Miami women for real in win over UofL and 12,193 at the Yum!

Emese Hof of Miami (guarding Asia Durr in top photo) was too much for the Louisville women to handle around the basket, leading all scorers with 25 points. Bionca Dunham (above) having one of her better games as a Cardinal, collecting 12 points and eight rebounds in Louisville’s second loss of the 2018-19 season (Photos by Cindy Rice Shelton and Charlie Springer).
Asia Durr, hounded by Laura Cornelius, has had more than her share of challenges against Miami, and Sunday’s game was no exception (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Any questions about whether the Miami women’s basketball team’s recent win over Notre Dame was a fluke were answered on Sunday. Unfortunately for 12,193 University of Louisville fans at the KFC Yum! Center, the Hurricanes are very much for real.

Final score: Miami 79, Louisville 73.

Just ask Sam Fuehring who had the unenviable task of guarding Miami’s Emese Hof under the basket. Fuehring would quickly collect two fouls in the first quarter and play only six minutes in the first half. 

Hof, a 6-foot-4 senior from the Netherlands, is the prototype center in women’s basketball, probably 180 pounds, powerful and quick. She was making it look too easy, connecting on 10 of 16 field goal attempts, most of them layups. 

Hof would wind up with a game high 25 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. Fuehring, meanwhile, struggling against the hefty Hof, making only three of 10 shots for only six points and six rebounds in 26 minutes.

Wearing a broad smile during that last minute, knowing her team had Louisville’s number this day. Hurricane Sports describing Miami’s win over second-ranked UofL as “the biggest regular season win in program history.” 

Equally impressive in her own right was Miami point guard Laura Cornelius,   a 5-foot-8 point guard, also from the Netherlands. She would wind up with 16 points and five assists.

And there goes that No. 2 rating, putting UofL in a three-way tie for first place (with Miami and Notre Dame) in the ACC, and forcing a reassessment of the top four seeds in the NCAA tournament. New ballgame for the UofL women.

*     *    *

Asia Durr led UofL in scoring but she would admit it was not one of her better games. Par for the course against Miami.

In fact, the first bullet point on the Miami media fact sheet was that the Hurricanes had held Durr to a mere seven points in last year’s 10-point home loss to Louisville. Durr made only one field goal, with the rest of her points coming from the free throw line.

Asia was more productive on Sunday, scoring 16 points. However, she made only one of 10 three-point attempts, and five of 17 overall. 

In four meetings against Durr over the past four seasons, Miami has held her to 42 points (10.5 per game) on 13-of-43 shooting (30.2 percent), including a 2-of-18 (11.1 percent) mark from 3-point range.

 

Walz lets Louisville women work themselves out of jam

By Ed Peak

Maybe this is a good week for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team to take a break.  A respite from all the travel and rigors of the rugged Atlantic Coast Conference.

Jeff Walz saving his timeouts, letting his players work themselves out of jam against Virginia Tech (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Jeff Walz has had a great time this season, often joking, clowning and high-fiving his players as they have wound their way to a 23-1 won-lost mark. But he was not smiling Sunday when Virginia Tech cut a 20-point lead to five points with less than a minute to go.

That look of confidence replaced by one of genuine concern on that stubble-framed countenance. He knew they were in trouble. The second ranked Cardinals letting a 20-point lead dwindle to almost nothing to a team hitting everything it threw at the basket in the fourth quarter. 

Walz avoiding using up precious timeouts during those final minutes, wanting his players to get themselves out of troubling situations. “I wanted them to figure it out themselves,” he said. Durr taking the cue, digging deep, taking the team on her shoulders again. 

Durr has been banged up a bit lately, actually sitting out a game two Sundays ago. But Asia would answer the call time and time again in a scary 72-63 win at Virginia Tech. With more than a little help from Sam Fuehring, banking layup after layup during the late going.

Durr would wind up with 34 points for the game, the fourth 30-point-plus outing for her career. The go-to player in the clutch, making five of seven 3-point attempts and all seven of her seven free throw shots, the final two icing the win with 13 seconds to go. Fuehring would collect her fourth double-double of the season with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

The close call for the Cardinals a reminder that the ACC remains one of the women’s college basketball’s toughest conferences. The week ahead a time to heal, get back to the basics, and prepare for the stretch drive. No time to take anyone or anything for granted.

Next game Sunday at 3 p.m. against Miami, a team fresh from upsetting Notre Dame, one game behind the Cardinals in the ACC standings, a team not be taken lightly. 

Louisville women take care of Cuse, move to top of ACC

The Syracuse women’s basketball team, never one to be taken lightly, arrives in town with an impressive 17-4 won-lost record. Ready to take it to the University of Louisville, they were. But Asia Durr was ready, too.

Asia scoring UofL’s first eight points and 12 of her 15 points in the first quarter. Getting the Cardinals off to a splendid start with a 30-17 in the first 10 minutes. The visitors would be playing catch up the rest of the night.

Kylee Shook playing one of her best games of the season against a good opponent, with 12 points and 11 rebounds (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Louisville posting a 76-51 win over the nation’s 14th ranked team before a crowd of 8,251 at the KFC Yum! Center. This on a night when Notre Dame and North Carolina State were losing, putting the Cardinals on top of the ACC with an 9-1 mark and 22-1 overall.

Durr would cool off, failing to make a field goal during the next three quarters. She was four of 13 from the field but five of five from the free throw line and she had four assists.

Kylee Shook and Dana Evans taking up the scoring slack. Shook recording 12 points while pulling down 11 rebounds and blocking three shots. Evans with 12 points while adding four assists and making four steals.

Arica Carter and Sam Fuehring with four assists as well, Jazmine Jones with three. An amazing total of 22 assists for the night.

Another one of those great games in what could be a special season for the Louisville women.

Kylee Shook a key player for Louisville women against UConn

Kylee Shook will play a decisive role in the fortunes of University of Louisville women’s basketball (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

The time is arriving soon for Kylee Shook, the sooner the better, for her to raise her game to another level, become a dominant player.

The ideal time for Shook to flourish would be in the game everyone has been waiting for, the University of Louisville vs. UConn on Thursday at the KFC Yum! Center. UConn second, UofL third in women’s college basketball in the latest Associated Press poll.

Not that Shook isn’t having a decent season, she is, averaging 8.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-4 junior has a 50.2% field goal shooting percentage (59 of 117) and 35.7% from behind the 3-point line (10 or 28). She also has an amazing 27 blocks to go with 14 assists and 13 steals this season.

Earlier in the season, Kylee seemed at times reluctant to mix it up beneath the basket in a game that has become increasingly physical. Kylee has quietly had two double-doubles this year, including 10 points and 11 rebounds against a good North Carolina team and 15 points and 14 rebounds against Northern Kentucky.  

Her most impressive performance may have come two games ago. In a 68-49 win at Florida State, she had eight points, nine rebounds and five blocks in 27 minutes

Nice statistics for a player coming off the bench, but one still can help but believe she is capable of more on a consistent basis. Or maybe one is thinking ahead to next season when, as a senior, she will inevitably become a starter, thrust into a leadership role and will need to become indispensable.

The best time for Shook to take it to the next level would be Thursday.  UofL needs Kylee at her best to have a chance of ending that 17-game losing streak against UConn.  

Merry Christmas to all

Switching into full Christmas mode, getting with some of the kids, immersing ourselves in the holiday season. 

What a year it has been for the University of Louisville, a steady diet of highs and lows. Just when we get used to not being on the front page, something happens. But the lows are only temporary, and we are no longer shocked. Continuous learning, sometimes what not to do.

New faces in key positions — Neeli Bendapudi, Vince Tyra, Chris Mack and Scott Satterfield — providing refreshing outlooks for the future. 

Moving forward in the face of unprecedented challenges, academia and athletes performing at high levels, fans and supporters remaining faithful, continuing to support UofL without fail.

Much to be thankful for, knowing the challenges only make us stronger, the issues will be resolved and the university has so much more to achieve. 

Thanks for being fellow UofL fans, appreciate your support of Card Game as well. Merry Christmas to you and yours.