Oh what a difference playing an entire game with focus and intensity makes. The first words I jotted on my notepad tonight were "trapping, sprinting, pressure." Louisville jumped out to a 11-0 lead on South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits cut that lead down to 13-9, but that was the last time it seemed like they stood a chance. Louisville kept up the defensive intensity and held them to 20% shooting for the game. The final score was 83-30.
Last game freshman Sydney Zambrotta came in for the first half and rained down three-pointers. She came in early once again tonight but was closely guarded and didn't score in the first half (good news/bad news: you're on the scouting report now, hon). But the sign of a great team is when one role player is stopped, another steps up. Tonight that player was freshman Jazmine Jones. She had 12 of her 15 points in the first half many of them off the most delightful pull-up mid-range jumper. So smooth. She also provided great energy off the bench on the defensive end. It's fun to watch her come into own a little bit more each game.
Freshman Ciera Johnson had 8 points and 1 rebound but most importantly she seemed much more comfortable in her role tonight. She was active and energetic. Sometimes she seems frustrated, but tonight she put her head down and worked past any mistakes.
Kylee Shook came in at the end of the first half. Coach Walz had called a time out to set up the last play, but she was out of position under the basket. He yelled, "Kylee get to the 3-point line!" and she looked at him confused so he yelled it again. When she moved there he said to her through a strained smile, "Get to the 3-point line so you can...shoot...the...last..shot..." She did, and she swished it. In the second half he yelled at her, "Kylee you have to switch!" and she shook her head and replied, "I know." He said, "I know you know so do it!" She finished with 8 points and a lot of coaching advice.
After the game Coach Walz said that it was by far the best defensive effort they've had. He said, "we circled the post and came up with 5 or 6 steals off entry passes because we had energy." He added, "If we plays this hard for 40 minutes every game I know the fans will appreciate it."
The next game is this Friday at 7pm against the College of Charleston. It is on ACCN Extra. It's Ugly Sweater Night and Santa will be taking pictures with fans in the main concourse from 6-7PM.