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.

Record crowd of 800 for Louisville women’s tipoff luncheon

A record crowd of more than 800 people on hand Friday for the annual Tipoff Luncheon for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team at the Downtown Marriott. A following of UofL fans with some big expectations for the 2019-20 season.

Jeff Walz after winning the NCAA Regional in Lexington following the 2017-18 season (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Coach Jeff Walz pleased with the expectations but possibly signaling that this team has a few challenges to overcome. That the current squad may behind some of his better teams coming out of the starting gate.

“You’re going to see a lot of new faces,” he said. “If you’re trying to go from one to 10, and 10 is the best at the end of the season, I’d say we’re starting about a two right now. The past couple years we had a lot of experience returning, making things a little easier, so we were starting at five. 

“We’re starting at two this season because we have six new players. We’re trying to get to know each other, trying to figure out who’s going to do what, who’s going to take over which responsibilities. Who’s going to be the one when we need a basket that is going to get the ball.”

Walz was making no predictions, except there are some exciting times ahead, starting with the season opener against Western Kentucky at the KFC Yum! Center on Tuesday. Followed by four home games against Murray State, Central Michigan, UT Chattanooga and Boise State.

Louisville women’s basketball was third in NCAA attendance last season, attracting 162,021 fans or an average crowd of 9,531 for 17 games.  

Abrupt ending to Asia Durr era for Louisville women

Cindy Rice Shelton photo

Once again thoughts turn to next year for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

As Asia Durr goes, so goes the University of Louisville women’s basketball team. She’s done and so are the Cardinals in the 2018-19 season.

Durr would miss her first shot 15 seconds into the championship game of the NCAA regional at Albany, N.Y.  Following that one up with eight more misses in the first quarter, not making her first field goal until the beginning of the second quarter.

Louisville could not afford to have its leading scorer get off to a bad start, not against one women’s college basketball’s winningest programs. The worst fears of UofL fans quickly becoming evident, leading to a prolonged and painful realization that her journey was coming to an end.

Meanwhile, UConn’s Katie Samuelson, recently missing four games with back problems, having the game of her career with 29 points, including seven of 12 three-point attempts and a couple of circus shots. Take that Louisville, with those dreams of a national championship.

Durr would wind up with some impressive stats, too — 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists — but because the slow start, Louisville was trying to stay in the game for the most part. Her fellow seniors — Sam Fuehring and Arica Carter — contributing 15 and 10 points, respectively. 

UofL did manage to cut the deficit to two points at the 36-second mark, but the odds of winning were never encouraging. A disappointing end to a fabulous career, her team losing once again to UConn, this time by a score of 80-73.  

The Huskies again asserting their superiority in a series they have dominated by a 18-2 since the early nineties. Durr finishing her college career with 2,485 points, second only to Angel McCoughtry on UofL’s all-time scoring list. 

A magical career for career with some unforgettable moments for Asia Durr. Sad the journey ending a bit too soon.