Without checking the stats it seems a conservative estimate to say that Louisville has missed about 245 layups so far this season. So tonight it seemed they came out determined to prove to themselves and everybody else that not converting layups was no longer going to be an issue. Five of their first seven baskets came off of layups. That coupled with swarming defense helped the Cards charge out to a 31-14 lead in the first quarter. The entire first half was easily the best half they’d played this season and was the first glimpse of a team that looked like it might truly deserve a Top 10 ranking.
That said, Boise State was no pushover. In the second half they made smart cuts to the basket and tough shots that had the crowd oooo-ing in appreciation. In the 3rd quarter any time they shaved off points from 20 point lead the Cards seemed to have an answer. However, in the 4th quarter when they chipped away Louisville’s lead to 15, Coach Walz felt went so far as to reinsert the starters to ensure that the game didn’t get away from them.
Jazmine Jones led all scorers with 22 to which she added 6 rebounds and 3 assists. After the last game Coach Walz said that he needed to find a way to capitalize more on Dana Evans’s scoring ability and tonight she got loose for 20 points and 8 assists. Kylee Shook and Liz Dixon both had 15 points.
“Offensively it was the best performance we’ve had,” Coach Walz said after the game. “We took care of the basketball, we only turned it over 10 times....if we can continue to turn over 10 times a game then we’re in business.”
However, when asked about his team’s defense for all 40 minutes Coach Walz said, “We just gave up 82 points and they shot 61%. It was pitiful. But I’ve got to give them a lot of credit too....They’re going to win a lot of basketball games.” Kylee Shook said of the 2nd half defense, “I feel like we needed to come out there stronger than we did....When we missed a few shots we started getting lackadaisical on defense.”
As for the biggest area of improvement in the team Coach Walz said, “Our post play plain and simple. It’s obvious. All three of our post players hit 50% or better.” He added, “I thought Kylee was much more aggressive offensively. Liz took her time and finished around the basket with her left and right hand...It’s a work in progress.” As he left the pressroom he squeezed Kylee on the shoulder and said, “Proud of you.”
When asked about her new leadership role Jazmine Jones said, “I’m just trying to set the tempo on the defensive end first by just talking and communicating. Like [Kylee] said we have two transfers who haven’t played our defense—who played against it—so just talking through them and trying to get them in the right spots. Just using my command voice to just talk.”
She also credited her teammates for her contributions on the offensive end. “One time on the court I was about to pass it to Kylee and I heard Kylee yell ‘SHOOT!’ so I was just trying to be aggressive.” She got fouled on the play and she was laughing as she recounted, “When I got to the free throw line I said ‘Kylee, I heard you’ and she said ‘it’s ok...shoot the ball!’ and I said ‘ok I got you.’”
The Cards now start a five-week stint on the road. They travel to St. Thomas for the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam which includes UT-Arlington, Oklahoma State, and #1 Oregon. First up is UT-Arlington on Thanksgiving Day at 1PM. The game can be seen on flohoops.com.