One of Coach Walz's main talking points the last few weeks is that his team has trouble focusing and finishing. While they still have lots of room for improvement, today the Cards showed great strides to that end. They were behind a good Western Kentucky team at the end of every quarter except the one that counted. They withstood being behind as well as losing leads to grit it out and get the 68-61 victory.
The story of the first half was freshman Sydney Zambrotta. Prior to today she'd played mostly in garbage time and her shooting had been unimpressive. According to her bio through 8 games she was averaging 14% from the 3-point line. So I was a little surprised to see her sub in so early today and even more surprised when she started draining 3s like the rim was a hula hoop. She got all 15 of her points (5 of 6) in the first half and gave the team a real lift.
So happy to see all the hard work & extra hours pay off for @SydneyZambrotta! Huge lift for our squad. Keep grinding Syd. #ProudCoach pic.twitter.com/bVoaYiN94X— Sam Purcell (@coachsampurcell) December 12, 2016
Courtnee Walton is simply my favorite kind of player. She had 8 points and 8 rebounds which aren't exactly stats that get the pundit's tongues wagging, but she is just so....solid. She does all the little things a team needs to be great. She should teach seminars about how to properly box out (call her, Rick). The game was close in the final minutes and in that time she got an offensive rebound for a layup and blocked a shot. It's a joy to watch her play.
Jeff has shortened the bench considerably as the season has progressed. Sam Fuehring was dressed after a one game suspension but didn't play. Kylee Shook and Ciera Johnson played just 5 minutes apiece. It will be interesting to see who will fight for more time as they get into the grind of conference play.
Myisha Hines-Allen finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, but in the first half Coach Walz was displeased with her performance. At one point in the second quarter he got in her face and screamed, "You're being lazy!!" After the game he said that he was challenging her. "She has no idea how good she can be."
He also said that he hopes Briahanna Jackson gets in the gym over the winter break to work on her shooting. "People back off on her and it gets in her head...she just needs to see a few go in."
Before the game the team gave it their best Heisman pose to congratulate Lamar Jackson on his historic accomplishment. On another note, this is my new Facebook banner.
Today's warmup stretch for shoot around... step..step...Heisman. I think we are ready. Congrats @LJ_era8! #LouisvilleFamily pic.twitter.com/vABhPcr25c— Sam Purcell (@coachsampurcell) December 11, 2016
The next game is Wednesday at the Yum! Center at 7pm against South Dakota State. It can also be seen on ACCN Extra.