The afternoon started auspiciously with Louisville honoring junior Myisha Hines-Allen pre-game for scoring 1,000 career points. Personally I thought she only had 999 points prior to today or I would've congratulated her on that achievement in the last recap. But since I obviously can't count I'll do it now instead: Congratulations, Myisha!! Here's to 1,000 more!
After such an inspiring ceremony the first half was mainly pedestrian. Briahanna Jackson was scrappy fighting for loose balls and getting smacked so hard in the head that she lost her headband. However, shooting was lackluster at just 36% for the half. Pretty much the most exciting thing that happened was Coach Walz getting hit with a technical on a questionable offensive foul call on Sam Fuehring. The halftime score was 36-27 in Louisville's favor.
Then came the second half.
Asia Durr had 15 first half points. A minute into the second half she had 26 points and suddenly the lead had ballooned to 45-27. The energy level of the entire team was palpably raised. The game went from a lazy stroll to a sprint. Although Asia's scoring put the game out of reach it was the defense that changed the game. Bowling Green looked frazzled after getting trapped and relentlessly hounded. By the end of the 3rd quarter Asia had her game high 34 points and the score was 67-43. The Falcons would not recover and the final score was 83-58.
Freshman Ciera Johnson apparently Coach Walz's words to heart after the last game and seemed to be more active in the rebounding department. She was only incrementally better statistically getting just 4 tonight (5'2" Jessica Laemmle from Mercy Academy got 3), but she seemed much more active underneath blocking shots and making her presence felt. Another freshman, Kylee Shook, is long and smooth and graceful. I can easily envision a future where "just throw the ball in Kylee's general direction" becomes an accepted part of the playbook. Both players are 6'4" and for a short spell this afternoon they were on the floor together. That's a backcourt tandem that will one day strike fear into the hearts of opposing teams mark my words.
After the game Jeff Walz said that his biggest battle right now is with the maturity of his team. He said the problem in the first half is that they were "pouting after missed shots...when you miss you have to get back on defense and get a stop." He also said that he was going to have to read Dr. Naismith's books because he was teaching them to pivot on one foot and they were being called for walking when they did that so obviously he'd learned the rules incorrectly. Never change Coach Walz.
This game was part of the Hall of Fame Challenge which will be continuing tomorrow. Louisville will play Lafayette at 4:30.