Louisville G Asia Durr, during Louisville's opener against Southeast Missouri. Durr was responsible for 47 points Sunday against No. 5 Ohio State.
Paul sykes offers his thoughts on louisville's historic victory on sunday
Paul Sykes is one of the most experienced Louisville writers, and one of the most respected. He is the co-owner and senior columnist at Cardinal Couple, and host of Cardinal Couple Radio, Saturday mornings at 11 on 100.9 WCHQ. Paul also hosts Handicapping Heroes, and is the sports editor and radio host of Morning Sports on WCHQ. He traveled up to Columbus Sunday, and gave a few thoughts on the game. His work can he found here
It was an Instant Classic.
The Louisville women's basketball team took a drive up I-71 (198 miles if anyone's counting) to face #5 Ohio State in the second game of the Countdown To Columbus Classic.
Earlier in the day, Connecticut dispatched of Stanford with relative ease...downing The Cardinal 78-53. This one was 49-14 at the half, and...no, it was not a total of nine touchdowns. That's really all you need to know about the opener. UConn being UConn.
I arrived in time to get a bit of media room chow before the first game. It made me appreciate even more the spread that Cards women's basketball puts out before a home contest. In Columbus, they feed you luke-warm processed chicken and mini-burgers with cheese. The buns were already getting stale. Chips. No catsup or mustard. Oh, yeah...they had a fruit medley for consumption. It was the best part of the meal.
I made my way out to the court and found I was sitting in the second row of Media Row. Near the UofL/Stanford bench. I got to greet a few Cardinal fans there and the place was awash in Red. OSU red, not Cardinal Red.
After the early blowout, I went back to the Media Room to grab a water and see if the buffet fare had improved. It had not. A few UofL media folks were at a table and motioned for me to join them. I talked with Nick Curran, play-by-play voice for UofL women's basketball radio broadcasts. He's a great guy. We were joking about Matt Andrews tie. The former broadcast voice of the Lady Cards, now doing the same thing for OSU women's hoops, had this silver and white checked, hounds-tooth tie that looked like Beat Bryant's old sidelines hat from Alabama football.
I told him that if a guy wore a tie like that, he deserved a free bowl of soup. He got the playful banter and promised to send me one for Christmas. Whoopie!
I chatted a bit more with Danielle Lerner, the Courier-Journal writer covering the game, and headed to the floor.
The second game began and it was a Michael Jackson thriller! Louisville jumped out to a 21-13 first quarter lead after Jaz Jones nailed a jumper off a Dana Evans pass. OSU retaliated with the final six points to make it 21-19 after one. Asia Durr already had 12 points. All on threes.
The second frame (they do play college women's basketball in quarters...in case you had forgotten) featured the Cards puffing the lead back out to eight at 29-21 and leading 39-26 with four minutes until the half. OSU promptly scored 14 of the final 16 points and UofL clung to a 41-40 lead after twenty. Guard Asia (Doss, not Durr) had the hot hand for the Buckeyes with 14 points. Our Asia went to the locker room with 17 points. A fore-shadowing stat was that the Cards were out-rebounding the BIG TEN foe 20-14.
Ohio State actually took a brief lead to start the third on a Linnae Harper three-ball. If the name sounds familiar, it's because she is a former Kentucky Wildcat who transferred to OSU after two years in Lexington. OSU has five transfers on their roster. If you can't recruit them, get them to leave where they're at, right? In all seriousness, Kevin McGuff is a wonderful coach, a good friend of Jeff Walz's and it's easy to see why players who need to leave programs gravitate to him.
Where was I? Oh, yeah the game.
The Cards came back and regained the lead. Durr was swishing jumpers from all over the court and Louisville led 62-50 with 2:46 left in the third. This time, the Buckeyes did not make a late quarter-ending rally and the margin was eight for Walz's bunch at 66-58 after three sessions. Durr had fifteen of Louisville 25 points in the third quarter and 32 for the game. Even the paid security at the game was trying to prevent her from scoring and failing.
Then, came the final ten minutes. Maybe the most exciting, nervous and wild ten minutes of college hoops I've sat through in awhile. Harper got the Buckeyes back within four on a layup with a minutes and half of action transpired. Sam Fuehring hit a free throw that pushed it back out to 73-66 after four minutes. An Arica Carter three on a great ball reversal silenced the huge OSU crowd temporarily and Louisville led 76-68 with five to go.
the Buckeyes were not done. A Kelsey Mitchell three (she would come into play huge later) cut the Cards edge to four at 78-74 and 3:59 left on the clock. Mitchell played trifecta ball and hit again to give Ohio State a 79-78 edge with 2:32 remaining. Nationwide Arena was deafening. As loud as I've ever head the KFC YUM! Center.
Myisha Hines-Allen wasn't ready to get on the bus just yet. Her smooth jumper found the mark and it was Louisville with the one-point lead.
Then confusion and chimps took over. The Cards turned the ball over with 40 seconds to go. Sierra Calhoun tried a jumper that rolled off. Carter grabbed the rebound and found Myisha for a layup. The ball wouldn't go in. 11 seconds to go.
Mitchell was owning the final quarter for Ohio State. 15 points and four rebounds. Fist-pumping every time down court. Grabbing the trombone and joining the Ohio State pep band for the fight song. (OK, she didn't really do that...)
A silly reach-in foul by Jaz Jones and Kelsey Mitchell went to the charity stripe with five ticks left on the scoreboard. The OSU senior calmly sank the first. Tied up! The second clanged off and Dana Evans streaked down the floor with the ball after getting the rebound pass from Sam Fuehring. She drives the baseline. She's fouled with no time left!
Or is she fouled?
Head referee Tina Napier gathered her crew. The fans were screaming. They did not go to the replay monitor...shockingly enough. After consultation, Napier signals that time has expired and regulation is over.
No foul. Nothing to see here, move along. Follow me, Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles. Join Tina on the court.
Jeff Walz was hotter than a NASA missle on the launch pad. I was stunned. Surely, Evans was fouled. No replay on the arena scoreboard either. It was overtime. Both teams had dodged the proverbial silver bullet in the final five seconds. Oh, Tina, dear...you blew the call. Please refrain from accepting anymore Louisville referring assignments. The Perry County native would be best utilized calling Cat games. Or cat-fights. Or herding cats.
Asia Durr must have been ready to go greet her parents and family in attendance. Maybe she wanted to go get a Gatorade and do post game interviews. In any event, she took over the five minute extra session. After Myisha scored the first bucket in overtime...OSU's Calhoun hit a three to give the Buckeyes what would be their final lead in the contest.
And then, it began.
Durr jumper. Durr three. Durr jumper. Rinse and repeat. Two Durr free throws and it was 91-85 Cards with 1:22 left. It had become a Louisville "Durr"ration and a Card Nation in the stands showed their approval with an ovation.
Durr added for more free throws in the final 17 seconds and the refs allowed a buzzer beating three from OSU's Doss (which appeared to go off a bit after the light on the backboard came on) to make it 95-90 Cards.
Over. #5 goes down. The Cards win. The Countdown to Columbus ends in a knockout delivered by the visitors.
#Durriffic #IncreDurrble #Tremedurrous
Call it what you will. Call it a new Louisville WBB single game scoring record and call it Asia Durr Day in Columbus.
A rejoicing Durr celebrated with her crew and kin long after the presser beneath the west side bleachers. She was the last one on the team bus heading back to the 'Ville. She nearly stumbled and fell getting on.
That might have been the only bad thing she did all Sunday in Columbus.