Louisville women stop the bleeding … and the Wildcats

 

No one plays harder during a game or celebrates as much Briahanna Jackson after a Louisville win over Kentucky (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
No one plays harder during a game or celebrates as much Briahanna Jackson after a Louisville win, especially when it’s a victory over arch-rival Kentucky (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

When teams from the universities of Louisville and Kentucky clash, it’s never just another rivalry game, whether it’s in basketball, football, soccer or baseball.  The friction extends far beyond the playing fields to every day walks of life and the antagonism never ceases.

Asia Durr found the basket often enough to score 15 points (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
Asia Durr found the basket often enough to score 15 points (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Coach Jeff Walz has a team that includes only one player from the state of Kentucky this season, rarely having more than one or two local players on his team. This may help explain why UofL had lost five straight games to UK going into Sunday’s game.

Tom Jurich, vice president of athletics, stopped by the gym after practice a couple of days ago to put the rivalry in perspective. Walz also had that memorable tirade, informing team members he is not big on participation trophies.

“We badly wanted to beat them,” said Myisha Hines-Allen after the game. “It was important, not only for us for this city and our university. It felt great to finally get it done.”

Freshman Jazmine Jones earning respect with seven points and four rebounds (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
Freshman Jazmine Jones earning respect with seven points and four rebounds (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Hines-Allen spoke for many people in the crowd of 12,245 at the KFC Yum! Center, many of them still frustrated about the shocking UK upset in the recent football clash. The pain of losses to the Wildcats are slow to heal, mainly because UK fans don’t want UofL fans to forget.

Louisville would lead by nine points at one point but it was obvious that UK was not going to roll over, that UK wanted a sixth win in a row in the series, that UK wanted the Cardinals to lose their third straight game this season. Their mission of UK teams, regardless of the sport, is to make life miserable for UofL fans.

That’s a big reason why Louisville 69-67 win over Kentucky was so sweet, denying the Wildcats the satisfaction of giving into them, sending them home with their tails between their legs. Such a gratifying feeling, seeing the Cats go down to defeat anytime, but especially when it’s UofL that has brought them to heel.

— Hines-Allen was bumped around all game long, refusing to wilt, playing one of her best games, reminding fans of why she was the ACC player of the year last season — 26 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks before filing out with 1:15 left in the overtime.

Briahanna Jackson goes right at UK Makayla Epps (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
Briahanna Jackson goes right at UK’s Makayla Epps (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

— Briahanna Jackson is the heart, the heart and soul of this team, a self-motivator with a non-stop motor. Small and perky but a constant pest, always in your face. Jackson would score only 5 points, but she would corral 10 rebounds, come up with 5 steals and make an incredible 8 assists. If the 5-foot-6 senior finds her shot again, look out.

— Asia Durr in her first game against UK would connect on only five of 18 field goal attempts, including four 3-pointers, and one of four free throw attempts for 15 points. Mixing it up under the boards, coming out with five rebounds.

— Jazmine Jones, a freshman from Tallahassee, with an impressive showing for a first-timer in a very tough environment, contributing 7 points, 4 rebounds and an assist.

— Senior Courtnee Walton taking a beating in the middle but emerging with 10 rebounds, playing a big role in holding UK center Evelyn Akhator to 10 points.

UK’s Makayla Epps, hopefully playing in her last game against UofL, keeping her team constantly on the verge of winning with 22 points and 16 rebounds. Losing in the final appearance against the team she made a verbal commitment to coming out of high school — only to renege on it and play for the Wildcats. Probably the unhappiest Wildcat of all following the loss.

Louisville Soccer goes down, but, hey, 2016 is almost over

On the verge of something special, but down they go. Again.

One game short of the College Cup for UofL but it's still the year 2016 (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
Falling short of post season glory for UofL, a familiar refrain in 2016 (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Still the year 2016, folks, a memorable one for University of Louisville athletics, and not in a good way. Lots of potential, plenty of wins, but consistently falling short of any special post-season milestones.

The latest to fall is the UofL soccer team. Just one game short of making it to the sport’s Final Four, teasing fans with the possibility of a national championship. Losing by a score of 2-0 to Stanford, the defending national champion, before a crowd of 3,247 Saturday at the Mark & Cindy Lynn Stadium. 

Continue reading “Louisville Soccer goes down, but, hey, 2016 is almost over”

Card Game photographer assailed after UofL-Maryland game

A would-be thief came up empty-handed after attacking a photographer who frequently shoots University of Louisville games for UofLCardGame. The assailant fled after inflicting severe pain on a good friend and associate.

 Cindy Rice Shelton
Cindy Rice Shelton

Cindy Rice Shelton has been taking photos for Card Game since we became acquainted during the UofL baseball season. I was impressed with her shooting eye, and her work during the football and basketball seasons has significantly enhanced the graphics on the site.

Shelton, who was courtside Thursday for the UofL-Maryland women’s basketball game, had left the KFC Yum! Center at approximately 9:30 p.m. She had uploaded her SD cards to her laptop computer and was returning to her car a couple of blocks away.

After crossing the street at First and Main, someone attacked her, attempting to grab one or both of her cameras. “I had my cameras criss-crossed around my body,” she said. “When he couldn’t get the cameras, he just knocked me down on the sidewalk and ran away.”

“I was in severe pain, bloodying a knee and elbow, and having fallen on one of my cameras,” she said. “I didn’t know if I would be able to get up by myself.”

Continue reading “Card Game photographer assailed after UofL-Maryland game”

Jeff Walz not awarding any participation trophies

Cornee Walton (left) comes to the aid of Asia Durr after Asia suffers a cramp in Thursday's game against Maryland ( Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
Cornee Walton (left) comes to the aid of Asia Durr after Asia suffers a cramp in Thursday’s game against Maryland ( Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

The heart of the schedule has arrived for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team and the Cardinals are learning some hard lessons. The latest a 78-72 loss to Maryland.

UofL showed some grit in rallying from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarters to twice take the lead. Didn’t faze Maryland, with Brenda Frese chalking up her third win against former assistant Jeff Walz in four tries. 

Briahanna Jackson had a busy night with 8 assists, 3 steals, 5 rebounds and 9 points (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
Briahanna Jackson had a busy night with 8 assists, 3 steals, 5 rebounds and 9 points (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

A disappointed Jeff Walz would question his team’s heart and desire to win. “Personally I hate losing more than I like winning,” said Walz. “Young people today are used to just showing up getting participation trophies just for playing. Just showing up is going to get you beat.”

With Asia Durr leading the way, UofL would build a 24-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.  She was open early and often, scoring 17 of her team high 20 points in the first 20 minutes, keeping her team within four points of the visiting Terrapins at half time.

Miserable shooting night for the rest of the Louisville women who could make only 31 of 79 (33.3%) field goals attempts. Shot after shot falling short of the rim most of the night.  Maryland, meanwhile, was 25 of 54, or a 61.5% clip.

The Cardinals were outrebounded 48-35 by the smaller Terrapins and could connect on only 6 of 14 free throw attempts.

Myisha Hines-Allen, picked pre-season ACC player of the year, regained some of her shooting form in the second half, winding up with 16 points. 

Nobody questioning Briahanna Jackson’s desire to win. She would have eight assists and three steals while contributing 9 points.

After six straight wins to open the season, UofL has lost two straight and is staring down the muzzle of a loaded Kentucky team on Sunday. The Wildcats are 8-1 and have won five straight games over UofL and six out of the last seven in the series.

Bench propels Louisville basketball past Purdue

Ray Spalding setting the tone in the first half (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
Ray Spalding setting the tone in the first half (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Have to be a little more confident about the future for the University of Louisville basketball team with the bench playing an integral role in UofL’s 71-64 win over Purdue. That’s a luxury UofL hasn’t enjoyed in recent seasons.

— Sophomore Ray Spalding leading the reinforcements, playing with newfound confidence and efficiency. Having the game of his UofL career after relieving Jaylen Johnson. He would set the tone in the first half, making all five of his field goal attempts and pull down nine rebounds. He would win up with 11 points in the game.

— Anas Mahmoud, a junior already, stepping in for Mangok Mathiang, still perfecting that move to the basket, making all four of his field goal attempts and winding up with nine points. He would also be credited with two assists, a block and a steal.

— Redshirt freshman Ryan McMahon coming through when the Cardinals needed him most, light out on his two 3-point attempts and two free throws. If Coach Rick Pitino needed to have more confidence in McMahon, he should have been convinced in his performance against Purdue.

— Senior Mangok Mathiang with perhaps his best start ever. Every basket he makes is a bonus, some of them unbelievable in this game. Splitting defenders, making hook shots, jumpers, even a scoop shot, he would make five of 11 field goal attempts, winding up with 11 points. He would also pull down eight rebounds and be credited with an assist and a steal.

 Not a great night for freshman V. J. King, who missed all three of his field goal attempts. But nobody doubts his time is coming, and that could happen any game now. That will make the bench even stronger.