--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
All good things must close; whether that be a season, career, or title run.
The Louisville women’s basketball team found their end on Sunday, after losing to the Connecticut Huskies in the Albany regional final, 80-73. The Louisville faithful also saw three seniors exit the court in Louisville uniforms one final time.
Arica Carter, Sam Fuehring, and Asia Durr wrapped up their Louisville careers. Fuehring, who was named to the Citizen Naismith Trophy Award Watchlist and Lisa Leslie award watchlist; dropped 15 points, and tallied seven rebounds during the game. Carter, third on the team in assists, had two more, in addition to seven points and two boards.
Durr, one of the greatest women’s basketball players to don the Red and Black; put up 21 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, despite not scoring in the first period.
Louisville had a brief lead in the first period. The Cardinals went on an 9-0 run from around the four-minute mark until three minutes were left. It gave them a four-point lead.
It was the only lead of the game for Louisville. The Huskies were tougher than when the Cardinals defeated them 78-69 on January 31st in Louisville. At multiple points, Connecticut led by double-digits. Louisville kept clawing back.
In the third period, Christyn Williams layed a ball up, and gave UConn their fourth 10-point lead. Bionca Dunham kicked off a 6-0 run to end the period.
Then, with less than 90 seconds left, Katie Lou Samuelson gave Geno Auriemma an 11-point lead. Asia Durr led the Cardinals with six points during a 10-1 run, lasting until just 30 seconds were left. It cut Connecticut’s lead to two points.
Louisville was backed into a corner, and was forced to send the Huskies to the line. 28 seconds later, the game ended.
The final result may have been a loss, but the Cardinals never stopped fighting. While they were the No. 1 seed, the game felt like a road game: Albany is just two-hours away from UConn, and Louisville is 12. The crowd was overwhelmingly UConn-heavy. The 10-points could have easily become 20.
Instead of that, Louisville played a tough game, scored 18-points on 13 forced turnovers, and put up 12 points from the bench.
2018-19 was a good season for the Cardinals. 2019-20 will be here before we know it.
Elite! Louisville defeats Oregon State in the Sweet-Sixteen, will face off in tough Elite Eight matchup
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
The Louisville Cardinals are officially Elite.
After defeating Oregon State 61-44, in a rematch of last year’s Elite Eight matchup in Lexington, the Louisville Cardinals have an opportunity to play for a spot in the Final Four. The next game will not be easy, though.
Friday’s game, on the other hand, was interesting. In some parts, the offense clicked, In others, defense took over. Louisville still maintained shooting over 40 percent from the floor and beyond the arc. Oregon State hit just 30.4 percent, and made just two threes out of 22 attempts.
Louisville’s defense helped tremendously. State scooped up eight more rebounds than Louisville.
The Cardinals led 21-15 at the end of the first. Louisville had an 11-2 run early in the period. Sam Fuehring scored eight points. Asia Durr had six.
Neither team scored more than 10 in the second period. Louisville went scoreless for the last five minutes. The score at halftime was 30-23 in favor of Louisville.
It took almost three minutes for the offense to get going again in the second half. When it did, Louisville outscored Oregon State on a 7-1 run. Louisville held State to just five points. The Cardinals finished on an 8-0 run.
The fourth was even, almost. Louisville won it, however, 17-16.
Fuehring and Durr both had 17 points. Fuehring had nine rebounds, which led the team. Durr was second, with eight.
Louisville will now look ahead to Connecticut. The Cardinals will face the Huskies, after defeating them in the regular season in Louisville. The game may be tougher. Albany is closer to Connecticut. The Huskies also do their best work in March, historically.
If Louisville does beat Connecticut, then it could set them up for another matchup with Notre Dame.
Cards v. Huskies, round two, will take place Sunday at Noon in Albany.
--By Jared Anderson
--Cover photo by Roscelle Griffin
--Gallery by Jared Anderson
Louisville welcomed back head coach Jeff Walz and point guard Arica Carter with a commanding 71-50 victory over 8-seed Michigan. The Cards are the first team to punch their ticket to the Sweet Sixteen.
Asia Durr concluded her final game in the KFC Yum! Center with a game-high 24 points, going 9-23 from the field with five three-pointers.
Jazmine Jones, Sam Fuehring, and Dana Evans also finished in the double-digits in scoring with 15 points, 10 points, and 10 points, respectively.
Kylee Shook flirted with a double-double, scoring eight points and hauling in 10 rebounds. Carter added seven rebounds and Bionca Dunham had five as Louisville out-rebounded the Wolverines by one.
15 of Louisville's 35 rebounds where on the offensive glass, which converted into 19 second chance points, a mark the Cards won by a large margin.
Louisville forced 22 turnovers, double the amount they committed themselves, and the 28-12 points of turnovers played well into the Cards' favor.
Overall, Louisville shot 30-70 from the field for 42.9%, a shooting percentage Michigan matched. The Cards hit eight threes with a percentage of 30.9, well below their season average.
The Cards scored the first points of the game and never looked back. They held a 19-4 lead before Michigan went on a 7-0 run to end the first quarter.
Louisville pushed their lead back to double-digits and held a halftime lead 38-26.
Late in the third quarter the lead made its way to 25 points, but a basket before the buzzer cut the score to 55-32.
With 1:56 remaining in the game Walz pulled his three seniors as the game was well out of reach. The trio hugged their way down the bench in front of a standing ovation.
Once the final buzzer sounded the team made its way to mid-court where Carter, Fuehring, and Durr took turns bending over to kiss the Cardinal bird before taking a victory lap.
Louisville advances to the Sweet Sixteen where they will face the winner of 4-Oregon State and 5-Gonzaga. The Cards travel to Albany for the game and a victory could result in a rematch with UConn for a trip to the Final Four.
By Jason Wyrick
Photos by Roscelle Griffin
Without the safety nets of point guard Arica Carter and head coach Jeff Walz, the Cards took on 16-seed Robert Morris in the first round of the NCAA Tournament; a tournament the squad, talking heads and fans alike believe the Cards have as good of chance to win as any program in the country.
Carter, a senior who has started at point guard for three seasons has been nursing a minor injury (a knee contusion she suffered during the ACC tournament semifinal against North Carolina State) which also caused her to miss the championship, an eventual loss to Notre Dame along the way. As much as I am sure she would have loved to play, this match-up with Robert Morris simply did not warrant the risk of re-aggravation. If this were the Final Four or even a potential Elite Eight showdown with Connecticut, there is no doubt in my mind she would have played as usual, but today, the names of the game were rest and precaution.
Walz was suspended for this opening round match-up after using defaming and derogatory language to emphasize his frustration with officials during and following last year’s Final Four loss to Mississippi State.
Associate head coach Stephanie Norman took the reigns in his absence. Norman has been Walz’s right hand woman since his hiring in 2007 and even served as the acting head coach during December’s blowout of Tennessee-Martin in preparation for this day- one that Walz spent enjoying mingling with fans at Sidebar downtown.
Even without Carter and Walz, Robert Morris proved no contest for the Louisville Cardinals.
The Cards jumped out to a very commanding early lead of 21-4 after the opening quarter. At one point, the scoring run was 27-0, a nearly 15-minute stretch of dominance on defense and the glass from the early minutes of the first quarter and late into the second. Robert Morris put together a nice scoring run of their own, 9-2 very deep into the second quarter when Cards’ reserves were sprinkled into the lineup. However, Louisville clamped down and eventually put their foot back on the gas to seal a victory that for the 39:33 following Louisville’s opening bucket, did not show any semblance of a close contest. This game was truly the epitome of 1 vs 16 if I have ever seen one.
The length of the entire squad proved to be the biggest nuisance to the Colonels, not only crashing the glass but by blocking shots. Louisville out-rebounded Robert Morris 47-28 and had a total of six blocks. Jazmine Jones and Sam Fuehring led the way with three and two blocks, respectively.
My personal player of the game is Sam Fuehring. Going 9-9 from the field before giving way to the bench and reserves in garbage time, she also stuffed the box score with 11 rebounds and two blocks en route to a +/- of 33.
Asia Durr ended with 19 points, three rebounds, a steal, a block and a +22. Dana Evans saw significant minutes off the bench, playing 28 of the 40 and collecting 13 points, six boards, five assists, a steal and an eventual +29.
This 69-34 victory was Louisville’s 30th of the year. They will face the winner of Michigan vs. Kansas State in Sunday’s Yum! Center finale, a second round NCAA matchup.
Jason Wyrick is a contributor to River City Cards. He is a Louisville alumnus (‘18) and can be followed on social media @Steagles1.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. March Madness. Louisville is a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament, and already, there are surprises.
We found out a few hours early that Jeff Walz and company will take on 16-seed Robert Morris on Friday at noon; to begin their quest for Tampa, and a national championship. They’re a one-seed for the second consecutive season.
Here’s a few reactions to the selection show blunder, and Louisville’s path to the promise land…
Officiating the Selection Show?
The selection was originally scheduled to release at 7pm on ESPN. ESPN shot themselves in the foot, and released it a few hours early, accidentally. The four-letter network decided to move the announcement show up to 5pm, on one of their other networks.
The error, which was on-par with a typical women’s basketball officiating crew, made the release awkward for the entire field. ESPN hosted a selection show on the original network at the original time; and gave teams a chance to appear on national TV, but the damage was done.
ESPN moved the original selection show at 5 to ESPN2, which while great; is not their flagship network. Around the Horn, one of the many talk shows that ESPN has, remained on the flagship station. While women’s basketball coverage may not get as many ratings as men’s, surely it would get more than a derivative talk show with almost-identical takes as nearly every other sports show.
Louisville’s path to the promise land
Louisville’s path, if higher seeds win; includes: Michigan, Oregon State, and… CONNECTICUT.
Asia Durr and Dana Evans blasted the Huskies with 24 and 20 points, respectively. They led the Cardinals to a 78-69 win on January 31st.
Since then, Connecticut has looked like their old selves, and won 13-consecutive games, including the American Athletic Tournament championship. Storrs, Connecticut is just over 2 hours away from Albany, where the regional final will take place. Louisville, on the other hand, is over a 12-hour drive, or over a four-hour flight.
The Elite Eight game may look like a Connecticut home game. If so, Jeff Walz and company will need to be ready for a loud, hostile environment.
If they get past UConn, Louisville may have another chance to beat Notre Dame, on the largest stage in women’s college basketball: the Final Four. Notre Dame is the top seed in Chicago.
Time and dates of the first and second
Louisville plays the first and second rounds on Friday and Sunday. Game one, against Robert Morris, is at 12 noon. The second game has not had an announced start-time.
If the NCAA wanted to capitalize on generating revenue, they should have put the start-time back a few hours, and allowed Louisvillians to have a chance to leave work and come to the game, or tune into ESPN for the game. Louisville is the third-highest grossing market for women’s basketball. They averaged close to ten-thousand fans this season.
Maybe it’s fairness. 12 noon is a time that many fans can’t leave work for. This, in addition to Jeff Walz’s first-round tournament ban, may give Robert Morris a *slightly* better chance at victory.
Regardless, this is the most wonderful time of the year for many college basketball fans. March Madness is here! There’s bound to be plenty of madness to go around.
--By Jared Anderson
--Photo by Jared Anderson
Asia Durr and Dana Evans received accolades from the Atlantic Coast Conference for their performances in the regular season.
Durr was named ACC Player of the Year for the second straight year. Her 21.4 points per game lead the ACC and is 13th in the nation. After making nearly three three-point shots per game she sits at second in the conference. Earlier this season, Durr became the second-highest scorer in program history, passing both Myisha Hines-Allen and Shoni Schimmel, now sitting at 2,343 career points.
Evans was named ACC Sixth Player of the Year. The sophomore and Miss Indiana Basketball regularly came of the bench. Her 10.5 points per game ranks second on the team. Evans' 4.1 assists per game puts her at seventh in the conference.
Louisville is the 2-seed in the ACC Tournament and has a double-bye before playing on Friday at 6:00 p.m. Virginia Tech and Clemson square off today with the winner taking on Wake Forest tomorrow. The winner will face the Cards on Friday.