Dayton pulls plug on Louisville women

The only good news is the University of Louisville women’s basketball team won’t have to face UConn on Monday in the championship game of the NCAA’s Albany bracket. The women haven’t beaten the Huskies since the early Ninties and weren’t likely to get it done this season.

Every flaw in UofL’s complexion was exposed during an 82-66 loss to Dayton sending the Cardinals home after their fourth consecutive Sweet 16 appearance. Dayton was the better team, taking full advantage of UofL’s inconsistent shooting on offense and lack of movement under the basket on defense.

Goodbye, Jude.
Goodbye, Jude.

Louisville making good on only 23 of 73 shots from the field, including 1 of 15 attempts from the 3-point line. Dayton, meanwhile, connecting on more than 50 percent of theirs, including two 3-pointers. The Flyers were almost impenetrable around the basket, swatting away seven shots, compared to only two blocks for UofL.

UofL was very much in the game at the 8 minute mark, trailing 55-53, but could manage only five more points the rest of the way while handing Dayton 15 points at the free throw line.

A premature ending for five Louisville seniors who won 114 games during the past four seasons, the most in the history of the program. When they were good, they were very good, always competitive (except for UConn games) in the rare losses.

— Everybody’s favorite, Jude Schimmel, never throwing in the towel, attempting again to get the offense started in the late going. However, in her final game, she could find the basket on only four of her 23 shots, with the Dayton defenders anticipating her every move. Her confidence and personality will be missed, no matter how her team does next season.

— Sara Hammond, the program’s first McDonald’s All-American recruit, wrapping up her career as she began it, never quite breaking through to the next level. She had some good games along the way, but was never able to attain offensive consistency. Three points, four rebounds on the way out.

— Bria Smith, blessed with amazing speed but slowed by whatever issues were limiting her progression, having lost her starting spot midway in the season. Showing a new promise as her career neared an end, turning in 12 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists before fouling out against Dayton.

— Shawnta’ Dyer and Sherrone Vails, each plagued by numerous injuries during their careers, limited to back up roles as seniors, contributing 12 and two points, respectively.

They will be missed for their contributions and what their team accomplished, so many memorable wins, and what might have been.

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

3 thoughts on “Dayton pulls plug on Louisville women”

  1. Nicely done piece. Tough game to watch. Best wishes to the Seniors. I don’t think many of us thought this team would end the season in the Sweet Sixteen. They’ve certainly overdelivered in their first year in the ACC. Credit to Walz on that.

    It’s frustrating that our two McDonalds All Americans that graduate this year didn’t really make the kind of progress during their careers that we all had hoped for. Seems they possibly mistook the beginning of their personal development as basketball players when they arrived at U of L for the end of it. All that promise both Sara and Bria showed in the 2013 tourney just didn’t come to fruition over the following two years.

    I think I’m most frustrated with Sara’s disappearing act in the NCAAs in the past two years. She was invisible vs. Maryland last year and didn’t really show up for any of our tourney games this year. I wish her the best personally in the future but what a crushing disappointment from a basketball perspective.

    In any case hopefully the seniors go forward and make contributions to society and the underclassmen learn and grow from the experience.

  2. Dayton’s inside play scoring and defending was surprising. I expected the guard play but not their big people to be a factor like they were.

  3. Shooting. 31%. It speaks volumes in this loss. The Cards will learn and benefit from this unexpected departure against #7 seed Dayton. Walz admonishing the team at halftime that he didn’t recognize the team that had just played 20 minutes. THe team unable to prevent a Dayton run at the end.

    2015 and hope springs eternal. Five players from the #1 recruiting class. Two established freshmen, one with potential, one coming off injury and one with room to grow. The other underclassmen ready to contribute. Increased height and makers, not shooters.

    I didn’t give this team a chance at reaching the third round in my preseason views. They responded and showed well in the ACC. The future is bright and there are coaches and players in place to make it happen.


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