Kylee Shook ready early, UofL women cruise in NCAA opener

Sam Fuehring clearing a path to the basket for teammate Dana Evans. (Cindy Rice Shelton photos)

Asia Durr not making shots? Myisha Hines-Allen not hitting? Two conference players of the year playing tentatively, not getting off to good starts in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. 

The UofL women attracting a solid following as March Madness consumes the Ville again. (Cindy Rice Shelton photo)

Coach Jeff Walz will pull both of them quickly, letting them relax on the bench for a while. Kylee Shook and Dana Evans will see early action, along with Bionca Dunham. The University of Louisville women’s basketball team lives up to its  No. 1 seed in dismantling Boise State 74-42 at the KFC Yum! Center.

The game seemed to be tailor made for Shook. The 6-foot-4 sophomore would hit two 3-pointers within a minute, alternating between Jazmine Jones layups for a 19-8 lead before adding her own to make it 21-11.

Meanwhile, Sam Fuehring providing a intimidating presence on defense while cleaning up around the basket for another 14 points. Fuehring and Shook would pull down 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively.

All America Asia Durr attracting a crowd everywhere she goes during NCAA action (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Hines-Allen, never able to get going offensively, would wind up with only four points but still manage to get 14 rebounds. Arica Carter was passing out assists all afternoon, finding her teammates for seven baskets.

Asia Durr, unable to conceal her concern about her shooting touch from behind the 3-point line, still managing to get nine points. She was 0-4 on 3-point shots.

Durr attracts a lot of attention on and off the court. She needs to find her shot soon, return the favor to her teammates, if she and UofL are to make a serious run in the NCAA tournament.

Someone finally gets David Grissom to discuss aspirations for UofL


Click on photo to link to the KET interview between Billy Reed and J. David Grissom.

In a rare interview, J. David Grissom, chairman of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees, spoke with sports analyst Billy Reed, a former local columnist and national sportswriter, for an hour, discussing Grissom’s role and aspirations for the school.  

Grissom, a former athlete and close follower of amateur and professional sports, may have helped to dispel the notion that he wants to diminish UofL athletics while taking the opportunity to emphasize a desire to see Louisville greatly enhance its  academic programs and reputation. 

With all the emotions tied to the school’s future, Grissom was never going to relieve the anxieties of many alumni members or fans, but it was a relief to finally hear him discussing some of the issues.

Grissom, who earned a law degree at UofL, said that despite the fact that faculty and staff salaries have remained stagnant for the past decade,  the passion and commitment of those same people to the University is extraordinary.  

“The old girl (the University) has taken a couple of body blows but there’s clearly a path toward restoring the reputation of the University of Louisville to the way it was in the past,” said Grissom. “It’s going to take a very strong leader, that person has to come from academia to understand the a big urban research university works, with all kinds of different priorities and constituencies.”

Grissom observed that schools like the University of Louisville are like big aircraft carriers . “They just keep on chugging, with a reservoir of good will and momentum on their own,” he said.

“The donor base fell off during the administrative problems but it’s already back to where it was, and the applications during the freshman class of next year are up 60 percent” he added.  “These places have wonderful resiliency and an ability to get their arms around themselves and solve their problems. This place (UofL) is on its way and it will get to a place where we are all proud to be graduates of this institution. 

“I’m a big believer and a big supporter, and she (UofL) is going to be just fine.”

Link to the entire interview

Update on Louisville’s Cardinal Stadium expansion

No more need to close one’s eyes to visualize how the addition is going to impact the physical structure. The foundation is there, ready for all the extra touches to be added. 

The concrete vertex is now complete at the top of the end zone addition at Cardinal Stadium, which means that installation of the new video scoreboards and between 5,000 and 6,000 new seats can’t be far behind.

Except for a few people huddled at the tip of the addition, most of the construction workers were leaving when the observer checked out the expansion progress on Wednesday.

From all indications, the project is on schedule, within budget, and will be ready for the home opener against Indiana State on Sept. 8th. Capacity is expected to be 61,000-plus.

The expanded stadium will be a motivating force for University of Louisville football players who are preparing for the opening of spring football camp on Tuesday, March 20. The spring football game is scheduled Saturday, April 14th at 1 p.m.

Link to the entire interview.

Louisville baseball overcomes Texas Tech, frigid temperatures

The reading on the temperature gauge indicating a chilly 28 degrees for Elementary School Day as the University of Louisville baseball team prepares for game two against Texas Tech.

The youngsters, in constant motion and seemingly unfazed by the cold weather, providing a noisy backdrop for a game between two highly-ranked teams.  But clearly not ideal conditions for pitchers, batters or other spectators.

Sam Bordner notches his seventh save in just 17 games.

Just ask Reid Detmers, a 6-2 left handed freshman pitcher for UofL, trying to fight off the frigid temperatures. He will walk two of the first three batters and give up a home run to the fifth, giving the visiting Red Raiders a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

Not a good start, especially with UofL having lost in the opener of the two-game set. The Cardinals will battle back with Jake Snider slamming a triple and scoring on a sacrifice by Devin Mann. They will make up more ground with Josh Stowers collecting his first home run of the season in the fifth inning. 

Louisville would push three runs across the plate in the sixth to take the lead, with contributions from Logan Wyatt, Tyler Fitzgerald, Pat Rumero, Tyler Fitzgerald and Snider. UofL would prevail by a score of 7-4, improving its overall record to 15-2.

Bobby Miller, a 6-2 right hander, would earn the win, taking the mound in the fifth inning, striking out five batters and allowing no Red Raiders to reach base in three-and-a-third innings.  It was the third win for the freshman from McHenry,Ill.

Junior right hander Sam Bordner would complete the shutdown with a perfect ninth inning, striking out all three batters for his seventh save of the season. Bordner has a scoreless streak of 21.0 innings dating back to last season.

Raucous NIT crowd pushes UofL past Northern Kentucky

Darius Perry delivers the exclamation point and posterizing dunk in the fourth quarter in top photo. Below, Deng Adel collects two of his game-leading  20 points (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Vince Tyra, the probable athletic director at the University of Louisville, had to have mixed feelings. Smallest crowd of the 2017-18 season but probably the best one.

The crowd of 9,974 was full of fanatical Louisville fans having a great night out (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

The UofL partisans among the 9,974 fans so happy to be there for the National Invitation Tournament. Thriving on watching their Louisville basketball team. As one observer remarked, the home court would be a hell hole for opponents if every game had this atmosphere.

UofL was listless, awkward and struggling early, playing without any semblance of rhythm or purpose. Looking for a while like the Cardinals might be headed for still another low point, plunging into nothingness if they couldn’t get it going. So many airballs and blown plays, UofL falling behind 30-23 at the half.

But this raucous congregation of fans, consisting of many never seen in the lower levels of the KFC Yum! Center, were not going to let them quit. They were there to see their Cardinals, enjoying the big buck seats, and they would be a factor. Time after time they willed the Cardinals back in the game, helping shake off the sluggishness, willing them back into the game, pushing them over the top.

The crescendo coming with 40 seconds to go in the third quarter, on a towering, posterizing dunk by Darius Perry. The No. 1 dunk of the year coming in the NIT. The birthday boy from Powder Springs, Georgia, coming through with the icing on the cake. From that moment on it was just a matter of time, with Louisville a good Northern Kentucky team 66-58 to advance to the next round.

Vince Tyra had to be amazed at the exuberance of the all the non season-ticket holders filling those seats in the lower bowl. In the best of all UofL worlds, the best seats would be always be occupied by the most vocal fans. 

Not that anyone is complaining about the regulars who have been there through some trying times. But crowds like the one Tuesday night are a endearing reminder of the yesteryears when economics were not such a dominating factor in college basketball.

Coach David Padgett giving this crowd much of the credit, “They gave the energy we needed to win this game,” he said.