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Monday, February 26, 2024

WBB Drops Back-and-Forth Battle; Softball Stays Hot -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Lose Second Straight at Home 73-68

After last week's drubbing at the hands of Virginia Tech, it looked as if Louisville women's basketball had course corrected when they beat Georgia Tech by 18 in Atlanta. That clearly wasn't the case, unfortunately, as the Cards looked all out of sorts against Virginia in a crucial home loss yesterday afternoon. What looked to be another episode of Louisville sleepwalking for two or three quarters before turning on cruise control to win easily turned into a highway pileup as the Cards allowed an extended 22-8 run over the final 7:37, ultimately losing the fourth quarter 26-14. 

It was just the third time Virginia has defeated Louisville all time and just the second since Louisville joined the ACC. The last victory for the Hoos in the series came in Charlottesville on March 1st, 2015. The Cards and Cavs split the series in Louisville's first season in the ACC. That loss was Louisville's second in three attempts against Virginia. Since, Louisville had been on an 11-game winning streak.

The first quarter looked fine for the Cards, although the defense left a bit to be desired. The Cards shot 54%, outpacing UVA's 44%, but an extra three for the Cavs put them ahead 16-15 after the first. Both teams cooled in the second, shooting a combined 33% from the floor. Louisville hit just four shots in the quarter. Again, Virginia had an extra three (and two extra buckets), and extended their lead to six at halftime. The Cards headed to the locker room trailing 32-26.

Whatever Coach Jeff Walz had to say in his halftime speech probably wasn't PG. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that Virginia was just 5-10 in conference and 13-13 overall entering the game. Maybe he pointed out that the Cavaliers had already knocked off FSU and UNC as ranked teams and Louisville didn't want to join that list. Whatever it was, Louisville seemed to take it to heart, calling up a 28-15 third quarter performance to invert the lead in the game. The Cards shot 50% from the floor and hit three three's in the third quarter. The defense was still suspect (UVA shot 40%), but it seemed fine given the scoreboard. Like I said, it looked like another iteration of a game we've seen numerous times this season. Right up until it didn't.

Carrying a 54-47 lead into the fourth quarter with the Yum! Center now fully engaged, Louisville opened the scoring in the final period (after a couple of misses) with a steal and a fast-break layup to extend the lead to nine. It would never see double-digits. Over the next couple of minutes, basket trading kept the lead at nine before the wheels fell off. A 10-1 run erased Louisville's lead. In that time, Virginia's Camryn Taylor picked up her fourth foul. Taylor, who has fouled out of a handful of games this year, was a bit of a liability defensively. Did Louisville expose that liability? Nope. Taylor played the last five minutes of the game without picking up her fifth. Olivia Cochran, on the other hand, fouled out with two minutes to go, having just picked up her fourth before heading to the bench earlier in the quarter. 

Virginia's run, which I mentioned eventually stretched to 22-8, was 17-3 before Louisville made a field goal. The Cards went over six minutes without scoring from the floor, and made it to the free throw line only twice. In the meantime, Virginia did whatever they wanted on the offensive end, including pull down rebounds. The game was on a silver platter and Louisville fumbled it away. Sydney Taylor hit a three with seven seconds left to make things interesting, but Louisville had to foul to try to get the ball back and the excitement ended quickly. Here's where I make a quick note about a frustrating NCAA rule. The timeout advancement is fine, I get it. However, if you make an attempt to inbound the ball and it is denied by the defense, you shouldn't then get the free advancement. What's the point of guarding the inbound pass at all at that point? 

Nyla Harris once again paced the Cards with 17 points. She finished one rebound shy of a double-double in her 37 minutes. Kiki Jefferson did pick up the double-double, collecting 10 rebounds to match her 10 points in 27 minutes off the bench. Sydney Taylor also came off the bench, and she was the only other Cardinal in double figures as she scored 15. The remainder of Louisville's starting lineup could only combine to match Harris's 17 points. 

The FRED Report

F - Free Throws: Louisville's free throw shooting was pretty good if you look at just the second half. They were 7-7 in the third quarter and 5-6 in the fourth. Unfortunately, we can't ignore the second quarter in which they shot just 2-7 from the line. 14-20 is still 70% on the button, though, so it's a lowercase 'f'. 

R - Rebounding: This one is weird. Louisville had three fewer rebounds (39-36) and five fewer offensive rebounds (17-12), but they outscored Virginia 19-10 on second chance points. Virginia averages a 4.4 rebound advantage in their games, while Louisville averages 5.7 more boards than the opponent. Louisville just about hit their mark exactly and held Virginia below their average. That was a lot of preamble to award a lowercase 'r'. Could it have been better? Yes, of course, but I'm not willing to say it was rebounding that did Louisville in. Rebounding down the stretch? Maybe.

E - Effort/Execution: Ha. That fourth quarter was not good. The game was in the grasp and then it wasn't. Louisville shot just 29% from the floor in the final stanza and had the six minute shooting drought. They also had 15 turnovers and, oh by the way did I mention?, lost at home to a .500 team at the end of February. If you want more, they also trailed at halftime. No letter.

D - Defense: Virginia averages 15 turnovers per game. They turned it over 14 times. They average 73.4 points and shoot 40% from the floor. They shot 42% in this one. Had Louisville's defense been an average of what it had been throughout the game, Virginia would have scored just 60(ish). Giving up 26 points to that Virginia team in the fourth quarter would undo pretty much anything good Louisville had done in the first three quarters anyway, but they hadn't done much. No letter. 

Final tally: f-r-_-_ and I'm being generous with the rebounding score. This is not at all what you want to see from Louisville coming down the stretch. 

The Cards have two games left in the regular season. Fortunately for Louisville, those two games are against their direct competition for the four-seed and the final double-bye in the ACC Tournament. Unfortunately, that means they have to play FSU and Notre Dame (on the road) to close out the year. It's all to play for in these last two games, and Louisville can still finish the regular season strong. The Cards are back in action on Senior Night at the KFC Yum! Center on Thursday night. 

Softball Wins on Walk-off Grand Slam

After the early morning loss to Furman on Saturday, Louisville seemed up against it in an even earlier start yesterday against Bowling Green. The Eagles scored three runs in the top of the first to put the Cards under pressure immediately. After tying the game in the second, both teams would go without scoring for quite some time. Louisville exploded in the bottom of the sixth to end the game early, closing it out with a pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam from freshman Ava Venturelli to win by mercy rule 11-3. 

Brooke Gray got the start for the Cards in this one and was dinged up early. She ultimately pitched a clean second inning but gave up three hits, three runs (two earned) and two walks in those two innings. She struck out four, but also hit two batters. Lindsey Mullen relieved Gray and gave up one hit and one walk with two strikeouts in two full innings, and Alyssa Zabala put up an identical line in her two innings while taking the win. 

Louisville got offense from up and down the order, with Riley Frizell leading the way. Frizell had three hits in four at bats and knocked in four runs. Venturelli, by way of the grand slam, also had four RBI on one hit in one at bat. Chelsea Mack matched Frizell with three hits, going 3/3 on the day, and scored two runs. Bailee Richardson scored two runs on a walk and a hit and Gabby Holloway had an RBI and a run on two walks. Vanessa Miller, Pickle Winkler, and Jac Hasty each had a hit and a run, with Miller and Winkler also picking up an RBI and Miller and Hasty each adding a walk. 

All in all, the Cards finished with 11 hits in 26 at bats and they added five walks to only one strikeout. Louisville left just six on base. Louisville, who moved to 12-2 with the victory, will open their home season tomorrow when they host Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers will come into Ulmer for a 5PM start on Tuesday. No video is listed. 

Until next time, Go Cards!


  1. Highly disappointing, snatch defeat from victory, head scratching, no sense of urgency loss.
    Shades of Syracuse all over again.
    Mental lapses during crucial times, especially defensive lapses, are killing this team.
    That loss all but assured we won't be hosting, barring a conference tournament championship, but we still have to win these last two also, IMO.
    Suffice to say this ain't the way I envisioned us ending the season 🀷

    1. Not sure why this came up as "anonymous", it's me🀷

  2. Cards lose another game at home tough loss it seems like to me that when Nyla Harris (great job NylaπŸ’ͺ)πŸ’―is the leading scorer the cards lose.

    This is Olivia Cochran senior year I don't know if she's coming back next year, but she's not playing like she's a Senior in the last four games her offensive production has been MIA not MHA level.

    You would think that this time of year that some seniors (merrissah Russell) that's been here for 3 plus years now would step up and also Lele Love.

    CJW πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€ did a great job in a transfer portal putting these pieces together he achieved a winning record this is a successful season but not a championship won. L1C4 πŸ’―

    This team boast a winning record but it's not a championship caliper team.

    Note: this year's team has no defensive stoppers like Mykasa no defensive present in the paint like a Kylee Shook.

  3. O is coming back next year.

    1. Olivia needs to be more consistent with that jump shot.

  4. You do have to question the person's pride and heart on this team lately, when Virginia came back on the Cares in the fourth, it was clear who wanted it more. They punched us in the mouth and we became their ( I won't use the term, but it rhymes with ditches). So Cochran is coming back? After that embarrassment, do the Cards really want her? Nick O

  5. This team needs an enforcer,..can we check and see if Fuehring, Hines-Allen or Engstler has any eligibility left?


  6. Question: I wrote a comment about Lele love not getting involved and stepping up, but I'm looking at the game they seem to not get her involved it's just me.


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