Louisville women survive South Florida ambush

Anything but a sleeper.

If University of Louisville fans were feeling the impact of the switch on the time clocks, they may have been on the same wave length with the players. Sunday a day of rest, the afternoon for a nap.

The time switch, the sabbath, and a 45-point win over Houston the day before, may have lulled the UofL women’s basketball team into snooze mode against South Florida, a team that would prove to be a very serious threat to the Cardinals’ well being.

Inga Orekhova, the South Florida recruit from the Ukraine, picked the right day to have the game of her life, hitting all three of her first three-point attempts. South Florida was off and running with a 20-10 lead over the lethargic Cardinals. Inevitably, Orekhova would calm down, cool off and run out of stamina, at least temporarily.

After the win, Tia Gibbs tweeted this photo of the players relaxing.
After the win over South Florida, Tia Gibbs tweeted this photo of the players relaxing. Try it sometime.

Louisville would score 16 of the next 20 points, including three 3-pointers by Shoni Schimmel. Jude Schimmel made a layup to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game at 26-24. Shoni’s fourth 3-pointer of the half made it 33-29 after the first 20 minutes.

Orekhova still had fight in her, as did Courtney Williams, both of them with 19 points, 38 of USF’s 56 points, the teams trading leads four times in the second half.

Fortunately for UofL, the score tied 56-56 with six seconds remaining, it was Shoni with the ball in her hands, pulling up for a jumper, zipping through the net. Jude would steal the ball, get fouled, hit two frees for a 60-56 win over the Bulls.

A close game against a good opponent may have been what the Cardinals needed as they prepare for another battle Monday with UConn at 7 p.m. in the tournament championship. Eyes wide open for this one.

Louisville soccer clinches AAC crown

soccerA beautiful fall day for soccer at Cardinal Park for the final regular season game for the University of Louisville, which was hosting South Florida. But still another defensive struggle for 90 minutes and two 10-minute overtimes, the game finishing in a 0-0 tie.

The tie assured Louisville of a conference championship and the top seed in the upcoming American Athletic Conference Tournament.

Cardinal Park will be the site of the opening round game between the eighth and ninth seeds next Friday at 2 p.m., with the winner advancing to play UofL in the quarterfinal round on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The 11th ranked Cardinals finished the season with an 11-3-3 won-lost-tied record.  (Click on photo to enlarge).

Louisville soccer goodbye to Cardinal Park

The University of Louisville soccer team will say goodbye to Cardinal Park Sunday, the last game before moving to the Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium next season.

The Cardinals, 11-3-2, will square off against South Florida at 2 p.m. in their final regular season American Athletic Conference game at 2 p.m. The visiting Bulls are 6-3-7.

Thirty minutes after the match, the UofL women’s soccer team will host Memphis in the quarterfinals of the AAC tournament.

The Louisville soccer teams will compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014. Bring it.

Louisville ho-hummer over South Florida

A tedious, methodical dissection of a team in disarray, putting University of Louisville football back in the win column.

A 34-3 decision over South Florida that goes down as another uninspiring performance, yawn, from a team that, unfortunately may not be remembered for anything beyond Teddy Bridgewater’s phenomenal passing. He continued to pad his stats, completing 25 of 29 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns.

Admit it, you wanted to see UofL totally demolish South Florida. Sorry but this UofL team isn’t built or coached that way. The conservative play calling on offense is based largely on incremental progress. More emphasis on protecting a lead than putting a game out of reach it seems.

Plenty of opportunities to bury the Bulls, with the Cardinals controlling time of possession 41:43 to 17:47.

Or it could have something to do with the offensive line, which provides few openings for running backs and too little protection for Bridgewater who was sacked four times .  The lack of time and protection making his passing efficiency even more impressive in this game.

Dominique Brown facing similar challenges, but creating his own opportunities, breaking tackles, running over people, gaining 134 yards on 18 carries. Making himself available as a receiver, six catches for 61 yards and a touchdown.

Another win, however, seven of them in eight games so no one is complaining.

As Charlie Strong reminds us, expectations have come a long way in a four years. But this is a fan base that experienced some success over the last decade and savors the satisfaction of having blown out more than a few teams in its prime under another mentor.

A couple of weeks to prepare for UConn, another lackluster opponent. Get it out of your system.

South Florida goes quietly

Never any doubt, a leisurely win on a quiet Sunday afternoon, the University of Louisville taking out South Florida 59-41.

Confirmation, perhaps, that Rick Pitino’s troops aren’t taking any opponent lightly, picking up a second win in the string of seven, the ultimate goal of the coach in finishing out the regular season. Aware maybe that second place Georgetown had lost in Tampa three weeks ago.

Against a South Florida team, which like numerous teams in the Big East, likes to milk the clock, wanting to lull Louisville into a snoozer. UofL having none of it, coming up with 10 steals and 23 points off USF turnovers.

  • Russ Smith exhibiting rare discipline, looking for his teammates, handing out four assists. He’s good even when he’s under control, four of seven field goal attempts, all seven of his free throws.
  • The play of the day, Chane Behanan deflecting a pass, chasing the missile downcourt, flipping the ball behind his back across court to Smith for a dunk. His free throw shooting, however which appeared to improve for a couple of games, is back to the zero-confidence level, turnovers waiting to happen.
  • Disappointing that Peyton Siva would attempt only two field goals. One would think he could use a situation like this to work on weak points, Gonna need more shots from him down the stretch, even if only to create more free throw opportunities for a team leader in that category.
  • Gorgui Dieng getting more rest, playing only 32 minutes, managing only four points. Not quite the offensive promise he displayed before the wrist injury. But he remains a major deterrent to opposing offenses, officially blocking five shots, intimidating untold others. Seemed like more than 10 rebounds.
  • Wayne Blackshear showing no signs of shoulder discomfort while scoring 12 points. Imagine what he could be doing if he had a scorer’s mentality.

Six days before UofL plays Seton Hall at the KFC Yum! Center Saturday, plenty of time to reflect on where the team has been or has yet to arrive. Time for becoming more creative and hungrier on offense, and even less forgiving on defense.