Milestone day for Jazmine Jones, nail biter against Duke

Cindy Rice Shelton photo

The University of Louisville honored military veterans before the game Sunday but then had to battle Duke to the final horn in improving its record to 14-1 (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Something about teams on losing streaks that makes them extremely dangerous.  The Duke women’s basketball team, for example, entering Sunday’s game against the University of Louisville on a three-game decline.

Dana Evans was held scoreless for almost three quarters before scoring 10 points in the come from behind win (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Suddenly an intimidating force, presenting offensive and defensive challenges for the seventh-ranked Cardinals. Louisville would somehow survive with a 60-55 win before 10,123 at the KFC Yum! Center.

”It was a game where we had to grind,” said UofL Coach Jeff Walz. ”Jaz stepped up and knocked down pull-up jump shots. She played really, really well, and that’s what we’re going to need now. We’re going to need that consistency.”

The Blue Devils racing to a 22-12 in the first quarter, threatening to put the game away. Jazmine Jones almost singlehandedly keeping UofL close, scoring her team’s first nine points and 14 of Louisville’s 25 points in the first half.  Duke went to the intermission with a 31-25 lead. 

Mykasa Robinson doesn’t shoot often but she came through with six points in the second half (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Down 39-33 midway through the third quarter, UofL used an 8-0 run capped by back-to-back baskets by Elizabeth Balogun to take a 41-39 lead. 

After Duke tied the game at 55-55 with 1:06 left, Evans drained a deep 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock to put UofL ahead 58-55 with 36 seconds to go. Bionca Dunham would sink two free throws to seal the 60-55 victory.

Duke Coach Joanna McCallie bemoaning inequality in the officiating, noting that her team had only four free throw attempts compared to 11 for Louisville. “That was very interesting,” she reiterated at least three times in  her post game press conference. “A very physical game.”

Louisville next travels to Miami for another Atlantic Coast Conference game. The Hurricanes are on a two-game losing streak.

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Jones set a new career high with 26 points, her sixth 20-point game of the season. She also 10 rebounds for her first double-double on the season. Jones also became Louisville’s 30th career 1,000 point scorer.

Louisville bench erupts after Elizabeth Dixon’s basket to tie the score with three minutes to go in the third quarter (Mike DeZarn photo).


Double dose of Diop, Louisville hands Kentucky first loss

Jazmine Jones with the L’s up sign for Louisville fans following a one-point win for UofL over Kentucky at Rupp Arena. In top photo, Yacine Diop leaves the floor after shutting down UK’s leading scorer in the second half (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

The outlook was getting worse, the University of Louisville women’s basketball team falling behind Kentucky by nine points with less than eight minutes to go in the third quarter. Situation getting out of hand, with any thoughts of a thrilling 67-66 win all but out of the question.

Some will say that it was two minutes, 25 seconds into that quarter that this UofL team would find itself, shortly after Coach Jeff Walz inserted Yacine Diop into the lineup. Diop was in to try and contain UK’s Rhyne Howard who had scored 22 points to that point. Mission accomplished, Diop allowing Howard only four more points over the next 17 minutes

A couple with divided loyalties manages to stay friendly during the UofL-UK women’s basketball game at Rupp Arena. Official attendance was 11,256 (Mike DeZahn photo).

Diop, who sat out last season with an injury after transferring from Pittsburgh, would contribute four points in the quarter, including a 3-pointer that would cut Kentucky’s lead to 55-53 at the 1:59 mark. She would wind up with a season high eight points to go with six rebounds and two assists.

Providing the go-ahead basket for Louisville would be Kylee Shook, perhaps playing the game of her career. Shook would sink a 3-pointer from the top of the circle in the midst of a furious 13-point run for the Cardinals. 

Coach Jeff Walz with some appreciative comments for Kylee Shook at the post-game press conference (Mike DeZarn photo).

Shook claiming a major stake in this Louisville-Lexington rivalry, making life miserable for those associated with Wildcats. Kylee would finish with her fourth double-double this season, with 11 points and 13 rebounds. UofL needing every one of those, as well as five in-your-face blocks.

Dana Evans, ever the leader, making only one 3-point shot, but leading UofL with 19 points and a whopping 10 assists. Jazmine Jones bringing the enthusiasm, along with 10 points. Bionca Dunham, another Card with a career game, also adding 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and a block.

This game perhaps answering any question about the toughness of this team, setting the stage for more significant victories ahead. The leadership qualities of Evans, Diop, Shook, Dunham and Jones emerging when they were most needed, showing the way for their younger teammates.

Fourth in a row over Kentucky for UofL, ending UK’s undefeated nine-game win streak this season.

Gallery courtesy of Cindy Rice Shelton:

All Shook up, Kylee leads Louisville women past Oregon

The kind of game every University of Louisville fan of the women’s basketball team was expecting from Dana Evans, wishing for from Kylee Shook. They were not disappointed in either case.

On a cold, wet day that was miserable from the waking moments all the way into late afternoon, it would fall upon the women to provide some reason for jubilation for UofL fans. Not quite monumental but close, UofL defeating No. 1-ranked Oregon 72-62.

Dana Evans would score 10 of her 17 points during a ferocious rally in the second quarter (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Reason for cheer on a day when Coach Scott Satterfield’s Cardinals were being humiliated by a bad Kentucky team in Lexington.

The eighth-ranked Louisville women weren’t supposed to have much of a chance against Oregon in the final game of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands. The Ducks had defeated the U.S. national team a couple of weeks ago, were leading the nation in 26.8 assists per game, hitting 50 percent from the field, and out-rebounding opponents by more than 17 per game.

The Ducks discovered, however, that past performance is no guarantee of future success. The UofL women spotted Oregon with a nine-point lead, trailing 24-13 after the first quarter. The Cardinals would outscore them 24-8 in the second quarter to take a 37-32 lead at the half. UofL would never relinquish the lead, keeping the Ducks at arms length the rest of the way.

Shook would have her best game ever for UofL, posting her fourth double-double of the season, with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Against one of the best teams in the country. She’s come a long way from the end of the bench in the season’s opener to a dominating role as a starter in her latest outing.

Evans, who was named most valuable player in the invitational, was fearless against the Ducks, scoring 17 points and making six assists. She would contribute 10 points while UofL was staging that come-from-behind rally in the second quarter. She averaged 21.3 points in three games.

“We’ve got to get better,” said Coach Jeff Walz. “But it shows our kids that if you follow the scouting reports and play hard and play aggressive like we did tonight, we can play with anybody.”

Big sisters show the way for Louisville women

Jazmine Jones having way more than her share of fun, leading all scorers with 25 points, and the Louisville women would need every basket (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Hard to get worked up about Central Michigan, despite all the warnings from Coach Jeff Walz about how this ordinary looking team would give his University of Louisville women’s basketball team all it could handle.

Walz was right as usual, with Louisville having to fight, claw and scrap for 40 minutes before emerging with a 76-63 win before 7,605 fans at the KFC Yum! Center. The visiting Chippewas hanging around all night, waiting for the Cardinals to falter but but it wasn’t going to happen.

Nobody celebrates a win better than Jazmine Jones (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

The veterans keeping the youngsters out of harm’s way, providing the knockout touches for UofL:

— Jazmine Jones with one of her best all-around performances, 10 of 13 , field goal attempts, four of five from the free throw line for a game-high 25 points. Complementing her game with nine rebounds, three steals and two assists. 

— Dana Evans refusing to wilt, hitting six of 18 field goal attempts, including two 3-pointers, and 10 of 11 from the free throw line for a career high 24 points. 

— Kylee Shook continuing to improve, picking up almost 26 minutes of playing time off the bench. Making the most of her time, with five field goals and five of six from the free throw line for 15 points. Her second consecutive double-double this year, thanks to those fabulous 12 rebounds. Those five blocks were amazing, too.

— Mykasas Robinson all business as usual, getting only one point but playing shutdown defense, coming up with three steals and two assists.

The upperclassman showing the newcomers what it takes to survive at times, improving UofL record to 3-0 for the season. Gonna need more help from the newcomers sooner than later.

Louisville women dispatch Western Kentucky in opener

As he entered the opening game against Western Kentucky, Coach Jeff Walz was looking for someone who will take control when the going gets tense for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team.  Walz is probably still looking that certain someone after a 75-56 win.

Elizabeth Balogun was hot in her UofL debut, the transfer from Georgia Tech hitting five of six three-point attempts.

Gotta keep a close eye on newcomer Elizabeth Balogun, a sophomore transfer from Georgia Tech. She hit all four of her three-point shots in the first half, including the one that gave UofL a nine-point lead at intermission. She would wind up with 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Dana Evans, meanwhile, was scoring a game-high 19 points while handing out three assists, grabbing two rebounds and a steal. Elizabeth Dixon, another sophomore transfer from Georgia Tech, registered a double-double on 10 points and 13 rebounds in her debut as a Cardinal. Norika Konno, a freshman from Japan, was a steady performer, collecting nine points.

Yacine Diop and Kylee Shook both slow getting out of the gate, scoring a total of four points between them in 27 minutes of playing time.

Attendance was 8,304. Louisville entertains Murray State on Friday at the KFC Yum! Center.

Photo gallery courtesy of Cindy Rice Shelton.