Stop me if you've heard this one before: Basketball team gets a first quarter lead. Basketball team loses lead going into halftime. Halftime deficit grows. However, this story has a slightly different plot twist. Instead of getting blown off the court like they did last weekend, Louisville fought back to reclaim the lead with three minutes left in the game. In the end the result was the same though with the Cards losing to #5 Maryland 72-78.
Myisha Hines-Allen had some great moments. She ferociously muscled her way in for a layup and a plus one in the closing minutes to put the team up 67-65. But a minute later she casually trotted down the court chasing a Maryland player on a run out and ended up fouling her. I was a little shocked by the lack of effort to be honest but my reaction was nothing compared to Coach Walz who talked about that play after the game. "We don't make hustle plays. We don't sprint back on defense, That's effort. That's laziness. That's character."
Coach Walz did praise the effort of Briahanna Jackson. She is one of the few players that consistently fights every night. He also said that there are time Courtnee Walton is the ONLY one rebounding. He said, "If I was a fan I would wonder what's wrong with the others. It's not athleticism--it's heart." He also said that we don't have an Angel or a Shoni on the team. He said that Shoni wasn't perfect but she hated to lose and that he needs players who hate to lose more than they like to win.
The bench didn't factor in as much tonight and fatigue seemed to affect our outside shooting in the late stretch. Kylee Shook played about a minute. Ciera Johnson dropped out of the starting lineup with the return of Courtnee Walton. We learned this week that Arica Carter is going to have surgery and redshirt this season, but still the players voted her a team captain along with Briahanna and Courtney. Coach Walz ominously said that tomorrow's practice will tell a lot about this team going forward.
Free throw shooting was also not up to snuff. We missed 8 and lost by 6. Math is not my strong suit but I'd call that a ball game right there. Coach Walz said that the players have to decide if they want to be in the 85% of teams that are happy to show up in the tournament or if they want to be in the 15% that competes for a championship. Getting in the gym and practicing free throw shooting is a part of that equation.
Next up is 17th ranked Kentucky who just beat 12th ranked Oklahoma convincingly. The Cards have lost 5 in a row to their rivals and Coach Walz impressed upon the crowd that he understands what that means. The game is at the Yum! Center Sunday at 2pm and is will be shown on ACCN Extra.