isn't a player on this year's squad that appears to need to be 'the star', which allows the team to gel more easily.
We get our first (of many) FRED Reports of the season! Since we are in early November and this was the first game of the season with several new faces, I went easy on the team.
Free Throws- The Cards made 26 of 32 free throws for an 81.3% rate. Every player who stepped foot to the charity stripe made at least two freebies with Kiki Jefferson being the only Cardinal to miss multiple. That's a good mark for game one. Capital "F".
Rebounding- Louisville dominated the glass with a 41-28 edge. Over one-third of the Cards' rebounds came on the offensive glass while Cincinnati was held to eight offensive boards. Capital "R".
Effort/Efficiency- With the exception of Louisville's uncanny ability to miss more layups than three-pointers, the Cards were pretty efficient across the board. They shot a little under expectation from three with a 29.4% mark. Their 15 offensive rebounds led to 12 second chance points. Louisville scored 17 fast break points. They also allowed just four second chance points. However, the game was won with 27 points off turnovers. Capital "E".
Defense- We've seen better defenses from Louisville in recent years but we've also seen much worse defensive performances. Allowing 59 points is a good goal in most games. The Cards limited Cincinnati to seven points in the second quarter and never allowed 20+ points in any quarter. They held the Bearcats to 3-13 from three-point range and forced 21 turnovers. For kicking off the season on the road, I thought the defense held their own. Capital "D".
F-R-E-D is the final result. Not too bad for the first game. Sitting at 1-0, Louisville comes home to the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday at 4:00pm to face DePaul.
(Our friend Karen Nolan made the trip up I-71 and was kind enough to provide us today's pictures.)
Scores Around the NCAA
The first day of NCAA women's basketball provided some exciting games, some blowouts, and some shockers. Let's take a look at how some of these teams of interest fared.
#20 Colorado 92, #1 LSU 78. Defending national champs and Hailey Van Lith's new team didn't fare so well to start the year. Angel Reese still appears to be the clear cut go-to player for the Tigers.
#6 South Carolina 100, #10 Notre Dame 71. The lack of Olivia Miles showed some, but they have a new freshman guard that took the spotlight. For the Gamecocks, Kamilla Cardoso looks to be a walking double-double this year.
#8 Virginia Tech 94, High Point 55. The Hokies didn't have a big match-up here, but Kenny Brooks' team already looks to be in midseason form.
#18 Florida State 99, Charleston Southern 63. The Seminoles had a cakewalk opening game. The entire starting lineup scored in the double figures.
#3 Iowa 102, Fairleigh Dickinson 46. Caitlin Clark continues to be one of the best players in the country and was three rebounds shy of a triple-double.
#25 Mississippi State 77, Alcorn State 42. Coach Sam Purcell has quickly turned around a Bulldogs program that fell apart after Vic Schaefer left three years ago. Year two already looks to be a great one for Coach Sam.
Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!