Magic at work, with UofL still having shot at ACC crown

^^ Keith Oddo bows out with 3-point buzzer beater – Mike DeZarn photo ^^

Coach Chris Mack huddles with David Johnson and Dwayne Sutton during the University of Louisville’s final home game at the KFC Yum! Center (Mike DeZarn photo).

Nothing more magical than a nylon-ripping three-point basket at the buzzer. Coming from a University of Louisville graduate transfer walk-on with less than nine  minutes of playing time and zero points for the season.

The delightful wizardry provided by Keith Oddo who had to be surprised he was even in the game. But it was Senior Day and this was his last game. Thrilled that Coach Chris Mack would call his number with 1:05 on the clock. No hesitation after David Robinson finds Oddo alone in the corner, no time to think, nothing but net.

David Johnson making his way through the Virginia Tech gauntlet for a basket (Mike DeZarn photo).

Just the thing the crowd of 18,104 at the KFC Yum! Center needed to close out UofL’s 2019-20 home game schedule. The win improving Louisville’s record to 24-6 overall. More magical is the fact that UofL is in first place in the conference with a 15-4 mark with one game remaining. By a half game over Florida State which has two games left.

The Cardinals may need ever bit of Houdini they can conjure up with their final game of the season coming next Sunday at Virginia. Both teams may have played their best game of the season when they met recently in Louisville, with the Cards prevailing by 80-73.  Virginia has only continued to get better and is anticipating its own special Senior Day observance.

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Oh, what a night for Asia Durr, Louisville women’s basketball

Asia Durr doing what she does, putting up one 3-pointer after another on a record-tying night with 47 points (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).
ust another amazing night for Asia Durr on Senior Night, scoring 47 points to tie her previous high game mark (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Asia Durr came to celebrate her fabulous four-year career with the University of Louisville women’s basketball team on Thursday night at the KFC Yum! Center. Senior Night for her, and another crowning jewel for 10,610 UofL fans.

This will be another one of those nights that will stand out long after Asia Durr has moved on, a crushing 92-62 defeat of 10th ranked North Carolina State. Ranking right behind milestone wins over UConn and Notre Dame over the last two seasons. 

Tears all round as Asia, Sam Fuehring and Arica Carter are escorted to the court for Senior Night ceremonies. Parents, coaches, teammates and fans so proud of what the young ladies have accomplished. A special senior class leading the way to a remarkable 26-2 record overall and 13-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The tears would turn to expressions of exuberance shortly thereafter. Asia would miss her first field goal attempt but connect on eight of her next 10 shots, including seven 3-pointers for an amazing 22  points in the first quarter. 

She was far from done, however, making 17 of 27 shots for the night, including 11 3-pointers, for a total of 47 points. The mark tied her previous high of 47 points in UofL’s opening game against Ohio State during the 2017-18 season. The 11 3-pointers setting a new Atlantic Coast Conference record.

Asia, with that smile of hers, crediting her teammates for finding her open time after time, making such a happy ending possible. “This is about much more than Asia Durr,” she said. “I love this team, I love my teammates.”

Gallery by  Cindy Rice Shelton

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Schimmel’s senior night, anything can still happen

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On November 11, 2010, the University of Louisville women’s basketball team played its first game at the KFC Yum! Center.

The opening game of the season. Packed house, with 22,124 fans. Angel McCoughtry’s jersey would be retired that night, two seasons after leading UofL to the national championship game. Things had gone downhill the previous year, multiple injuries and 14-18 won-lost record. These Cardinals needed a boost.

The night would begin a new era, not only in facilities, but because it would be Shoni Schimmel’s first ever as a Louisville Cardinal. A Native American phenom from Mission, Oregon, one of the few freshmen to ever start in her very first game at UofL.

Not a pretty start. Her first seven passes were way wide of their targets — eight turnovers in the first half, no points, no assists during those first 20 minutes. She would recover somewhat during the second half, committing only one turnover while making three assists scoring nine points (including her first three-pointer) in a 63-50 loss to Tennessee.

Over the next four seasons, she would score 2,027 points to rank second behind only McCoughtry in the program, become the all-time UofL leader with a total of 366 three-pointers, and be credited with 569 assists. She also has led her team to three NCAA appearances, including the national championship game last season.

Anything and everything, mostly good, can happen when Shoni Schimmel gets the ball. Just ask her teammates, the recipients of her no-look passes, forcing them to be ever alert. Against Memphis earlier this season, she hit eight straight three-point shots, totaling nine for the game.

Four years and 135 games later, Shoni will be appearing in her final regular season home game Monday night against top-ranked and undefeated UConn. It’s Senior Night for Shoni and three teammates — Tia Gibbs, Antonita Slaughter and Tia Gibbs — and they have reason to believe anything is possible.

Rick and Ce Ce Moses Schimmel, the parents of Shoni and Jude, in town for Senior Night. (File photo)
Rick and Ce Ce Moses Schimmel, the parents of Shoni and Jude, in town for Senior Night. (File photo)