Sunday, April 7, 2013
Destiny ahead? Lady Cards look to shock again tonight
SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-- TIME TO SHOCK THE WORLD AGAIN...
-- SOFTBALL SWEEPS ST. JOHN'S
-- LACROSSE TODAY
The University of Louisville men's basketball team sent home the Wichita State Shockers last night in come-from-behind fashion to advance to the NCAA Championship game Monday night.
The University of Louisville women's basketball team looks to do a bit of shocking themselves tonight...a win over the #2 seeded California Bears would put the #5 seed Louisville squad into Tuesday night's NCAA Womens' Championship game. Have the Cards rode the redemption train to its final destination? What does the train engineer think?
"No one expects us to win now. I'm sorry, we're seeded fifth. So my thing is, I know we won two games, but we're seeded fifth...and if they expected us to win...we'd be seeded second or third. California is 32-3. They beat Stanford. They're a great basketball team, so we're going to have to figure out a way to win." -- Jeff Walz.
If the goal is to advance and the advancement has come against two of women's basketball powerhouses over the last two games...could the path to the end of the rainbow be slightly easier now? Cal was expected by many to bow out to #1 seed Stanford in the West Regional finals. Stanford failed to show up, though...and Cal came back to beat a gritty, determined Georgia team to earn a shot in New Orleans.
"I definitely agree that a lot has to go right in order to get to this point, but I also think there's a huge impact that our players have in making things go right. The teams that were in front of us at each stage were really formidable and we had to get the job done." -- Lindsay Gottlieb
So, how does Louisville fulfill the unthinkable (by some) destiny of playing Tuesday night? Here's five things we hope the Cards can do that will help make the goal attainable:
1) Continue to play loose. The Cards went into the Baylor and Tennessee games thinking they had nothing to lose, since no one expected them to win. The same philosophy needs to be in place tonight. Go out, have some fun, play a little ball and see how it goes. We're the underdog. No pressure, no expectations. Let's hoop!
2) Be effective early. Louisville hopped out to dominant early leads against MTSU, Purdue, Baylor and Tennessee and weathered the storms later. Can we get a refill here?
3) Follow the game plan. Coach Walz and his assistants have had four days to develop a strategy for tonight's game. That's like giving Teddy Bridgewater 20 seconds in the pocket to find an open receiver. Listen to what the man has to say.
4) Go to the boards. A team that earlier in the season avoided rebounding like I avoid beets has shown they can muscle it up inside and grab missed shots. This needs to continue.
5) Score. Louisville had 80 points plus in wins over Baylor and Tennessee. It's a pretty simple concept. Score more than the opponent and you'll win. Shoni needs another 20 point + effort, Nita's threes need to find their mark and double digit efforts out of Sara, Bria, Jude and Mo would be most welcome. Keep the official scorers busy.
Tip is at 6:30 p.m. EDT. We'll be back later tonight with a recap of what we feel confident will be a CARDINAL win.
Let us know what you are thinking and what you are doing in NOLA, at home and even in Atlanta in our comments section! CARDS! CARDS!CARDS!CARDS!CARDS!CARDS!CARDS!
Louisville softball took two from the St. John's Red Storm yesteday in Queens, NY to improve to 31-6 on the season an 4-1 in BIG EAST play. They survived a 2-run STJ attack in the seventh inning of the first game to win 6-4 in eight innings and quelled the Storm with a 15-0 white-wash in the second game.
CARDS 6 - SJU 4.
It was both a "Good Carl and Bad Carl" performance for the Louisville junior in the pitching circle yesterday...but the bats brought the victory in extra innings.
Connell allowed two first inning runs to the Red Storm and the margin held up for SJU while Louisville looked for a way to dent the Red Storm defense. The fireworks didn't arrive until the fifth innning for the Cardinal bats. Maggie Ruckenbrod started the inning with a deep double and Whitney Arion's fielders choice tapper advanced her to third and Arion was safe at first. Hannah Kiyohara connected for her second home run of the season...barely clearing the left-center fence to give Louisville a 3-2 advantage.
Louisville added a run in the sixth when Taner Fowler reached on an infield single and rode home on a Kayla Soles single.
The Red Storm blustered back in the bottom of the seventh. An opening home run narrowed the gap and two walks and a single loaded the bases with no outs. A sacrifice fly tied it and the Johnnies later had the bases loaded again with two outs but Carl delivered a strike out to end the rally and send the game into extra innings.
The Cards got Kiyohara help again in the top of the eighth. After Soles reached on a grounder and Jasmine Smithson-Willett drew a walk, Kiyohara drilled one down the left field line. Soles scored and a wle. ild throw from left trying to pick her off at the plate allowed JSW to score from first.
Connell shut SJU down in the bottom of the eight to improve her record to 20-2 on the season. Kiyohara has 5 RBI's for Louisville.
LOUISVILLE 15 - SJU 0
Rachel LeCoq took to the pitching stripe for the second game and delivered a four hit, six strike-out performance in five innings for UofL. The Cardinal bats went wild in this one.
One run in the first when Katie Keller led off with a walk and scored on a Jordan Trimble single. Louisville made it 2-0 in the third after Jasmine Smithson-Willett singled and reached the plate on Katie Keller's double.
The Cards blasted four runs across in the four. Singles from Kiyohara and Arion and a walk to Katelynn Mann set the stage for a JSW double off the wall in left to make it 4-0. Keller's sacrifice fly scored Mann and Trimble's single brought JSW home to give Louisville a 6-0 cushion.
The Birds really flew high in the fifth with nine runs. Walks to Fowler, Kiyohara, Arion and JSW produced a run. Keller singled to score Kiyohara for an 8-0 lead. Trimble cleaned the bases with a grand slam home run over centerfield (the second of her career) to push it to 12-0. Wolny got plunked by a pitch next and Fowler singled to set it up for a double from Kiyohara that scored both. The Cards tacked on their 15th run when Arion singled to score Kiyohara.
The two will face again today at 2 p.m.
Lacrosse gives you a chance to get your shouting an early test today with a noon game against Marquette at the Louisville Lacrosse field. It's the first season for Marquette lacrosse, so the cheering for Red and Black scores should come pretty often.
Louisville comes off a heartbreaking, double overtime 16-15 loss to Notre Dame. IT does show, however...how far Lacrosse has come this season...taking #7 in the nation to two extra sessions and actually leading by three goals midway through the second half.
Get out and give our fantastic freshmen "All the way" Kay Morissette and Cortnee "Racy" Lacey some love and see Nikki Boltja and Katie Oliverio send shots past the mis-matched Marquette defenders.
Big fun, that Lacrosse is...go get some!