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Louisville Beats NKU 85-57

Cards handle business with big 2nd half

NCAA Womens Basketball: Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament - Louisville vs NC State Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

If you regularly follow the women’s basketball team then you would’ve been puzzled to see the starting lineup this afternoon. Regulars Dana Evans and Bionca Dunham were joined by Yacine Diop, Elizabeth Dixon, and Jessica Laemmle. According to Coach Walz in this post game video from Tom Farmer of The Crunch Zone he was displeased with the execution of a play in practice and said that the first people who ran it correctly would start. It appears we’ve reached the tough love portion of the season.

However, things were rough for the Cards in the first half. With the new starting lineup they fell behind 1-7. They quickly evened things up but couldn’t get any separation with the two teams trading the lead. Louisville went into halftime up only 2 points.

In the second half they started to look more like the team that knocked off Oregon and less like the team that fell to Ohio State. Northern Kentucky called a timeout a few minutes into the half because the Louisville lead had grown to 9 and they were hoping to settle things down. Instead by the media timeout a few minutes later the lead was 16 and the Norse wouldn’t challenge again.

Despite not entering the game until near the end of the first quarter, Jazmine Jones led all scorers with 21 points. Dana Evans added 16. Redshirt freshman Molly Lockhart scored her first points as a Cardinal. Norika Konno did not play because she had a small procedure on her knee but she should be back for the next game.

After the game Jazmine Jones said of Coach Walz, “We didn’t play hard Thursday versus Ohio State and the first half we didn’t play very hard. So he just lit a fire under everybody and we knew that we had to pick up the intensity and effort on the defensive side.” She added, “We know Coach loves us off the court. He treats us like his own kids. He loves us so much. On the court we’re going to get a different personality out of him and all our coaches. They just want to win. You know they’ve got families to feed.” [Coach Walz laughs]

Coach Walz said, “I didn’t really do anything. We’re at the point right now with this team where they’ve got to decide what they want this year to be all about....I want to get back to a Final Four. I want a chance to compete for a national championship again. But it doesn’t matter if that’s what I want.....It’s these young women who will decided what they want this year to be.”

He talked about how they use Catapult Data, a wearable GPS that tracks performance, and said that of the 46 games they’ve tracked the Ohio State game ranked 44th in terms of effort. He said, “They can’t argue that. That’s the great thing about it. In the past you could go to the water fountain and throw some water on your face and get your jersey wet and be like ‘man, it’s been a tough day today.’ Now I’ve got the Catapult. I can tell exactly where your heart rate is and what you’re putting into it.”

When Jaz was asked about not starting Coach Walz joked, “She was on the bench because I was afraid she’d foul in warmups she’s been fouling so much. No it’s the truth I told her I can’t start you because you foul before the ball’s thrown up. I’ll let you sit here so at least I know you won’t foul” to which Jaz laughed, “there it is.” She finished the game with only 2 fouls.

Louisville travels to Lexington on Sunday for the rivalry game versus Kentucky. The game is at 1PM and can be seen on ESPN.