It’s been five long weeks since the women’s basketball team has played in the Yum Center and the crowd of 10,084 people was excited for them to be home and starting ACC play. However, on Superhero Day the team needed a heroine to put on her cape and come through for them and today that player was Jazmine Jones. With Dana Evans and Kylee Shook struggling to find their shots Jazmine scored a game-high 24 points. Eighteen of those points were in the first half which finished with the Cards holding a slim one point lead.
In the second half it looked like Louisville might pull away, but after getting a little separation Syracuse came right back to take a 1 point advantage with a couple of minutes left in the game. Elizabeth Balogun missed two free throws in the last 30 seconds but grabbed the rebound for a quick put back to give the Cards a 61-58 lead. On the defensive end Jazmine Jones grabbed the ball for a tie up which caused the Syracuse player to step out of bounds and that was the ball game.
The vast majority of Jazmine’s points came from little pull-up jumpers in the lane. After the game she credited Coach Stephanie Norman for the idea. Jazmine said, “Coach Norman did a great job on her scout. She was telling us all practice, ‘The pull-up is going to be there in the ACC area. Just get there and it’s money,’ because she knows everybody on this team can hit a pull-up jumper.”
As for the players who weren’t hitting, Coach Walz said that they had a lot of wide open shots that didn’t go in. He said, “I tell them all the time, if we’re going to lose a basketball game I want to lose just because we missed shots. I don’t want to lose because we turned it over 22 times [Louisville had only 5 turnovers today]. “ He added, “What impresses me: Bionca— 0 turnovers in 32 minutes of play. Kylee— 0 turnovers in 31 minutes of play. If our post players can continue to do that then we’ve got a chance.”
When asked about her big defensive play in the final seconds of the game Jazmine said, “I was just happy we got a stop. That’s all. It was a big defensive possession and in the time out we were just ‘just one stop at a time,’ and the emotion came out of course because I was excited.” Coach Walz said, “We didn’t give them [Syracuse] one clean look in the last minute of the game when they had to get one and that’s a tribute to these kids.”
Coach Walz said of Elizabeth Balogun, “From how poorly she had played the past few games...she played so much harder. But I told her if you don’t box out I’m taking you out...if you don’t go in and rebound I’m taking you out and every time she didn’t box out I took her out of the game. I’ve got to hold true to it if she’s going to change, but overall I thought her effort was much, much better.”
Senior Bionca Dunham talked about her role this year and said, “I’ve been trying to help the freshmen and the sophomores like Elizabeth Balogun and Dixon as transfers and try to get them caught up on how we play here in Louisville....Everything we do we gotta go hard and always play 100% every time.” Coach Walz said of Bionca she had “one D1 scholarship offer and not only is she impacting our team this year... she was a huge part of our team last year. I give B a ton of credit for that because you’ve got to be willing to put the work in and she’s done that.”
Next up the Cards travel to Clemson on this Thursday, January 2nd. The game is at 7PM.
#CardNation!! Over 10,000 loud, passionate @UofLWBB fans and we felt your support! It was great to be back @kfc_yumcenter in front of the best. We appreciate you, and will continue to keep working hard to represent @uofl .#ThankYou #GoCards https://t.co/v2oura3hjr— Jeff Walz (@CoachJeffWalz) December 29, 2019
Great Team Win!!! Super proud of my teammates. ❤️❤️❤️. Thank you Card Nation‼️— Dana ✨ (@Danaaakianaaa) December 30, 2019